Inverurie Loco Works finished in second place last season while their opponents Rothes finished second bottom and this match simply underlined the gulf that exists between the two clubs, with Locos emphatic 7-0 winners.
Fresh from their fine Aberdeenshire Cup win over Turriff United, it took Locos just 24 seconds to grab the first goal of the Highland League season. Marc Young played a neat pass in from his right back position to Martin Bavidge who nudged the ball to his right before playing an outside of the foot curler into the corner of the net.
But the floodgates didn’t quite open. Rothes, who had brought back several players for a second time from the junior ranks, were well organised but admittedly finding it difficult to stop a hungry team coming at them.
Within a couple of more minutes, Dean Donaldson’s header had come off the crossbar while Jordan Leyden misshit a pass set up by Neil McLean. Then Leyden, showing all the pace he displays as an ice hockey player, evaded five challenges but his final shot was again off target.
It was all one way traffic and Neil Gauld made a poor connection with a header from a Scott Begg chip over the top.
The danger of failing to put away chances almost came back to haunt when former Whitehills forward Ross Gibb advanced on the left side of the Rothes attack but Andy Reid saved with hislegs. Then midway through the half skipper McLean was next to fly out of the traps but his shot hit the wall next to the post.
A good three way move involving scorer Bavidge, Gauld and Dean Donaldson looked promising but the ex Keith hero showed too much of the ball to former team mate Ricky Horne who made a great block.
Surely a second goal was coming? No, was the answer. This time John Maitland, over on the right, curled in a cross, Gauld, going to ground having his shot blocked. Meanwhile Donaldson, also on the ground, hit the post again, with Horne out of his goal.
The onslaught kept up to the break, Maitland seeing a right foot shot go wide and fellow defender Ross Anderson have a header cleared off the line.
The visitors got their shooting boots on at half time. Ricky Horne was cautioned for bringing down McLean in the box in the 56 spot, sending the keeper the wrong way.
Four minutes later Bavidge completed his hat trick as he moved onto a ball through the inside and Martin netted his second of the game from the left by John Maitland to power the ball into the right hand corner of the net. It was now time for Gauld to get in on the act.
Andy Hunter laid the ball to Jordan Leyden on the left and his sweet cross was slammed into the net by the deadly striker. Gauld doubled his tally within two minutes, this time running on to a McLean ball to hit a right footed volley in off the post.
Gauld then turned goal provider on 72 minutes with a curled cross which was headed home by Dean DONALDSON, who gave Horne no chance. Six minutes later the same two players teamed up again and Donaldson cut in from the right and composed himself before slotting home with his left foot.
It was great to see youngsters Ryan Keir and Ross Still follow young Hunter on to the park as substitutes, getting good air time, Still almost getting in on the scoring act.
A great win, and still more to come when you think of players still to force their way in. David Ross was at a family wedding, Greg Mitchell and Mark Souter on holiday, Kieran Adams will be out for a few weeks with a metatarsal injury sustained at Turriff, Gordon Forsyth also injured.
Rothes: Horne, Winton, Corbett, Mitchell, Lamberton, Horsburgh, McIntosh, Stewart, Gibb, Rodrigues, Thomson. Subs: Ewen, Ramsay, McCallum, Mackay, Lambie, McKay, Ferguson.
Inverurie Locos: Reid, Young, Maitland, Begg, Anderson, Broadhurst, Leyden, McLean, Gauld, Bavidge, Donaldson. Subs: Hunter, Still, Keir, Pugh, Mathieson.
Referee: W Cusiter.