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A Golden Opportunity for the Grades - 2018

Scotland's amazing, historic win on Sunday has handed the Aberdeenshire Grades a wonderful marketing tool, especially as three of the victorious side were born in Aberdeen, making for the stuff of dreams for any aspiring young cricketer from the area.

Not since Sir Donald Bradman graced Mannofield in 1948 has there been a more golden opportunity for marketing the game. Let's just hope clubs, and their committees make a better fist of promoting the sport than was the case then, though clubs of the day would argue the sport already had a high profile in and around the city, not something that can be said in 2018.

So while we are still trying to catch our breath after the heroics of the Grange, including an astonishing opening stand of 103 involving captain Kyle Coetzer and Matthew Cross, let's build on their success, and take the game to our own youngsters in our schools and play areas.

Give them the opportunity to emulate the fielding expertise of Aberdonian Michael Leask who shone as brightly as the searing Edinburgh sun, playing a major part in the running out of England Test captain Joe Root, and generally fielding like a man demented.

You might then ask just where do we start, to which I would say, we have already started, as throughout the area, there is a growing commitment to promoting the junior game, led significantly by key figures at the North - east's most famous ground, and by forward thinking clubs in the Grades, including Banchory, Fraserburgh and Ellon Gordon, and encouragingly supported by officials from Cricket Scotland.

My impression, formed after discussions with Aberdeenshire head coach David Cox and convener of cricket Chris West is there is much, much more to come as clubs, and individual visionaries face up to the reality that the game has been in decline in recent years.

My own vision, shared by I suspect by a number of others is to see the splendid facility at Mannofield become a centre of excellence, entering a partnership with all the stake holders of the game to ensure it is grown in a manner which ensures maximum participation.

Mannofield should be buzzing with activity every week day, including a strong, working relationship with the Aberdeenshire Grades from whence came Messrs Coetzer, Cross and Leask.

The opportunity has been handed to the game on a plate, to ignore it would be foolish in the extreme.

By Jack Nixon

wytbu8  Jun 12 2018 - 1:09pm   
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