Stoneywood Dyce head coach Jan Stander feels the club are well-prepared for the long-awaited return of domestic cricket in Scotland.
The new season gets underway this weekend and Stander, the former Scotland international, believes his side are better set than most to handle the challenges this year will pose.
Travel restrictions stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic have impacted the number of overseas amateurs and professionals available for Scottish clubs to recruit.
Talent will have to come from a little closer to home, with Stoneywood Dyce in a position of strength when it comes to squad-building.
Massive congratulations to @AilsaLister on being selected in the squad for upcoming internationals against Ireland!!
— Stoneywood Dyce (@StoneywoodDyce) May 4, 2021
Stander said: “It’s been a long time coming. I didn’t really play at all last year because I knew what type of season it was going to be; it was more important the younger guys got time to develop their skills.
“It’s going to be interesting in the sense that there’s not going to be overseas players to rely on as such. We’re probably more of a settled team than some of the other teams in the league.
“We’ve always had only amateurs, For us it probably us it hurts less (not having professionals) while at the same time, we’ve been fortunate to have very good amateurs who have contributed to the team.”
Stander intends to keep the pathway to their first XI open, with the club taking great pride in how their youth development programme has accelerated in recent years.
Jamie King, who will captain the first team this season, is a prime example of that coming to fruition.
Stander added: “When we play youngsters, we don’t play them at 11. We play them in positions to use them.
“It’s going to be a blend of that and getting some of the old heads back in, to get back where we need to be.”
Stoneywood Dyce open their season with a home double-header. They take on Meigle in the Eastern Premier Division tomorrow before facing Falkland in the Scottish Cup on Sunday.
Lennard Bester and Leighton Collins have been added to the squad for this season and the coach, who intends to play more this season, has been heartened by the numbers coming back to cricket after lockdown.
Stander added: “I would say we were nervous – golf is the one sport that’s probably benefitted from this whole lockdown situation, because you could play it so much earlier.
“We’ve had a few guys who have taken up golf so for us, there was a nervousness about whether they would come back.
“We’ve had one or two guys who haven’t played for a few years, like David Lamb, who said they’d come back, because it’s nice to get out, socialise and be around people.”
Stoneywood Dyce will be short a wicket-keeper this weekend, with Andrew MacLaren unavailable and Ailsa Lister on Scotland duty. Martin Reid or Sawan Kumar could keep wicket in their absence.