Rival skippers Chris Venske and Umair Mohammed joined forces to label Aberdeenshire’s remarkable Eastern Premiership opening-day victory over Forfarshire a classic.
The Broughty Ferry brigade had gone into the battle of the Shires at Forthill as favourites.
However in a high-scoring tussle, it was Venske’s visitors who completed a stunning run-chase.
Venske himself was dismissed a run short of a century, but the spotlight was grabbed by new South African pro Chris Ngoepe, who hit an unbeaten 109 as the Mannofield men passed the lofty target of 342 with more than four overs to spare.
The victorious captain enthused: “It was quite simply the best game of cricket I’ve ever been involved in.
“I don’t think we bowled and fielded very well – though it was difficult on the bumpy outfield.
“I had thought we gave them maybe 30-50 runs too many, but we have a new way of thinking at the club this season under David Cox as coach.
“We’re all about positive cricket, and believing we can beat any team on our day.
“Kenny Reid and I got the pursuit off to a flier and we were 175 without loss after 23 overs, which just set us up for the mammoth chase.
“Chris Ngoepe then played spectacularly to lead us home, winning it with a six.
“It was an unbelievable feeing to win a game like that.
“I bet every person in the country had written us off at the half way mark.
“It was a special game of cricket.”
Debut centurion Ngoepe added: “The stand from our openers was the ideal platform.
“Their efforts took some pressure off me coming in when we needed to go at seven an over,
“I knew if we had wickets in hand we would chase it down comfortably, which we did.”
Mohammed was far from deflated in spite of the loss.
He declared: “It was an unbelievable game to involved in.
“To produce such an outstanding pitch, credit must first go to the Forthill ground staff.
“We are lucky to have one of the best pitches in Scotland.
“Of course the outcome was disappointing, but we will take positives from it.
“The batting displays of 17 year old Calum Garden and 18 year old Rory Johnston was the best I have seen in that age group since Kyle Coetzer and Qasim Sheikh – two of the classiest players Scotland have produced.
“We are a very young side with a number of potential international stars, so they need to play in games like this to become better.”
Mohammed added: “Aberdeenshire’s pro played in such a way that he’s already early his status as one of the leagues finest imports.
“It was his day and he made the most of it.”
Garden (90), Matty Parker (87) and Johnston (68 not out) propelled Forfarshire to 340 for four.
But Ngoepe, Venske and Reed (69) turned it into a stroll.
Elsewhere, Glenrothes surged to success against understrength champions Carlton at Gilvenbank.
Fred Culley emerged as the main home-turf hero with a fine knock of 91.
Arbroath all-rounder Calvin Burnett admitted his side avoided a banana skin as they snuffed out the challenge of Falkland at Lochlands.
Spinner Craig Ramsay (four for 21 off 10) was to the fore as the Fifers were curbed to 160 for seven.
Then stand-in skipper Ross McLean replied with a dogged 49 to pave the way for the four-wicket win.
Burnett said: “It was a great result when you consider we were without a few top men.
“Craig Ramsay bowled tightly, then Craig Cameron kept a calm head to get us over the line.”
In the capital derbies, a century by Mark Watt couldn’t prevent Heriot’s being toppled by Grange at Raeburn Place.
Veteran Neil McCallum led the chase with 80, while new signing Dylan Budge ground out a crucial 52 not out to guide the hosts over the line with only four balls to spare.
And at Inverleith, Ewan Chalmers (81) and George Munsey (41) were the Watsonians mainstays in their success over newly-promoted SMRH.