North-east cricket has received a welcome double boost after weeks of inactivity.
The Scottish Government has announced cricket clubs will be able to use outdoor facilities for the purpose of training from Monday.
The second piece of uplifting tidings was from Mannofield, the home of the game in Aberdeen, where registered clubs in the city are being invited to make use of the facilities at the ground, as long as they take out associated membership at Aberdeenshire.
Aberdeenshire’s director of cricket and former Aberdeenshire and Scotland player, Dale de Neef, was delighted to see the lifting of restrictions
He said: “It’s a step in the right direction, although it is unlikely there will be any competitive games, apart from the popular end of season T/10 tournament which involves clubs at every level in the city and area.
“Being able to offer our excellent facilities to other clubs is also good, especially as Mannofield is looking in prime condition, thanks to the efforts of our new groundsman Calum Howard, who like all of us is dying to see some cricket action at the ground.’’
The facilities which will be on offer include two astro nets and an on square net, which will be maintained in match condition.
The two pieces of news were well received by clubs in the area, including Aberdeen Grammar’s captain Rob Sweirgon.
He said: “After weeks of uncertainty and anxiety, it’s good to hear things are on the move.’’
Paul Gray, the secretary to the North East Scotland Cricket SCIO, welcomed both developments.
He said: “The offers of wider training access from clubs with their own grounds is very welcome.”
Across the city, the news was warmly greeted by Jan Stander, the player/president of Stoneywood-Dyce, the area’s only team in the Eastern Premier – the top Scottish club league.
He said: “It’s great to see Shire are offering a service we have had up and running for Grades teams for the last two seasons.
“We will be having a meeting this week to ensure we are meeting the nine requirements laid down by Cricket Scotland.
“I like to think we will all be pulling together in the best interests of the game.”
Daniel Sutton, Aberdeenshire’s new head coach, will oversee the booking system for the Mannofield facilities, with support from the long-standing Bob Buchan and overseas amateur Callum Mackaness.
Bookings can be made at suttoncoaching.co.uk or by ringing Sutton on 07555 965 043.