As a cold March gives way to an uncertain April, the attention of Glasgow’s southside sporting community is turning to the new cricket season, which begins earlier than usual next weekend.
At Poloc Cricket Club, 20 members got together on Sunday for a major ‘spring clean’ of the ground ahead of a season which will be the fourth in a row for their professional player/coach, New Zealand-based South African Carl Huyser.
He will be accompanied by 19-year-old slow left-arm bowler and top-order batsman Mike Allcock, who is Huyser’s team-mate at the Burnside West club in Christchurch.
It will be Allcock’s second year at Poloc, but this time as the club’s official ‘overseas amateur’ player. In the rain-ravaged 2012 season, the youngster averaged over 50 and took 14 wickets in all competitions.
Club professionals these days have to be proficient and dedicated coaches and Huyser will provide important continuity for Poloc’s renowned local schools and community coaching programmes.
Down the road at Titwood, Clydesdale Cricket Club - under-achieving runners-up in several competitions last year - are waiting for immigration procedures to be completed to enable them to welcome 34-year-old Shoaib Khan to Scotland for the first time.
The Pakistani brings strong coaching credentials from his previous visits to the UK. In recent years, he made a big impression at his club in Durham.
Clydesdale’s new captain, internationalist Majid Haq, is hoping he will be just the person to spark a fresh fitness and training regime, from the 1st XI to the 100 or so young cricketers at the club.
“Our winter indoor nets have attracted much better attendance than in recent years, so we hope this season to go the extra hard yards to win a trophy or two.”
The Titwood practice facilities are yet again being upgraded, with improved safety fencing and electricity outlets to enable the use of a bowling machine for high-intensity training.
Weather permitting, pre-season friendly matches could be played next weekend, with the first competitive matches scheduled for April 20.