THEY might not have any competitive games to look forward to but the future of Aberdour Shinty Club is looking bright.

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has left the Silver Sands club's senior men's and women's teams without matches to play due to current lockdown restrictions, their founder and lead coach has been heartened by a significant rise in numbers within its younger age groups during a challenging 12 months.

When the club's younger members were able to return to training in August, Lisa MacColl revealed that the amount of primary school-age kids taking part had doubled.

Although no training is taking place currently as Scotland's lockdown continues into next month, she said: "It's so easy to be negative about things right now but we were able to come back and everything was very positive.

"It was just lovely, as coaches, to see as many kids – it lifts everyone.

"At our primary group, a load moved up to high school level, so I was a bit worried we were only going to be left with about 20 kids, but now I think we were up to 38 just before Christmas.

"There's about 14 in the under-14 group and then, in our under-17s, one evening, I think we had 16 kids, I suppose under-18, coming along. There's probably about another 14 who are 14-18 coming along, which is really good.

"We've got our women and men's groups but they haven't really been able to restart at all. I think we got a couple of weeks before we went into tier three; most of our guys are in Edinburgh and a lot of our girls are in different areas so they couldn't actually travel across tiers.

"There was only a wee window where we were able to have the senior guys. That's a shame."

Last week's announcement that the club had received £2,500 from Aldi's Scottish Sport Fund – which will be used to buy new helmets and sticks – has further boosted the blossoming youth sections, with Lisa adding: "It's good to be able to have that, and be able to do a bit more promotion, because it got to the point where I thought we don't want to promote any more because we don't have enough equipment!

"This will aid us to really hit the ground running when we can start back so it's absolutely brilliant."