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After all the thrills and spills of last weekend, another day of intensive action is on the cards in Grade 1, starting at Rubislaw where unbeaten leaders Aberdeen Grammar take on Inverurie, last week two win heroes in league and Aberdeenshire Cup.
It may be far too early to talk about season defining games, although a win for either side would certainly give them a huge advantage to build on. I'm not in the business of predicting who will win, and would rather listen to the two captains going into Saturday's big clash.
Rob Sweirgon, the Grammar skipper said: ''We are looking forward to this one, especially after Inverurie's feats last weekend, but my lads have a positive mindset, and looking to open up a gap over the rest of the field early on in the season.'' His opposite number at the Kellands Park, Chris Watson was in equally bullish support of his troops and said:''After last week's wins against Bon Accord, and Knight Riders, arguably two of the best teams in league, we have nothing to fear from anyone.''
But while the game of the day is attracting the most attention, it would be foolish to write off a number of other teams who could be in at the kill come the end of the season, including defending champions Bon Accord who will be keen to get back to winning way at the Links where they meet newcomers Gordonians.
The prospects of Knight Riders should certainly not be played down, particularly as the Groats Road side are the only other side with a 100% record, along with Grammar in the division, and will be keen to come to grips with Mannofield at Harlaw.
Crescent are also an aspiring side who could prove to be the dark horses in the title race, as witness their close run thing against high flying Grammar last weekend, and will be all out to make their point at Gordon Park where they meet newly promoted Ellon Gordon who having played twice last weekend will have had some good batting and bowling practice.
chris  May 16 2019 - 1:41pm   
The game of cricket as we all well know, is one in which people can do themselves serious bodily harm, including getting hypothermia and frost bite in the early part of the season, but just occasionally, the ball has played its part of inflicting damage on participants.
If you don't believe me just ask Chris Watson, the Inverurie captain who in Saturday's closely fought Grade 1 clash with Bon Accord, top edged a hook shot into the side of head, poleaxing him, and forcing him to leave the field of play.
But nothing deterred our Kellands Park hero recovered sufficiently to resume batting later in the home side's innings, marking his return with a spanking cover drive for four, enabling his side to reach 185  from their allocation of 45 overs. A total opponents reigning champions, Bon Accord were unable to hunt down, falling short by the small margin of 10 most of which were accumulated by captain courageous Chris in his second visit to the crease.
But just in case you think the home captain was the only star in this first class, close encounter, you would be wrong.
Once again the Bons proved that even without the services of Malik and Andy Win, they have some outstanding players, not least being opening bowler and batsmen, Fazal Awan who can turn matches with his moments of magic, including a tidy spell of bowling, followed by a near perfect half century to set up the possibility of a win.
The fact, the Bons did not win was in part due to a quality unbeaten knock of 84 from Inverurie's Trevor Norval who stroked his way to one of the best performances you might see this season, and the cornerstone of the home innings.
I am, however, not forgetting the home bowling attack who superbly contained the Links side's victory charge.
In particular, the tight bowling of George Hadden, Alan Johnston was a thing to behold, while Jordan Thom became an Inverurie legend overnight with his figures of four for 22.
chris  May 12 2019 - 10:28pm   
Only two weeks into the new season, and already the lure of league and cup action is upon us, no more so than at the Kellands Park where Inverurie face a testing two days, starting with the visit of champions Bon Accord on Saturday in Grade 1, followed by an early defence of the Aberdeenshire Cup when Knight Riders come calling on Sunday.
Inverurie's new captain looked forward to the weekend of wall to wall cricket, but said:''It's a tough weekend for us, especially after losing on the road at Knight Riders in the league last week, while we know the challenge the Bons will bring under the astute leadership of Andy Win, but with a near full strength team, and home advantage, these are games we need to win, if we are to be up there at the end of the season pushing for honours.''
Elsewhere in Grade 1, Ellon Gordon, and Gordonians, the two new promoted sides meet on cup business at the Gordon Park on Sunday, but not before they meet Knight Riders and Cults respectively on Saturday.
Stoneywood - Dyce host a game with Mannofield, and Crescent have the formidable task of dousing the fire of Aberdeen Grammar who have made the best of starts, winning their first two games in some style.
In Grade 2, leaders 2nd Aberdeen Grammar who also have 100% record are at home to 2nd Knight Riders, while Methlick travel to Aberdeen where they take on the Super Kings, and Siyapa are at home to Fraserburgh.
But the biggest celebrations of the day could be in Stonehaven should Tim Wilkinson, Banchory's grand old man of cricket, score the 17 runs he requires to reach 10,000 runs in Grades cricket. No pressure there then Tim!
In Grade 3, something must give at Cowdray Park where the two teams with 100% records, Dunecht and Crathie meet. 2nd Gordonians meet Portcullis at Countesswells, and finally 2nd Methlick play host to 2nd Grampian on a day in which the sun will s
chris  May 9 2019 - 11:49am   
chris  May 9 2019 - 8:52am   

The following games will be played at Mannofield

August 14: Oman v PNG

August 15: Scotland v Oman

August 17: Scotland v PNG

August 18: Scotland v Oman

August 20: Scotland v PNG

August 21: Oman v PNG 

Please see the attached document for more details

chris  May 8 2019 - 9:33pm   
Notwithstanding, the appalling weather in the North - east, there were some quality games, even season defining ones, so early in the programme.
Aberdeen Grammar have certainly hit the ground running with both their teams living up to Rob Sweirgon’s promise of playing much more aggressive cricket.
Okay, Bon Accord, the reigning champions in Grade 1 have yet to bowl a ball in anger, but even they must recognise the flying, purposeful start the Rubislaw sides have made, especially with Karan Anand hitting the straps so early in the season with his unbeaten 129, making Alec Keith appear like Geoffrey Boycott in the Grammar line up!
But there again with the minimum of fuss, Knight Riders have entered the stocks, putting an early spoke in the well oiled Inverurie machine, even though Trevor Norval hit a polished 70 at Groats Road.
I suggested this would be my game of the weekend and so it proved to, if my sources are to be believed, confirming my belief that the Knight Riders are ready to land a big one, given their studied application to the game.
Sadly, only two games went ahead in the top league, although it was different matter in Grade 2 where there was a full house of highly competitive, low scoring games, making for some breathtaking finishes, not least in nail biter at the Burnett Park where Banchory failed by one run to hunt down the Methlick total of 91. A game I am told was a credit to both sides and played in the best traditions of the sport.
Certainly Sean Hicks with a splendid 49 for the home side and that grand old man of the Burnett Park, Tim Wilkinson did not deserve to be on the losing side, but that is rub of the green, and neither was complaining after the game.
Elsewhere Siyapa with their back to back wins might just be the main threat to 2nd Grammar, which is not to write off any others in this ultra competitive league.
In Grade 3, there was only one game, and a call off, which I hope will not be a recurring feature for the sake of healthy competition.
Dunecht had a thumping win against Gordonians who in fact do well to put out a team in this division, especially as they have a huge commitment to the NE Championship and Grade 1.
chris  May 6 2019 - 6:41pm   
If ever there was a case for Grades cricket make a later start to its season, it was this weekend past when players from all three leagues were brutalised by the weather, making for a thoroughly unpleasant day for players, umpires, scorers, and any spectators who might have contemplated coming out to watch.
Even if the season were start in mid - May, and finish in mid - September it would avoid some of the excesses of the worst of the early spring.
Playing in September is not an issue, given it is one of the calmer months of the year, a proven fact even in this neck of the woods.
I certainly don’t believe we are likely to attract newcomers, particularly youngsters to the game in the conditions which prevailed.
I urge all of you who care about the game to address this issue, now before next season’s schedules are drawn up.
chris  May 5 2019 - 6:25pm   
For most clubs tomorrow will feel like the first day of the season after the rains of last Saturday, but for some including Aberdeen Grammar and Inverurie, it will be a chance to build on the excellent starts they made.
But for Stoneywood - Dyce and Cults, the two beaten side it will be an opportunity to make amends.
In Grade 2, Siyapa will have been boosted by their six wicket win at Stonehaven, as will 2nd Aberdeen Grammar who enjoyed a five wicket win at home to Banchory who will not be too despondent after scoring 176 for seven on the most foul of days.
The teams in Grade 3 will all be starting from scratch in what will hopefully be a full house of cricket in the area for one of the oldest, and certainly the most respected set ups in the Scottish game.
If I were able to be at any of the games in the three grades, I would choose to be at Groats Road where the clash between Knight Riders, and Inverurie, watching both sides the opportunity to make early claims on the Grade 1 title.
That of course is not to say, I am dismissing the substantial claims of a number of others, including Grammar and holders Bon Accord.
It will also be interesting to see the impact newly promoted Quilter Cheviot Ellon Gordon and ASI Gordonians make in this highly competitive league.
It will be no less competitive in Grade 2, where my game of the day is a the Broch, even if it's a little chilly for the game between Fraserburgh and 2nd Grammar.
In Grade 3, the bringing together of 2nd Methlick and Portcullis promises to be a good one, and especially good fun when the two sides repair to the welcoming Ythanview Hotel afterwards.
chris  May 2 2019 - 1:21pm   
Not for the first time in the long history of the Grades, the weather played a key role on the opening day of the season, although there were some clear indications of the intent of Aberdeen Grammar whose two teams managed to defy the elements, getting their rewards with two thumping wins.
At the Peoples Park, the Grade 1 game was no more than a walk in the park after Stoneywood Dyce were bowled out for 69, and unable to contain Alec Keith(31 not out) and new signing Fraser Proud(34) as Rob Swiergon’s side swept to a comfortable wicket victory. The bowling damage was done by Harry Mapplebeck who took three for 15, with only Martin Reid offering any resistance after a stubborn 16.
At Kellands Park, Inverurie demonstrated their flexibility against Cults, bowling the visitors out for 74 largely indebted to a defiant 39 from Ali Syed. For Inverurie another new face Fraser Lawrence turned in the impressive figures of four for 19 including the first hat trick of the season, while another debutant Andy Burr weighed in with an equally high quality performance, taking three for 9.
In reply Inverurie, raced to victory in 12.4 overs, led by a brisk unbeaten 33 from Chris Watson, sending out a clear message that the Kellands boys are up for adding further trophies to sit nicely with the Aberdeenshire Cup.
In the only other game to beat the weather 2nd Aberdeen Grammar and Banchory fought out an entertaining game on the artificial track at Rubislaw in Grade 2, but it was the home side who won the day, restricting  the Burnett Park side to 176 for seven before passing the target for the loss of five wickets.
For the visitors Sean Hicks hit a splendid 70, while the home side were steered home by the reliable Chris Clelland who stroked a splendid unbeaten 47.
All in a disappointing day, but lots to look forward in the weeks ahead.
chris  Apr 28 2019 - 8:04pm   
Thistle sports have taken delivery of a new stock of match balls for Grade 2 & 3, the new Grade 1 balls haven't arrived yet due to a problem with the manufacturer but these are expected to arrive next week and an update will be put on the website when they are available.  Last season's match balls can continue to be used in Grade 1 in the meantime.
chris  Apr 25 2019 - 9:11am   
 
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