Saturday sees the first pink ball trial day of the season in Grades 1 and 2, giving some teams the opportunity to dust down any coloured kit they might have. 

Grade 1 leaders Master Blasters are at Inverdee against Crescent. Both teams won last Saturday, Master Blasters winning by 5 wickets at Inverurie with Abhinav Kache making 85 as they chased down the 186 for 9 posted by the hosts. Crescent pulled off a little bit of a surprise as Aberdeen Grammar had an off day being bowled out for 91 with Dave Gibson taking 4 for 24 in a 6 wicket victory. 

2 of the title favourites meet at Harlaw as Bon Accord play Gordonians. Gordonians needed an unbeaten 57 from youngster Rudra Chouksey to rescue them from a poor start against Banchory, but their total of 169 for 8 was enough to give them a 38 run win. Bon Accord were far from their best as they overcame Mannofield by 12 runs at the same venue last weekend, 140 proving to be a total too far for Mannofield to chase.

Knight Riders are at Links against Aberdeen Grammar having beaten Cults in a low scoring affair at St Margaret’s last time out. Cults go to Mannofield, the latter giving Joseph Horne a rare run out in Grades cricket.

The bottom 2 sides meet as Banchory head to Inverurie.

In Grade 2, Grampian have won all 4 league matches to date and would expect to keep that run going at Methlick. 2nd Aberdeen Grammar are at Rubislaw facing 2nd Knight Riders and 3rd Aberdeen Grammar are providing the teas at Inverdee against 2nd Gordonians. Huntly prop up the table and are without skipper Graham Reid as they travel to Fraserburgh. Portcullis will make their debut at St Margaret’s as they play 2nd Master Blasters in a game where some attritional batting might be rewarded.

Dunecht are unbeaten in Grade 3 and they are at Balmoral to face Crathie. 2nd Banchory are due to host 2nd Methlick, and the other 2 Grade 3 fixtures are scheduled for Sunday. 2nd Mannofield are at home to 3rd Gordonians and Stoneywood Dyce get to play at People’s Park against 2nd Fraserburgh.

What was expected to be the match of the day in the North East last Saturday turned out to be the lowest scoring game in the area. Perth Doocot registered their lowest completed innings in recent times, undercutting their score in August 2022 when they were bowled out for 68 by 2nd Forfarshire. Lewis Munro was the destroyer in chief taking 6 for 14 off 9 overs. Calum Howard sneaked on to take 2 for 8 as Perth were all out for 45, and that could have been worse had their number 11 not scored an unbeaten 10. The Shire reply wasn’t exactly textbook as they were reduced to 10 for 3 but Cameron Brown smacked a couple of 6s to give them a 7 wicket win in under 8 overs. Shire go top of the SPCU North East Championship and it doesn’t even feel as though they have hit top form yet. They make the journey to Freuchie on Saturday and welcome back Manu Saraswat to their side.

With Safyaan Sharif in the West Indies, Gordonians head to Perth hoping to improve on their showing at Forthill last weekend. 2nd Forfarshire were able to drop a few players down from their 1sts after their game in Edinburgh was abandoned early, but the 226 for 9 posted by Forfs was always in sight if only the wickets lost column hadn’t increased at regular intervals. Gordos all out for 160.

Stoneywood Dyce continued their purple patch of results, bowling out Huntly for 144. They managed to overcome a late order wobble where they lost 3 wickets for only 1 run as they won by 3 wickets. Stoneywood Dyce should be too strong for visitors Dundee High, although the pace of Brock Preston needs to be negotiated.

Huntly are at home to 2nd Forfarshire and include Callum Whyte for his first SPCU match of the season. Forfarshire are not at full strength and could get spun out relatively cheaply.

St Modans are at Forfar against Strathmore, the former without Zeb Alamgir, so the perfect opportunity for the hosts to shake themselves back into form.

With the Scotland players absent it’s hard to tell what will happen in the Eastern Premier League. Meigle host RH Corstorphine, Falkland go to Arbroath, Watsonian are at Forfarshire, Carlton play Grange, and maybe the easiest to predict, Heriot’s to give Stewart’s Melville a difficult afternoon.

Anjum Toor leads an expertly choreographed appeal for Crescent against Aberdeen Grammar (photo by Gilles Gardner)