The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Four in, four out as Shire ring changes for new term

Cap­tain Venske calls for fast start ahead of sea­son opener at Grange

- BY PAUL THIRD Aberdeenshire · Vanuatu · Scotland · Edinburgh

The Aberdeen­shire re­volv­ing door has been in full swing at Man­nofield with four new faces ar­riv­ing, four de­part­ing and the fu­ture of one other still to be re­solved.

Sri Lankan top or­der bats­man and off-spin­ner Ak­shu Fer­nado is the new club pro­fes­sional, re­plac­ing Le­sibe Chris Ngoepe while New Zealan­der Callum Mack­aness, a left arm medium fast bowler, has re­placed Jarod van Blerk as am­a­teur at Man­nofield for the sum­mer. The club has also looked across the city to Stoney­wood-Dyce for a cou­ple of recruits in the shape of Owen Davies and Ewan David­son.

The duo join a squad which has lost Scot­land un­der-19 player Con­nor Shorten to Grange on the eve of the new sea­son while Calum Howard is tak­ing a break from na­tional league cricket in 2018.

Shire cap­tain Chris Venske is pleased with the re­cruit­ment at the club but knows there is room for im­prove­ment at Manno-field this sea­son.

He said: “The sea­son is just about to start so it’s hard to pre­dict what lies ahead.

“Our bowl­ing looks pretty good but I’d say there is a lot of work to do as far as our bat­ting goes. I’m rea­son­ably happy with the squad but we’ll have to wait a few weeks to see how the team gels.

“Callum is here and played against Stoney­wood-Dyce in a friendly on Satur­day but Ak­shu missed the game due to a de­lay in ob­tain­ing his visa so we’ve still to see him play.”

Venske is also fac­ing a

“We’ll have to wait a few weeks to see how the team gels”

ner­vous wait to discover whether Callum Martin will be play­ing for or against the club this sea­son. He said: “Callum could have a new job in Ed­in­burgh. If that hap­pens he will be mov­ing away from the area and will likely join He­riot’s.

“It’s al­ways the way that this seems to hap­pen on the eve of the new sea­son for us. We lost Adrian O’Neill in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances a cou­ple of years ago and we’ll just have to wait and see what hap­pens.”

Shire will not face re­cently de­parted team­mate Shorten, who left the club two weeks ago to join Grange, who will wel­come the Man­nofield club to Ed­in­burgh for the open­ing game of the new East­ern Premier sea­son to­mor­row.

Venske said: “Con­nor has been strug­gling with an in­jury and hasn’t been train­ing while he was with us so I don’t ex­pect he’ll be in­volved on Satur­day.

“Grange are a strong side but we haven’t lost to them since 2016 so we will go there with con­fi­dence and hope­fully some mo­men­tum.

“It’s a tough opener but we’re look­ing for­ward to it.”

 ?? Pho­to­graph by Kami Thom­son ?? NEW BOYS: Shire cap­tain Chris Venske, sec­ond from left, with new sign­ings, from left, Callum Mack­aness, Ewan David­son and Owen Davies.
Pho­to­graph by Kami Thom­son NEW BOYS: Shire cap­tain Chris Venske, sec­ond from left, with new sign­ings, from left, Callum Mack­aness, Ewan David­son and Owen Davies.

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