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Willie Donald hopes Scotland games at Mannofield will be inspiring

Scotland will play at Mannofield for the first time since 2019 later this summer.
Scotland will play at Mannofield for the first time since 2019 later this summer.

Aberdeenshire Cricket Club president Willie Donald hopes the return of internationals to Mannofield will have an inspirational effect.

Scotland will play four Cricket World Cup League 2 matches at the Granite City venue in August against the United States of America (USA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Donald, a former Scotland international and past president of Cricket Scotland, says he was inspired by watching the national team play at Mannofield 51 years.

He hopes the same will happen this summer for today’s youngsters.

The 68-year-old said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have internationals back at Mannofield.

“We’ve had two very difficult years across all aspects of the club because of Covid.

“Now we’re back running properly again and to have international cricket back is superb.

Aberdeenshire president Willie Donald, pictured second from right, is excited about Scotland games returning to Mannofield.

“It’s absolutely fundamental for the grassroots of the game for people to be able to see Scotland playing.

“I think about myself and seeing international cricket at Aberdeenshire Cricket Club back in the day was very important to me.

“Cricket Scotland is hosting international matches this summer in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen and it’s very important for people across the country to see it.

In 1971 I was a teenager and watched Scotland play the MCC at Mannofield.

“Brian Hardie played for Scotland and scored two centuries in the match.

“I had been lucky enough to play in the North junior team against the other districts in Scotland and I’d played against Brian Hardie.

“Then seeing him play for Scotland I think it was the inspiration for me.

“At that age it’s almost a fantasy, you want to go on and play for Scotland but you’ve no idea whether you can or not.

“But it becomes a target and as time developed it became possible for me.

“I definitely think there is a link between witnessing these things and then wanting to do it.”

‘We would hope people are interested’

Success in Cricket World Cup League 2 would secure a place for Scotland in the qualifying competition for next year’s World Cup.

Donald hopes the fixtures will be supported in good numbers by the north-east public.

He added: “We hope the people of the north-east come out and support these games for a number of reasons.

“Firstly it’s international cricket so we would hope people are interested in that.

“Secondly the presence of the United States and the Emirates provides added spice, Aberdeen has had a connection with the United States for a long time through the oil and gas industry.

“Thirdly these are World Cup qualifiers and as World Cup League 2 continues it will almost be reaching a climax by the time we reach Mannofield.

“Nothing can be taken for granted and Scotland will be fighting for a place at the 2023 World Cup.”

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