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Saturday Summaries 3rd August 2013: Cove come back to earn draw / Brora top the pile

Champions Cove Rangers had to fight back from a 2-0 deficit against Huntly, who had taken the lead through Neale Davidson and David Booth, to draw 2-2 on the opening day at Allan Park.

Goals in the second-half from Jamie McLaughlin and Ryan Stott secured the point for Kevin Tindal's men.

Brora Rangers top the league after a 5-1 defeat of a depleted Clachnacuddin side, with Richie Hart and Steven Mackay both on target. They are above Inverurie Loco Works on goals scored, after the Garioch side ran out 4-0 winners against Strathspey Thistle at Seafield Park. Neil Gauld, Dean Donaldson, a Willie Ridgers own goal and debutant Greig Mitchell were on target.

Fraserburgh notched a fine 1-0 win over title tip Nairn County, thanks to Mark Cowie's second-half strike. Meanwhile Formartine United defeated Lossiemouth 3-0 with Cammy Keith grabbing a hat-trick on his league debut for Steve Paterson's side.

Wick Academy saw off Buckie Thistle with a goal in each half from Gary Manson and Richard Macadie, while Forres beat Rothes by the same scoreline through Andrew Fraser and Scott Lawrie.

Turriff United beat Fort William 4-2 in Lochaber thanks to a first-half hat-trick by Gary Harris, with Fort's new signing Gordon MacCarroll notching a double.

Meanwhile, Deveronvale defeated ten man Keith 4-1 at Kynoch Park with Martin Charlesworth on target twice. Jonny Smith was red carded in the first-half for the hosts.

Full reports, stats and reaction to follow.

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 1st: Nairn County

The time has come to reveal the forecasted winners of the 2013-14 SHFL title - and it has split our panel right down the middle with two sides getting two nods each. Over the last fortnight the pundits have been offering their 18-1 predictions, which is bound to make for interesting reading come the end of the season. Andy Skinner submits his final prediction, as follows...  

1st Place: Nairn County 

Last Season: Prediction: 6th Actual: 4th     

P 34 W 22 D 5 L 7 GD 37 Pts 71   

Post Season Positives: 
Nairn come into the new season with some excellent signings on board. Daniel Moore and Stuart Leslie in particular are two who really impressed in Division three for Elgin last season. With players like that augmenting what was already a 50+ goal strike force in Connor Gethins and Robbie Duncanson - on their day is there anyone who can stop them? Another nod must go to the ground staff who by all accounts have the Station Park surface in immaculate condition.   

Post Season Negatives: 
Although on the whole they maintained consistency throughout the season, in order to win the title they have to win more games. Although that sounds simplistic, the top three above them last season all finished the season with 25 wins - three more than Nairn - so they will really be aiming to convert draws and even games they may previously have lost into wins in order to be in that mix. It really is a fine margin. 

Key Man: 
Connor Gethins. Voted the league's best player last season, and with the ability to score all kinds of goals, he's one who should thrive upon the increased service he will get from the arrival of Leslie and Moore. Competition for places will be fierce, but Gethins will remain the first name on the teamsheet so long as he continues what he's proven so deadly at doing. 

Prediction 2013-2014: 
The level of talent in Nairn's squad is impressive, very simply they're a side packed with quality. They have players who can earn them points when the team don’t play well. And for me there aren't enough teams who will be able to stop them when they do play well, which one would expect to be the majority of the time. This will be Les Fridge's year. 1st

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 2nd: Wick Academy

Our penultimate pre-season prediction sees another full board of disagreement as we get closer to tomorrow's big kick-off. reporter Andy Skinner is first to offer his thoughts on who will finish the season as runners-up. 

2nd Place: Wick Academy  

Last Season: Prediction: 9th Actual: 3rd     

P 34 W 25 D 1 L 8 GD 53 Pts 76 

Post Season Positives: 
From strength to strength go the Scorries. Last season was a record breaker for them with a highest ever league position, and of course the impeccable 100% home league record across 17 games. They have a talented squad who play some beautiful stuff, and have clocked up a good level of experience in the Highland League despite having many years still ahead of them. Additionally, Barry Wilson's decision to stay on at Harmsworth Park despite an offer from Queen of the South comes as a huge boost to the club and its fans. 

Post Season Negatives: 
The travel issue is one Academy have no control over, however what is in their own hands is how they deal with it. While their home form will remain the catalyst to succeed, the aim will be to improve upon the eight wins they picked up on the road last term.   

Key Man: 
Sam Mackay. He's proven to be a hugely dynamic figure in attacking midfield, and got his season off to a great start with a hat-trick in the AJG Parcels North of Scotland Cup last weekend. 

Prediction 2013-2014: 
Wick's reaction to managerial change last season was excellent, firstly in the interim under Richard Hughes before Barry Wilson came on board and carried on the good work. The Scorries have helped generate a really positive vibe for football in the north and the locals have shown a big enthusiasm for the club, turning up in vast numbers for matches both home and away. Barry's decision to stay on is a statement in itself of what he intends to do with Wick, and given the strong understanding that has been generated between him and the players I think he will get one step closer this season. 2nd 

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 4th: Cove Rangers

It's taken us until 4th place, but we now have our first full set of four differing choices. The disagreement begins with reporter Andy Skinner who has opted for last season's winners, Cove Rangers. 

4th Place: Cove Rangers  

Last Season: Prediction: 5th Actual: 1st     

P 34 W 25 D 5 L 4 GD 75 Pts 80   

Post Season Positives: 
Coming into the first game of the season knowing their last competitive outing won them the Highland League title is a huge morale surge for Kevin Tindal's men. For the next year Cove will be referred to as 'Highland League champions' in reports and news articles, and every time people at the club see that it will rekindle great memories of a remarkable comeback in the second half of the season.   

Post Season Negatives: 
A couple of mainstays of the title-winning side, and indeed the Cove team of the past few years, have left.  Goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie and captain Roddy Black have sought pastures new and will leave a big void, as will Danny Milne and Murray McCulloch who left mid-season.   

Key Man: 
Jordan Leyden. He's proven to be an excellent addition since stepping up from junior football, and he makes his presence felt with bursts of pace that leave defenders trailing.  

Prediction 2013-2014: 
Defending the league title is exceedingly difficult, and what Buckie did in 2011 was a tremendous achievement when you consider how strong the league is in its current state. It generally takes time to adapt to having a new goalkeeper between the sticks, it's such a vital part of the team but for reasons owing to communication and understanding built up over a period of time. Cove will be up there, and while they are more than capable of defending their title, I think they will be overtaken by a top three who have been starved of Highland League success (with just one title shared between them) and each of whom is in as strong a position as ever. 4th 

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Weekend Preview Saturday 3rd August 2013

On the eve of the new league season we round up the weekend's team news from around the grounds. Remember to stay with through the rest of the day to see our pundits' remaining two predictions, including their top tips to claim the elusive title that Cove Rangers brought home last season. 

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 5th: Brora Rangers

There are still plenty of predictions to get through before the big kick-off on Saturday, and we break into the top five now with reporter Andy Skinner tipping Brora Rangers to record an improved finish. 

5th Place: Brora Rangers 

Last Season: Prediction: 1st Actual: 8th   

P 34 W 17 D 4 L 13 GD 31 Pts 55   

Post Season Positives: 
An assured finish to the season, and a real sense that the squad are subscribing to what Davie Kirkwood is trying to achieve at Dudgeon Park. A very pleasing team to watch in attack and some very solid additions throughout the entire team. The signing of Joe Malin has captured much attention, he's a keeper who has  

Post Season Negatives: 
Like a few teams, there really isn't a lot negative to say after a superb end to last season. Brora will be looking to improve upon their form at the start of the season, which they will be confident of given the disruption of the management change mid-season. Brora did eventually find momentum, but it will need to come much earlier if they are to challenge.   

Key Man: 
Martin Maclean. Amidst all the experienced heads in the side, it's important to also focus on the players who are benefitting from the presence of Tokely, Hart and Golabek etc in the team. Maclean sees a huge amount of the ball when Brora attack due to his energy and hunger to get on the ball and create for the likes of Zander Sutherland and Liam Baxter. His runs into the box will cause many sides problems this season, and is a player who has really come on since signing from Lewis outfit Back. 

Prediction 2013-2014: 
A very good side to watch, a lot of Davie's plans were beginning to become clear as we moved into the latter stages of the season. He has recruited well himself although there are still some very talented players who remain from the side Andy MacLeod before him had built. I think they will progress to finish in the top five this season. 5th

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 3rd: Formartine United

Over the course of the day, the four pundits will outline their predictions for the top three. We begin with reporter Andy Skinner who casts his attention for third place towards Pitmedden. 

3rd Place: Formartine United 

Last Season: Prediction: 8th Actual: 2nd     

P 34 W 25 D  L 6 GD 67 Pts 78   

Post Season Positives:  
Steve Paterson hasn't dwelled on coming second best in May's end of season drama, and was quick to put the gloves on and make changes to the team. In Cammy Keith's case, the Maroons' loss really is Formartine's gain, and an all-firing strikeforce will be worth a lot of points to United. Gary Clark will bring some spice to the midfield, while John Calder brings competition for places between the sticks.    

Post Season Negatives: 
Formartine came short in a handful of games that were worth a lot of pride to the club last season. The last game of the season was one example, but there was also an Aberdeenshire Cup Final defeat on penalties and a poor performance at Clach in the Scottish Cup. Going into the new season they need a sharper cutting edge when there is a lot at stake. Could Saturday's Ramsdens Cup win against East Stirling be an indication they're headed that way?   

Key Man: 
Craig McKeown. He earned huge plaudits for his performances in his first season after joining from Dundee, and will be paramount to United again this year. After handing him the captaincy, it's clear Pele views his defensive leadership and organisation as hugely important to Formartine's chances this season. 

Prediction 2013-2014: 
Formartine are out to prove a point and the signing of Cammy really underlines how determined they are. They will hope to continue their Ramsdens Cup run against Elgin, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them do well in the Scottish Cup, as well as regional cup competitions where I think their wait for a trophy will finally come to an end. As the fight to win the league intensifies, I think they will be right in the mix but they will be praying for a good winter after the backlog they faced last season. I also think Kevin Webster will be quite a loss for them, a player who has the ability to create goals for himself and others all over the team. A cup success while finishing 3rd

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Newsround 1st August 2013: Buckie, Clach, Huntly and Broch add / Fox departs PRP

Buckie Thistle have signed Elgin City forward Fraser Forbes on a three-month loan deal.

Forbes hit the net twice in the Jags' 6-0 win against Buckie Rovers on Saturday.

With Forbes arriving, Buckie have made striker Aaron Shand available for transfer.

Shand joined from Newmachar United last summer, and was on target 19 times in his debut Highland League season last term.

Thistle have also made young pair Stuart Hodge and Ben Stewart available for loan, with the latter having spent time with Buckie Rovers last season.

Clachnacuddin signed former Fort William defender Ryan MacDonald in time for the player to be on the bench for last night's 5-4 victory over Halkirk in the AJG Parcels North of Scotland Cup.

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League Table

Rank Teams Played Points Current form
1 Cove Rangers 16 44 WWDWW
2 Inverurie Locos 20 44 DWWWW
3 Fraserburgh 17 41 WLWWW
4 Brora Rangers 16 37 WLWWW
5 Huntly 19 35 WDWLW
6 Buckie Thistle 17 32 LWLWD
7 Formartine United 17 31 WWLWL
8 Rothes 18 30 DLDWW
9 Forres Mechanics 17 30 WWWWW
10 Deveronvale 18 28 LWWWW
11 Turriff United 18 24 DLLLL
12 Clachnacuddin 19 22 LLWDW
13 Nairn County 16 22 WLLLL
14 Wick Academy 15 16 LWLLD
15 Keith 18 8 LLWDL
16 Lossiemouth 19 5 LLLLL
17 Strathspey Thistle 18 3 LLLLL
18 Fort William 16 1 LLLLL

Recent Results

18-11-2017 15:00 - Scottish Cup Third Round
Formartine United 1 : 0 Forfar Athletic
Stranraer 0 : 1 Brora Rangers
Spartans 1 : 2 Fraserburgh
Airdrieonians 2 : 3 Cove Rangers
Buckie Thistle 2 : 3 Brechin City
18-11-2017 15:00 - SHFL Week 17
Rothes 9 : 1 Fort William
Turriff United 1 : 2 Huntly
Keith 0 : 3 Inverurie Locos
Lossiemouth 2 : 3 Clachnacuddin
15-11-2017 20:00 - MM Aberdeenshire Shield First Round
Deveronvale 4 : 0 Aberdeen University
11-11-2017 15:00 - SHFL Week 16
Inverurie Locos 3 : 1 Formartine United
Nairn County 2 : 4 Forres Mechanics
Strathspey Thistle 0 : 5 Rothes
Brora Rangers 7 : 0 Lossiemouth
Turriff United 1 : 3 Deveronvale
Clachnacuddin 1 : 1 Buckie Thistle
Huntly 1 : 3 Cove Rangers
08-11-2017 20:00 - SHFL Week 15
Lossiemouth 0 : 3 Buckie Thistle

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