Aberdeenshire’s chances of avoiding relegation from the Eastern Premier look slim, going into the last three games of the season.
But captain Kenny Reid was defiant about tomorrow’s game at Mannofield with league leaders Forfarshire, who gave Stoneywood-Dyce a 248-run beating last week.
“It’s 11 men against 11, and although they look like being the new champions, we’ll be giving it our best shot,” said the Mannofield skipper.
“We have worked hard in training, and given a slice of luck which we have not had this season, we’ll give them a game.
“We are missing one or two key players, including Chris Venske, Finlay Anderson, who is injured, and Calum Drummond, who has gone back to Glasgow.
“The positives are Ian Kirk and Craig Knight are both available to shore up our batting.”
Shire’s batting has, in fact, been their Achilles heel all season, not least on their own ground, having been shot out for 68, 45 and 79 by RH Corstorphine, Carlton and Watsonians this term.
Gallingly for home supporters, only Carlton could be deemed a top club in the division.
The only hope for the Mannofield faithful is that their under-performing favourites do not suffer another batting slump, akin to their lowest total ever on June 10 1899 when they were bowled out for only 10 runs against tomorrow’s opponents Forfarshire, albeit at Forthill.
Stoneywood-Dyce, in the meantime, travel to Arbroath, looking to put behind them the 394-run mauling they suffered at the People’s Park at the hands of Forfarshire who then rolled over the home side for 146.
According to captain Jack Mitchell, the game has been confined to the history books.
“It was disappointing to lose by such a big margin,” the skipper said.
“But we now look forward to winning our last three games, starting with Arbroath, followed by Shire and Heriots, to give us a top half of the league finish.
“We have a number of changes, but none of them weaken the team, who despite last week are in good spirits. We might also have opener Shaun Coetzer back after breaking a finger for the last two games.
“There are recalls for Stuart Lister (16), Ewan Davidson and Ryan Williams.”
In the Strathmore Union, Gordonians and Mannofield are both away from home, but will be keen to have strong finishes after disappointing seasons.
The Countesswells side are in the last four of the Three Counties Cup and, according to captain Mayank Bhandari, will be using their two games before the semi-final to get some form under their belts.
“Of course we want to beat both Perth Doocot, and Kinloch, but we are eyeing the cup as our main target for the rest of the season,” he said.
Mannofield are away to unbeaten league leaders Meigle, and have by far the stiffest task of the two Aberdeen clubs.
In the ACA Grades, the race for the Grade 1 title has swung in favour of Bon Accord.
Despite a poor start to the season, they have clawed their way to the top of the league, but with Aberdeen Grammar and Inverurie still in contention, the championship could go down to the last game when Bon Accord meet Inverurie at the Links.
The Bons are at home to Cults, Inverurie host Crescent, while Grammar have a tricky test at Groats Road where they meet Knight Riders.
In the relegation area, Ellon Gordon will be attempting to extract themselves away to Stoneywood-Dyce.
Mannofield will be bidding to make it three wins in a row at Countesswells where they meet 2nd Gordonians, who – fresh from back-to-back successes against title contenders Inverurie and Grammar – will be seeking a fourth consecutive victory to take them well clear of the drop zone.