Only days away from the start of the national leagues, Aberdeen’s two top cricket captains are preparing to take on the leading lights of the Eastern Premiership.
The Granite City rivals are also targeting wins against each other in a renewal of hostilities after a break of three years.
Stoneywood-Dyce were relegated in 2016, denying the People’s Park outfit a crack at traditional derby rivals Aberdeenshire, who all the while maintained their position in Scotland’s top club league.
But for Kenny Reid, the new captain of the Mannofield team, the honour of leading the area’s premier side comes first.
Although beating their rivals from across city will not be far from his mind as the season unfolds.
He said: “I grew up acutely aware of the privilege of being captain of Shire, although in my teenage years, I played for Stoneywood-Dyce, and am therefore well versed in the rivalry between the two clubs. But it’s all healthy.
“In the meantime I have the responsibility of taking Shire to a high placing in the league, which given the array of talent available to me is more than possible.
“I look forward to the challenge, and have in particular pencilled in June 15 and August 17 as ‘must-win’ games, the dates when we meet our city rivals.’’
The popular Reid, 33, is eminently well placed to captain Shire, having come up through the ranks as an opening batsman with an adventurous streak and a well-thought-of wicket-keeper who might just have to take a place in the outfield when Scotland’s Matthew Cross comes back to the club between his international duties.
Jack Mitchell, the Stoneywood-Dyce captain, was no less bullish about his side’s prospects, now they are back in the top flight.
He said: “Like Kenny, I like to think I have been learning all the time since coming to the club, and in particular have picked up tips from former captains Jan Stander and Shaun Coetzer, both very different in approach, but winners.
“I am confident we will have a good season, and already have the two games against Shire as wins for us.
“We have built this club on a vibrant youth policy, something I intend to build on this season.’’
Mitchell, 25, started his career at Huntly where so many successful cricketers launched themselves, including Willie Donald, the current president of Cricket Scotland, and Kirstie Gordon, England women’s star spinner. A high-order right-handed batsman, Mitchell is in his third year as skipper, playing a leading part in last season’s promotion from the Strathmore Union in the company of overseas amateur Liam Lindsay, back from South Africa for another season.
Given the application of Reid and Mitchell, it promises to be a great season for the two Aberdeen clubs.