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Academy at home to Strathspey Thistle on opening day of shortened Highland League season


By Alan Hendry

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Gordon MacNab slots the ball into the net for Academy's winning goal against Strathspey Thistle at Harmsworth Park in March 2019 – the last time the teams faced each other. Picture: Mel Roger
Gordon MacNab slots the ball into the net for Academy's winning goal against Strathspey Thistle at Harmsworth Park in March 2019 – the last time the teams faced each other. Picture: Mel Roger

Wick Academy will welcome Strathspey Thistle to Harmsworth Park on the opening day of the new Highland League season – 224 days after the Scorries' last competitive outing.

Fixtures for the first three weekends of the 2020/21 campaign were published today, giving Gary Manson's men home games against Strathspey and Keith either side of a trip to Lossiemouth.

The fixtures are contingent on government advice that matches can proceed with spectators in attendance.

Wick v Strathspey is a fitting fixture to start the campaign given that the sides didn't meet at all last term.

Academy's last outing of 2019/20 was the 4-1 derby defeat at Brora on March 7. When football was suspended on March 13 because of the coronavirus crisis, the Scorries still had seven league matches to play – including both home and away games against the Strathy Jags.

The last time the teams met was in March 2019 when Academy won 2-1 at home in the league, thanks to second-half goals from Sam Mackay and Gordon MacNab after Scott Lisle had put the visitors ahead in the first period.

The league management committee met recently to agree a shortened format for 2020/21 in which the 17 clubs will play each other only once, meaning eight home and eight away league fixtures for every team.

Wick Academy's Davie Allan and Strathspey Thistle's Chris Innes battle for possession when the teams last met – a 2-1 win for the Scorries at Harmsworth Park in March last year. Picture: Mel Roger
Wick Academy's Davie Allan and Strathspey Thistle's Chris Innes battle for possession when the teams last met – a 2-1 win for the Scorries at Harmsworth Park in March last year. Picture: Mel Roger

First three sets of fixtures –

Saturday, October 17:

Brora Rangers v Inverurie Locos

Buckie Thistle v Clachnacuddin

Deveronvale v Rothes

Formartine United v Huntly

Forres Mechanics v Turriff United

Fort William v Lossiemouth

Nairn County v Keith

Wick Academy v Strathspey Thistle

Free club: Fraserburgh

Saturday, October 24:

Buckie Thistle v Forres Mechanics

Formartine United v Nairn County

Huntly v Brora Rangers

Inverurie Locos v Clachnacuddin

Keith v Fort William

Lossiemouth v Wick Academy

Rothes v Fraserburgh

Turriff United v Deveronvale

Free club: Strathspey Thistle

Saturday, October 31:

Clachnacuddin v Huntly

Deveronvale v Buckie Thistle

Forres Mechanics v Inverurie Locos

Fort William v Formartine United

Fraserburgh v Turriff United

Nairn County v Brora Rangers

Strathspey Thistle v Lossiemouth

Wick Academy v Keith

Free club: Rothes

The full programme of fixtures for the coming season, and arrangements for the Scottish Cup, will be issued at a later date.



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