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Grades Preview for w/e 12th-13th May 2018

Less than a month into the new season, and already all the indications are that it will turn out to be one of the most competitive one of recent years, even the weather has been conspiring to ensure we get some quality cricket.
All the three leagues are shaping up nicely, including Grade 1 where it is quite clear AGSFPs, the reigning champions despite their impressive start are not going to get things all their own way. Bon Accord have been equally convincing, no doubt lifted by the rallying cry of captain Tauqeer Malik who last week insisted his side were still going to be challengers, and certainly not over the hill. Similarly, Inverurie have hit the ground running, and were I a betting man, I would be looking for an early price on the Kellands Park side ably marshalled and possible champions. I am also inclined to listen to their own veteran bowler John Jessiman who said: ''I don't see why we should not win the league. We have a good, balanced side with some first-class all-rounders in it.'' I shall in fact be at Inverurie on Saturday, and not because I favour the Garioch side, but I am seeing out the rugby season at Kellands Park where the home side are on the cusp of being promoted to the top Caledonia league. A local double! We'll see, but first the good men of Inverurie will have to see off the challenge of new boys Stoneywood-Dyce who will be most anxious to get a first win of the season, and why not at one of the best grounds in the Grades. But just in case Knight Riders, Crescent, and Academy think I have written them off as possible champions, nothing could be further from the truth. There is a lot of water yet to run under the bridges of the Dee and Don. Equally Grampian, Mannofield and Cults will all make their mark as the season progresses.
In Grade 2, the main focus seems to be on whether or not Ellon Gordon will make a return to the top flight, probably in my view in the cheap seats, but then nothing should be taken for granted, especially after the superb 100% start made by Gordonians, while the mighty men of Methlick and new boys Stonehaven will be keen to point out the lads of Gordon Park have no divine right to top table status.
In Grade 3, it is anybody's guess as to who will emerge as winners at the end of the campaign, although the outcome of the match between Portcullis and Dunecht could be some kind of pointer. Hopefully Turriff will manage to get a game played in what could be a very competitive league.
And finally, I was at Mannofield last Saturday to see a fine game of cricket just shaded by a young Aberdeenshire side, watched by a tiny crowd, most of whom were known to me, and while it was nice to renew old friendships, it would also be good to see some new faces. It would also be more encouraging for the game were this splendid facility to play a more prominent part in the development of the North-East cricket.
Mannofield should in my opinion, be a centre of excellence for the game, and certainly more accessible to clubs from the Grades. 
By Jack Nixon

wytbu8  May 9 2018 - 6:48pm   
 
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