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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   
The sun promises to shine, the teams have been confirmed, and hopes are high for teams in all three Grades setting out on another season of cricket in the area.
For despite the loss of another team in the structure, I believe it will be a season to savour, not least in Grade 1 where some cracking fixtures are set to launch another season of fiercely fought games.
For starters, the clash of Gordonians and Ellon Gordon, the two newly promoted teams, is one to set the pulses racing at Countesswells with both sides bidding to make a strong start in the top flight of the Grades.
Champions, Bon Accord will also want to make the best starts at home to Mannofield, but might just find the visitors in the mood to launch a title bid of their own.
Whatever the outcome in this one, it is only to be hoped that Tauqeer Malik of the home side will soon be able to take his place in the team after his recent illness.
At Kellands Park, Inverurie will hope get their campaign off to the best of starts, and are in my book one of the major contenders for the title, although opponents Cults will be no pushovers. Knight Riders and Crescent two of the most improved teams in the division meet at Groats Road where a win might just spark off a title challenge, as will the game at the Peoples Park where Stoneywood - Dyce will be keen to put an early spoke in the title of hopes of Aberdeen Grammar who will once again be led by Rob Swiergon who captained to the Grade 1 championship two years ago.
There are numerous, exciting possibilities in Grade 2, including promoted Banchory’s venture to Rubislaw where no doubt 2nd Grammar will be raring to, bidding to get places in their ambitious first team.
No less interesting is the home game of Grampian who are likely to be pushing for honours against a Fraserburgh side who narrowly missed out on going up last season, but might just be affected by the forthcoming marriages of key players Liam Bowie and Christoper Gospel.
Stonehaven will also fancy themselves to be in the title mix, but are likely to find Siypya in similar mood at Mineralwall Park.
The clash of Aberdeen Super Kings and 2nd Knight Riders is also vital to both sides if they are to get their respective campaigns off to flying starts.
In the meantime Methlick will be left kicking their heels before they can launch their season after the withdrawal from the league of Academy/Kintore/ Kemnay.
Grade 3 fixtures are no less exciting with the ever ambitious Portcullis entertaining 2nd Grampian, but minus Bob Adie who has hung up his cap while Dunecht are at home to 2nd Methlick.
And last but not least, Countesswells will be a busy place as not only are Ellon Gordon visiting the well appointed playing fields, Crathie are making their regal way there to meet 2nd Gordonians.
chris  Apr 24 2019 - 9:49am   
We are very saddened to hear that Steven Lings passed away on 15th April. He was only 38. Steven joined Turriff in 2013 and was a very popular and valued member of the club, captaining the side in 2016. Since then he has played for Crescent, keeping his teammates entertained no matter the state of the game, and his loss will be deeply felt. 
The thoughts of the Grades cricketing community are with his friends and family at this sad time.
Steve's funeral it to be held on Wednesday 8th May at 11:30am at Blyth Crematorium, Cowpen Road, Blyth, Northumberland NE24 5SZ.
chris  Apr 24 2019 - 8:32am   
At a recent meeting of the Competitions Committee, the current league structure of 10:10:6 was discussed. It was felt that having only 6 teams in Grade 3 was not sustainable, and we should look to move to a 10:8:8 structure for the 2020 season. With AKK withdrawing for 2019, we are left with a 10:9:6 structure, and the natural move would be towards a 10:8:7 set up

In the current climate, the chances of new teams entering in 2020 feels unlikely, so we must work with what we have, and look at the implications for promotion & relegation for this season.

Should we retain the current number of teams the following relegation and promotion positions would be expected -

Grade 1 Relegation - 2 Teams

Grade 2 Promotion - 2 Teams

Grade 2 Relegation - 2 Teams

Grade 3 Promotion - 1 Team

If the Grades see a further team drop out prior to the cut off date in January 2020, and the total number of teams drops down to 24, Grade 1 teams must be made aware, that the structure of Grade 1 will be reduced to 8 teams for 2020.

This would mean an 8:8:8 Grades structure for the 2020 season. This is felt to be the only fair way to move forward based on the lower grades continually re-structuring and Grade 1 remaining constant with 10 teams. It should be noted that the fixturing will be reviewed to ensure we maximise the Saturdays available.

To achieve the 8:8:8 structure, 3 teams would be relegated from Grade 1.

Grade 1 Relegation - 3 Teams
chris  Apr 23 2019 - 9:20am   
Academy Kemnay Kintore have been in touch to advise that due to an unexpected loss of players, they are no longer in a position to fulfil their fixtures for 2019.
Grade 2 will continue with 9 clubs, and whichever team was due to play Academy Kemnay Kintore will now have a free week. 
In the Bon Accord Cup quarter finals, Academy Kemnay Kintore were due to travel to the winners of a preliminary round match between Fraserburgh and Methlick. The match between Fraserburgh and Methlick will now become the quarter final match to be played on Sunday 26th May.
Cricketstats will be updated soon to reflect the changes to scheduled fixtures for Grade 2.
chris  Apr 22 2019 - 8:25am   
Less than two weeks before the season gets underway, and the game in the area has received a major boost with the news that Leanne Broadley of Fraserburgh has been called up to the Scotland Girls Under 17 squad for training in Edinburgh.
Leanne(16) who was last year's ACA Grades Junior of the Year has been rewarded for her hard work over the winter, much of it spent working on her fitness in the gym.
She now waits to see if she has made the Under 17 team, but in the meantime will be joining up with her team mates at the Broch for another season at Fraserburgh Links.
Personally, I am delighted for Leanne, boosting my own attempt to sponsor junior cricket in the area, and perhaps inspiring other youngsters to make their way in the game with the backing of their clubs.
For the third year, I will again be sponsoring the Junior of the Year Scheme and can now start planning the promotion with a new energy and enthusiasm brought on by the success of Leanne.
Later in the season, I shall be asking clubs to make their nominations for this year's competition. I look forward to your responses.
chris  Apr 15 2019 - 11:35am   
Many thanks to the 7 clubs who have sent in their contact details for this season. It would be appreciated if those who have yet to send a form in could look at this at their earliest opportunity. The Contacts Form can be downloaded from here
chris  Apr 12 2019 - 9:32am   
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