FORMER Scotland star Jan Stander heaped praise on teenage wicketkeeper Ailsa Lister in the wake of her triumphant league debut for Stoneywood-Dyce.
The 15 year old grabbed three crucial catches as the northerners crushed Stewart’s-Melville to effectively make sure they will be playing top-flight cricket next season.
Looking back on the emphatic nine-wicket success at Peoples Park, veteran SD all-rounder Stander enthused: “Firstly, it was an achievement for any 15 year old to be appearing at this level.
“The fact that it was a girl and that she performed so well just made the hole scenario extra special. Her 17 year old brother is also in the side and apart from George Ninan and me, it was a very youthful line-up. But that is what our club is all about and our aim for the rest of the campaign is to give opportunities to yet more of our raw talent and that means using them in important roles and not just to make up the numbers.”
Stander himself was in fine bowling form to strike three times as the visitors slid to 122 all out – only Hayden Sweet offering real resistance with 49.
Then Liam Lindsay and Stander combined in century stand to seal the win.
While there were grins at Stoneywood-Dyce, there were more groans from neighbours Aberdeenshire, who hurtled towards the trap-door with defeat by Arbroath at Mannofield.
In a tussle of swaying momentum, it was the Lochlands men who got it right when it mattered to claim the glory by 15 runs, defending 169.
Relieved Arbroath skipper Marc Petrie stated: “It was a brilliant match and a very gutsy win on a tough pitch.
“Everyone contributed to a proper all-round team display which showed that we are rediscovering the fight and desire that were missing in the first part of the season. We were probably looking to get closer to 200 and being bowled out with six overs to go was criminal but we made it up by bowling brilliantly in the first 20 overs.”
Calvin Burnett was the star turn with the bat, hitting 42. Then Craig Ramsay continued his run of success with four cheap wickets.
Meanwhile at Broughty Ferry, title pacesetters Forfarshire didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when the crucial clash with third-placed Heriot’s was wrecked by the rain at a crucial stage.
The Taysiders needed 60 from 14 overs with only three wickets in hand when the umpires called it a day, leaving home skipper Umair Mohammed with mixed emotions.
He said: “I think the ball was still very much in our court, but credit to Heriot’s – they always seem to make things tricky for us. They are a solid unit and we knew that whatever target they set would not be easy in the conditions.
“We can’t control the weather and the number of matches affected by the weather this summer has been disappointing.”
Michael Shean (42 not out) was the Heriot’s mainstay as they made 125 for seven in 29 overs.
Then three wickets each for Ross Brown and Elliot Ruthven left Forfarshire with a real battle on their hands.
The remainder of the programme was washed out.