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Aberdeenshire aiming to end a quiet summer by making a big noise

Scottish cricket has been like a Stealth bomber this summer:

TYLER BUCHAN: Everyone has been contributing
TYLER BUCHAN: Everyone has been contributing

it hasn't appeared on the radar at all. While attention has focused on the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, the domestic game has been reduced to bit-part status even when the sun has shone.

Tyler Buchan, the Aberdeenshire captain, accepts that it was always likely to be the case, but his club have the chance to wrap up the Eastern Premier Division title and, if their tussle with Grange is anything similar to the fare the rivals served up when they met in June, it should be a cracking contest.

On that occasion, Mannofield witnessed the equivalent of an explosion at a stump factory while the visitors slipped to a mortifying 11 for 7 in the first eight overs, Buchan wreaking havoc with an opening spell of five for three runs. Thereafter, the Edinburgh side rallied to muster 116 and seemed on course for an improbable success when a mid-innings collapse left the hosts in dire straits at 87 for 7.

Eventually, Buchan and Fraser Proud completed the chase for what was a pivotal victory and now, if the north-east men can achieve a repeat performance, triumph is within their grasp.

"We are on a seven-match winning run and we have done well recently, but we know there is no room for any slip-ups," he said. "This Grange tussle is crucial to our chances, but we realise it will be tough. You just need to look at their line-up to be aware of their quality. We have done pretty well against them in the league in the last couple of seasons, and the aim has to be to keep that record going. But they showed how dangerous they can be in that previous game. Normally, when you have the opposition seven down for almost nothing, you can wrap things quickly. Not with them."

As one of the tireless characters working behind the scenes at Aberdeenshire, Buchan admits he misses the chance to lock horns with the likes of Ayr, Clydesdale and Uddingston on a regular basis, and he certainly isn't alone in feeling that the scrapping of the former Scottish National League was a retrograde step.

Nonetheless, his club have created a strong collegiate spirit, bolstered by a mixture of home-grown heroes and potent overseas talent and have turned adversity to advantage this campaign.

"Everybody has been contributing and that has been one of the most positive developments," said Buchan. "[Opening batsman] Chris Venske was missing for five weeks with injury and that could have been a hammer blow, but others stepped up. [Sri Lankan professional] Harsha [Cooray] has been fantastic for us again, while Hayes van de Berg has put in some brilliant displays.

"It has been the afternoons where we have not collectively performed when we have slipped up and that explains why everybody has been practising so hard throughout the summer. We know that it hasn't been reflected in terms of media coverage, but not too many years have this amount of high-profile sporting events.

"We have to use that as a spur and get to grips with the fact that cricket has to deliver a good product across Scotland and keep pushing forward. I think we're getting there."

They have propelled themselves to within touching distance of their goal. We'll discover soon enough whether Tyler's men have the bonnie panache to march on to glory.

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