History of Artisans Cricket Club, 1986 to 2009, as published in Grades 125-year Book:
After promotion from Grade 3 in 1986, the late 1980s saw the Club gain several successes, firstly with a Bon Accord Cup Final victory in 1987. In 1988 there was a clean-sweep of Grade 2 honours with a league and cup double – Lads Club being beaten in the final. The double also lead to the collection of the Thompson Shield. Individual honours were captured by Andy Carle (batting) and Alan Forsyth (bowling).
The Club was in very good health and could field two sides at this point, with the Reserve Grade XI blooding several players who would remain Artisans players for many years to come. Dave Wilson, Barry Leaper, Steve Dickie, and brothers Mark and Richard Munro would all come up through the Reserve XI, and would serve their apprenticeships under the stewardship of experienced players such as Neil Cooney and Nick Calder. Regular first teamers of the era included the long-serving Dave Stewart, Doug Munro and Bill McPherson, along with wicket-keeper Bruce Martin who had joined from Lads Club, and talented opening batsman Colin Johnstone. Younger players who featured regularly were Steve McKenzie, Steve Rutherford and Steven Carle.
The healthy condition of the Club was in no small part due to the outstanding efforts of Ian Cumming, without whom the Club would perhaps have folded in the eighties. Ian's sterling efforts also ensured that the club was financially sound, thanks largely to his hard work in keeping the fund-raising 100 Club going.
The Links was the Club’s home venue during this period, with the First XI playing on Links 4 and the Second XI hosting games on the smaller Links 5.
The 1989 return to Grade 1 brought more individual honours, with John Horne winning the Urquhart Cup for bowling. After three seasons in the top flight the club was to return to Grade 2. This was followed up by another Bon Accord Cup win in 1992 before the Club slipped down into Grade 3.
The Club had been reduced to one eleven by the time, and home games were now being played at the city’s Harlaw, a venue which was shared with Queens Cross.
A return to winning ways saw the Grade 3 Title captured in 1994 with Alan Forsyth once again claiming individual honours, this time for batting.
1995’s return to Grade 2 started with Ian Cumming claiming a century and five-wickets in the first match of the season, and was later followed by Graham Golder’s first hundred for the Club in a match at Rubislaw. Richard Munro narrowly missed out on becoming the Club’s third centurion of the season when he hit 93 not out versus Academy. The season was to culminate in the Club’s fourth Bon Accord Cup success in nine years, a typically stoic man-of-the-match performance from Hamish Chisholm seeing Artisans home against a Strathmore-Union bolstered Gordonians side. Also claimed in 1995 was the Grade 2 runners-up spot and a return to Grade 1.
A relegation dog-fight ensued in 1996 with a late-season and last-wicket victory over Stonehaven being enough to retain the Club's Grade 1 status for another year. The 1997 season was notable for excellent Harlaw victories over Bon Accord - with Alan Forsyth claiming a hat-trick - and over Kintore, with that man Forsyth returning remarkable figures of nine for 9.
Sadly, 1998 lead to another dip out of the top flight but it did give rise to a great Grade 2 season in 1999 with the Club going unbeaten all season. The first success came in the Bon Accord Cup thanks to man-of-the-match performance by Barry Leaper - top scoring with 39 and wrapping up the Queens Cross innings with a frugal three for 12. The Grade 2 title, and hence the Thompson Shield, followed soon after. More individual success was to come with Graham Golder scooping the Dor-Nor Cup for batting. It was at the end of this season that long-serving captain Ian Cumming decided to call time on a long and distinguished Artisans career.
The new millennium heralded two of Artisans’ greatest ever victories, both coming in the Aberdeenshire Cup. In the semi-final, much-fancied Bon Accord’s tough target was magnificently topped, the run-chase lead by a swashbuckling century from Alan Forsyth.
Ellon were the opponents in the final and, although hard-work was made of chasing a sub-100 total, it was Artisans who had once again had their name etched on the famous trophy. Key performers on this most memorable day were the bowling attack of Dave Wilson, Brian Creegan, Forsyth and Golder as well as opener Steve Dickie who claimed the man-of-the-match award.
2001 threw up another Shire Cup semi against Bon Accord and once again it was Forsyth who headed up an almost remarkable chase as he blasted 140 in pursuit of the Bon's 280. It was not to be this time, however, and it was the Links side that would progress. Cup disappointment was followed-up by another relegation to Grade 2.
The 2002 season saw a promotion-clinching Grade 2 runners-up spot, one of the highlights being a typically belligerent Steve McKenzie century against Mannofield. More individual honours came as Forsyth claimed the Grade 2 Bowling Trophy once more with Steve Dickie taking the Wilson Cup for wicket-keeping.
The return to Grade 1 was to be as brief as it could be, and in 2004 the prohibitive cost of Harlaw was to force the Club was to move, Duthie Park being the new home venue. One player who immediately settled in to the new surrounding was Graham Golder, who put together a string of excellent batting performances, the pinnacle of which being his back-to-back centuries against Queens Cross and Stoneywood-Dyce.
A struggle against the drop in 2005 culminated in a last-match relegation escape, but there were some memorable wins in this season, a successful 240 run-chase against Mannofield – lead by a fine innings by Mark Munro – being the highlight.
It was to be an altogether different story in 2006 as the Club romped to another Grade 2 title, spearheaded by Forsyth claiming a fourth individual Grades trophy as he led the batting with an average of 99.33. John Thomson claimed his first five-wicket haul for the Club, Hamish Chisholm struck his first 50, and Roy Ritchie hit three half-centuries.
Seasons 2007 and 2008 were to be a struggle, firstly in Grade 1 and then back in Grade 2.
However, Artisans live on, and like many other Grades Clubs are becoming increasingly reliant on the services of short-term Asian visitors. As well as those previously mentioned the Club has other committed and long-serving members in Paul Joyce, and also John Dickie, whose hard work behind-the-scenes does a great deal to keep the Club running smoothly.
1986 – Grade 3, runners-up
1987 – Grade 2, Bon Accord Cup Winners
1988 – Grade 2 Champions, Bon Accord Cup Winners, Thompson Shield (Andy Carle batting, Alan Forsyth bowling)
1989 – Grade 1 (John Horne, bowling)
1990 – Grade 1
1991 – Grade 1, relegated
1992 – Grade 2, Bon Accord Cup Winners
1993 – Grade 2, relegated
1994 – Grade 3 Champions ( Alan Forsyth batting)
1995 – Grade 2 runners-up, Bon Accord Cup Winners
1996 – Grade 1
1997 – Grade 1
1998 – Grade 1, relegated
1999 – Grade 2 Champions, Bon Accord Cup Winners, Thompson Shield (Graham Golder batting) *Unbeaten all season
2000 – Grade 1, Aberdeenshire Cup Winners
2001 – Grade 1, relegated (Shire Cup semi, Forsyth ton)
2002 – Grade 2, promoted (Steve McKenzie 131 v. Mannofield, Alan Forsyth Bowling, Steve Dickie Wicket-Keeping)
2003 – Grade 1, relegated
2004 – Grade 2 (Graham Golder back-to-back 100s)
2005 – Grade 2
2006 – Grade 2 Champions (Alan Forsyth, batting 99.33 avge)
2007 – Grade 1, relegated
2008 – Grade 2
2009 – Grade 2