Aberdeen Grammar have made their first high-profile signing for the 2020/21 season, successfully persuading one of the top players from derby rivals Gordonians to join them at Rubislaw.
Back rower Corey Buchan has been a stand-out at Countesswells since coming back from a short spell in Glasgow, where he played for then Premiership 2 side Hillhead/ Jordanhill, and helping the Aberdeen side to win promotion from National League 3 two seasons ago.
Buchan, 29, admitted it had not been an easy decision to make, having gone to school at Robert Gordon’s College and then going on to play for Gordonians.
But he said: “Playing in the second tier in the Premiership gave me the desire to go on and play in the top amateur league in Scotland.
“I need to test myself against the best, and having spoken to the Grammar coaches I am pleased to hear they are ambitious for the club, wanting to finish as high as possible in what is a very competitive league.
“Crossing the road to Rubislaw is never easy, but it has been done before.
“At the end of the day I am a Gordonian through and through. I will probably go back there at some point in the future, in some capacity.
“I am pleased to say I have left with the full blessing of all my team-mates and coaches.”
Gordonians president Jim Sugden was sorry to see Buchan go, but wished him well.
Sugden said: “He will be missed. He was a most influential, wholehearted player.
“But good luck to him. Grammar have picked up a quality act.”
Ali O’Connor, the Grammar head coach, is delighted with his new acquisition.
“Corey was high on our shopping list,” he said.
“All the reports on him are good, but he comes into a very competitive pack, especially in the back row.
“We have other signings in mind, and hopefully it will all click into place by the time the new season gets underway.”
Buchan acknowledged he was coming into a set-up in which there will be competition for places.
He said: “I am well aware there are no guarantees of playing in my favoured position of No 8, but then I have played in all the back row positions at Countesswells.
“I even had a shot in the centre, proving just how flexible I can be.
“I look forward to the challenge ahead of me.”
For now there is still no indication of when clubs will be back in training, or when full contact will be allowed.
In the meantime, three Caley clubs in the Aberdeen area are hoping to have new head coaches in place before training for the new season.
Wanderers, Aberdeenshire and Garioch are all intent on having new men at the helm for next term, whenever that might be.