Mannofield on course to stage internationals
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
ONE of Scotland’s leading cricket venues is on course to stage major international matches after recovering from sabotage.
Aberdeenshire’s Mannofield became unplayable when vandals spread powerful poison on the wicket.
Now the historic ground where Aussie legend Don Bradman scored his last century in the UK is on the mend.
It has been listed to host this summer’s I-Cup clash with Canada and two Intercontinental One-day League matches against the same opponents.
However, groundsman Kenny McCurdie has warned he will require the weather gods to be on his side.
He said: “I’m pretty confident that we can be ready to stage international cricket again by July.
“I’ve taken samples of sterile soil from the square and seed has grown in my back bedroom.
“But it’s obviously far too cold to sow seed outside at the moment.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to do that in March which would give the seed time to germinate and then bind with the soil.
“But if we were to get a severe late winter we could find ourselves behind schedule.”
MEANWHILE Saltires coach Pete Steindl says this season’s increased programme of second eleven fixtures is a major boost to his plans.
Officials have more than doubled the number of games the Scotland Lions will play against county second strings.
They will play a total of six three-day matches as well as a four-day encounter with MCC and Steindl said: “I pushed hard for the increase because these games were sadly lacking last year.
“You could see guys that weren’t involved in the senior Saltires team were going backwards because they weren’t playing enough high quality cricket.
“A lot of our current top team came through a system where they were playing six or seven games a season against county teams and the benefits were there for all to see.
“It’s great to have that back.”
The Lions kick-off their season at home to Warwickshire’s second string from April 24-26.
2012 Schedule of Scotland Lions Matches:
April 24-26 Lions v Warwickshire
June 20-23 Lions v MCC
June 26-28 Lions v Lancashire
July 17-19 Leicestershire v Lions
Aug 7-9 Derbyshire v Lions
Aug 28-30 Durham v Lions
Sept 4-6 Northants v Lions