In one of the most competitive local derbies seen at Mannofield in years, Aberdeenshire and Stoneywood-Dyce defied Covid-19 and produced a thriller.
Although the match was played in front of a handful of spectators due to restrictions regarding the virus it showcased the best of youthful talent in the North-east.
The game did not have any official status after the suspension of the leagues early in the season.
But for Shire it was the perfect occasion in which to demonstrate they have put the disappointment of being relegated from the Eastern Premier last season behind them as they eased to nine run win over the city’s premier team.
Set 237 to win from their allocation of 40 overs, Stoneywood-Dyce side were never up with the asking rate, and but for a late flurry of runs from Jack Lambley (62) and Ailsa Lister (33) would have lost by a larger margin.
That was acknowledged by People’s Park captain Jamie King.
“Our fielding was poor, but Shire played well in what was a great game of cricket,” the 24-year-old said.
“It was good just to be playing again.”
Pride of place went to 18-year-old Lewis Munro who was asked to take on the captaincy of Shire in the absence of skipper Stuart Horne whose faith in the teenager was totally justified.
The bowler-cum-batsman led with authority, top scoring with a superb, mature 74 to enable his side to reach a highly respectable 236.
Modestly, Munro refused to take the credit for the win and said: “I enjoyed my knock but it was a good, all round team performance which won us the game. Aayush Dasmahapatra’s five wickets were vital to the win.”
Despite a solid 53 from opener George Ninan, the visitors struggled to get runs on the board, owning much to Lister’s late burst of scoring as she crashed past her brother Mark’s total of 19 on her way to a brisk 33.
The teenager also kept wicket like an established player as did her opposite number Joseph Horne for Shire.
Given the youthful talent on show, it was a great day for the game, but just a great pity more people were unable to watch the game.
But restricted by the rules surrounding Covid-19 those who were there were privileged to get a glimpse into the future.
Both sides benefitted from a first-class wicket, prepared by another of the new boys, Mannofield head groundsman Calum Howard, which made for a perfect day.