You can tell it’s a really big game when an international umpire pitches up at Links! Ryan Milne was handling the Scotland v New Zealand matches recently at the salubrious Grange, but he will be swapping that for ‘bring your own teas’ at the Links for the Bon Accord v Crescent game. A win for Bons will take them to the top of the table providing they don’t allow Crescent to pick up 20 bonus points. Crescent have some tricky games on their run to the end of the season and a win would give them breathing space from the title chasers. Crescent will be close to full strength and Bons will be without Malik until the weekend of the Aberdeenshire Cup final.
While all eyes have been on the top 2, Knight Riders have been lurking in 3rd place, close enough to take the title if they keep winning and results go their way. They have to play Bons and Crescent over the next few weeks so they will have a say in the destination of the title, but their own chances will require them to win at Allan Park against Master Blasters. Knight Riders narrowly won the reverse fixture and have also won at Allan Park this season, but Master Blasters will be full of confidence having beaten Crescent last weekend.
From two mouth watering clashes to another two potentially close games as Gordonians host Cults at Countesswells and Mannofield play AGSFPs. Cults haven’t won since the 18th of June but they have been putting in competitive performances. Shaunak Bhatta takes his impressive batting form for Gordonians 1sts into their side but they will be without the experience of Jamil Shaikh. With Mannofield unavailable due to the upcoming internationals, their match has been switched to Rubislaw. Grammar picked up their second win of the season last week, and they will be hoping this is the start of a relegation defying 5 game winning run.
Not much between Grampian and Siyapa at the top of Grade 2, Grampian have been handed 30 points without donning their whites as Ellon have unfortunately had to scratch. Siyapa have a day off. Portcullis host 2nd Grampian at Duthie Park and Banchory make the long trip to Fraserburgh who are missing Michael Watson and Alan Rennie. Sunday sees the two Grampian teams play their delayed league fixture at Links.
It’s top versus second in Grade 3 as Huntly go to Lairds to face Methlick. Methlick are without Adam Veersema, Jamie Jones and Mark Woodhouse, but Daniel Reeve plugs the gap in their bowling attack. Third place 2nd Siyapa, and now Reid Cup holders, are up against Stonehaven. Andy Gale returns to partner Nathan MacAulay-Dicks in the Stonehaven batting line up, Nathan off the back of 2 centuries and a half century that he might find hard to replicate on the hallowed turf of Sheddocksley.
2nd Gordonians have the pleasure of a trip to Crathie with skipper Simon Hounsome looking to carry on where he left off with the bat last week. Rumours that super catcher Chris Cowperthwaite might be available to scoop up any left over pies seem to have been unfounded. 3rd Gordonians are at home to Dunecht and include Vijay Amirtharaj who will be eyeing up the prize wicket of Alan Burnett. Groats Road is the venue for the Stoneywood Dyce v 2nd Methlick clash. Fraser Grant will head up the Methlick bowling attack in the absence of the Davis boys.
The most interesting match in the SPCU North East Championship will be at Huntly. Strathmore put up a respectable performance against Gordonians last Saturday and they will hope to have an injury free Tiaan Brits back to boost their batting line up. The Aberdeenshire batters should have a field day at Forfar against Kinloch, and Meigle should also relish playing at Forthill against 2nd Forfarshire. Gordonians are at People’s Park to play 2nd Stoneywood Dyce and have Aman Arora back from injury, but Akhlaq Bashir remains on the treatment table. Dundee High haven’t won a game all season and the unpredictable Freuchie may be viewing the trip to Dalnacraig with a certain amount of trepidation. 3 Counties Cup winners Perth Doocot will probably still be smiling as they head to Arbroath. The question will be whether they can continue their expansive shot play, or whether they settle into a more conservative mode.
All the Eastern Premier League action is in Edinburgh this weekend and they also have a top 2 clash as Forfarshire face Heriot’s. The latter probably have enough of a points buffer to lose a couple of games and still take the title, and with no Craig Wallace on the Forfs team sheet, Forfs might need something special from Michael Leask to keep the chase alive. Stoneywood Dyce are on the road as they look to leapfrog Stewarts Melville into 7th place. Chris Sole is in the Grange line up that could hammer another nail into the Arbroath relegation coffin. RH Corstorphine are marginal favourites to beat Carlton, and Falkland go to Watsonian.
If you happen to be in Perth on Sunday then it’s the Under 14 nationals finals day. Gordonians play Uddingston in the semi final, having comfortably beaten them at the under 13 finals day. The other semi final is between Grange and Livingston.