Only 3 games in Grade 1 this weekend including the Allan Park derby between Cults and Master Blasters. A win for Master Blasters will take them above Mannofield to the top of the table, although the same scenario would apply to Bon Accord if they beat Knight Riders at Links. Uday Reddy has transferred back to Knight Riders and plays.
A win for Grampian away to Inverurie could see them jump off the bottom of the table to 7th spot, and their chances are improved by Fraser Lawrance being unavailable for Inverurie.
3 games in Grade 2 as well, with 2nd Knight Riders looking to climb off the bottom with a victory at Groats Road against Huntly. Vijay Amirtharaj drops down into the 2nd Knight Riders team.
Banchory include the on form Mark Herbert and Mausam Thapa, but no Sam Rotheram, as they go to Fraserburgh in what promises to be a close game. Both Bowie brothers are listed for Fraserburgh.
2nd AberGreen haven’t broken the 150 run barrier so far this season, and they will need to improve on that as they play league leaders Methlick at Rubislaw.
Fingers are crossed that the new pitches at Inverdee will go in early next week, but in the meantime thanks are due to Banchory for facilitating the Gordonians Grade 3 derby. 3rd Gordonians are ahead of 2nd Gordonians in the table at the moment, but it’s a bit of a toss up as to which team might take the 30 points as they both have a blend of experience and fearless youthfulness. The Kirodian brothers line up against each other.
2nd Master Blasters can get their title ambitions back on track as they go to Dunecht, but the latter have enough bowling strength to keep the game competitive.
Andy Rayner, Martin Reid and Gihan Perera are in the Stoneywood Dyce side to play 2nd Mannofield at Harlaw, but the latter include Rahul Chandu and Will Anderson as their Grade 1 team are without a game.
It’s one of those must win games in the Eastern Premier League as Stoneywood Dyce have the opportunity to move off the foot of the table as they face 9th placed side Falkland at People’s Park. They are without Lennard Bester, Jamie King and Jon Grant, but David Kidd and Abdullah Khalid come back into the bowling attack. Putting runs on the board may be their bigger challenge.
Meigle head to Edinburgh to play Stewart’s Melville, and if they lose and Stoneywood Dyce win a close game, Meigle could be propping up the rest on Saturday evening. Majid Rasheed hasn’t appeared very often for Meigle, but their hopes will improve if he can contribute with bat and ball.
With all the Scotland players away to warmer climes, some matches become more interesting as others get a chance to impress. Forfarshire are without Michael Leask as they take their unbeaten run to fellow table toppers Heriot’s, who will miss the batting and bowling of Matt Cross and Adrian Neill.
RH Corstorphine won’t have the runs of Brandon McMullen available as they go to unbeaten Grange. Chris Greaves and Jack Jarvis are also on Scotland duty and that will leave Grange without their 2 most potent bowlers which could put pressure on their swashbuckling batting line up.
Carlton should be favourites to beat Watsonian at home although Andrew Chalmers returns to add to the batting talents of Naylor and Hairs for Watsonians.
In the SPCU North East Championship, Huntly should stay unbeaten at home to Perth Doocot who look light on batting and bowling without Safyaan Sharif. The Huntly overseas boys made easy work of the Gordonians bowlers in a T20 on Thursday evening, and they could well go big if they get the opportunity. The Mitchell/Squire spin combination could bring the match to a premature finish if Perth bat first.
It should be a glorious afternoon for cricket watching at Mannofield as Aberdeenshire entertain Gordonians. The sides only have 2 half centuries between them after 4 games each, but with neither side having been at their best on the bowling front either, it should be runs in the sun. The subtle bowling variations of David Gamblen for Shire and Ashfaq Bashir for Gordos could influence the result.
2nd Forfarshire took their game at Huntly last Saturday all the way to the final wicket, and although things didn’t go their way in that match, they should give Arbroath a bit of a test at Forthill. Arbroath have emerged from a miserable 2022 brimming with confidence and are top of the league and in the Scottish Cup quarter finals on Sunday.
The remaining 2 matches are local derbies as Freuchie should be too good for 2nd Falkland at Scroggie Park, and its landlord versus tenant as Strathmore play Kinloch at Forfar.
A 98 run win for Northern Lights (271/3) against RHC Women (173/3) last Sunday, with Emma Halliwell (Falkland CC) scoring her maiden century for Northern Lights, has set up a top of the table clash with West of Scotland Women at Mannofield this Sunday. With 4 of the leading run scorers in the league on show, Mariam Faisal and Nayma Sheikh for WoS, Emma Halliwell and Megan McColl for NL, it promises to be an entertaining game.
The Challenge Cup kicks off for most teams this Sunday with Huntly at home to last year’s winners Morton. Huntly will miss the bowling of Andrew Petrie and Jordan Squire against a team who traditionally travel well, but haven’t been entirely convincing in the ESCA Championship.
Bon Accord will have a decent chance as they play Marchmont from Division 1 in Edinburgh at Groats Road.
Crescent make their competition debut and play SPCU side Largo at Brechin.