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Reflecting back at the Grades Dinner 2017 - By Jack Nixon

And so, another ACA Grades Dinner has been confined to the history books, although it is my fervent hope the eight junior cricketers who attended the event, will see it an occasion they wish to support in years to come.

There was certainly a good turnout to hear guest speaker Simon Mann of the BBC's Test Match Special team give us a glimpse of life behind the microphone.

We also had a peep into the future from your president Martin Auld, and promises of a more ''coherent'' approach to come when he addresses the AGM on December 3rd.

But for me the highlight of the night was the elevation of youth cricket to centre stage, and encouragingly given the full backing of Janette Forbes, one of the leading lights of the oil and gas industry. If such a prominent figure chooses to back the promotion of youth, then we must listen, but listen you did, giving me a wonderful opportunity to showcase youngsters in the game on a night of celebration and fun. 

The initiative was also supported by Cricket Scotland's Tony Brian who was present in his role as chairman. His fulsome support on the night was most encouraging.

What next? you might reasonably ask, apart from congratulating Chad Abbott of Banchory on winning the first ever Junior of the Year award. For starters, the event must be kept going. You will certainly have my sponsorship for one more year, and then it's over to you. In the meantime, I am very grateful to those often taken for granted stalwarts Ian Stephen and Tariq Butt who gave me free reign and 100% support in the run up to the night. Liam Thom of Kemnay-Kintore who sowed the seed for me take up and nurture in the interests of grades cricket. So, roll on next season, we have had one to treasure in 2017, not least for some marvellous cricket despite the rain.

AGSFPs winning the Grade 1 title for the first time since 1942 was well and truly celebrated. They even managed to extend its domination to the raffle.

Let's look forward to 2018 with enthusiasm and optimism, and for the record I am hopeful the Aberdeen Press and Journal and the Evening Express will again help profile the local game, as they so handsomely did this year. Just check the edition of Tuesday November 7th if you doubt my word.

Jack Nixon,
Cricket Writer

wytbu8  Nov 7 2017 - 1:20pm   
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