Deconstructing the “D” and destructing opponents.
Glenurquhart 4 Inveraray 1 (Orion Group Premiership)
Lovat 3 Glenurquhart 4 (North Division 1)
“Well,” said the co-manager to the Treasurer. “I’ve experienced
losing 4-1 and I’ve also experienced winning 4-1 and I know which I prefer”
The co-manager was speaking just after the 4-1 victory over
Inveraray at Blairbeg last Saturday and he looked reasonably pleased.
“Mind you,” said the other co-manager,”thon Inveraray are
not a bad side and we rode our luck for the first 20 minutes. If they were not
so wasteful in front of goals it might have been a different story altogether.”
And so it very well might, thought the Treasurer to himself,
but out of respect to the two managers he actually said nothing about the game
but wondered how the Wing Centre would see the game in the D, so he said that
to the managers.
They looked at each other and shook their heads.
“Half the time I wonder what game he has actually been to or
if he has even been to the match at all? How he can write what he does some weeks is
beyond me. And if we are saying that from a Glen point of view what on earth
can other teams think? He’ll only be firing them up to go against us- and you
can tell him that when you see him, because I didn’t see him here today”
And so the Treasurer passed on this information to the Wing
Centre (which is why the above exchange is included here at all) and the Wing
Centre duly sighed.
“It depends on what they think the D is... or what it is for.
Is it reporting or is it comment?”
“I think they feel it is fiction- and what is more fiction
told by the classic unreliable narrator, “said the Treasurer.
“Rubbish,” said the Wing Centre. “Like who?”
“Like the guy in Chuck Palahniuk’s book ‘Fight Club’ or
Patrick Bateman in ‘American Psycho’ “
The Wing Centre shook his head, “I’ve never read any of that
“All right then- Forest Gump in the film. Do you get it now?”
“You mean someone who is telling something but their perception is limited through their point
“If you are wanting an example of that, all you need to do is
listen to Charlie Bannerman’s interview with the Newtonmore manager after the
Lovat game; you don’t need to be showing off about films and books”
“That was just a one-off interview given in the heat of the
moment. That wasn’t a whole blog written from a biased perspective.” … and with that the Treasurer left to count
the money from the Inveraray game which is how the Wing Centre found himself
with a little pondering to do before he completed the report on the match.
It certainly had been a dodgy start-and the co-manager was
wrong about him not being at the game. He had been though he did spend much of
it in the tea-room keeping out of the strong wind which the Glen played against
in the first half.
The start of the game however was all Inveraray, and for the
first 20 minutes they dominated the game, showing impressive skill and smart
thinking to open up the Glen defence on a number of occasions and the red and
blacks were indebted to John Barr, Smack the musical goalie and some wayward finishing that they did not
go behind. Gradually the defence got on
top of their men, Ally Mackintosh moved to play in front of his man, while Mike
Brady and Ewan Lloyd both gradually came on to their
game. Inveraray also had the upper hand in the midfield at this stage though
Glen should have grabbed a goal when Fraser Heath, who had taken a while to
adjust to his forward role, set Neale Reid through clear on goal with only Graham
Macpherson to beat but disappointingly the chance was missed.
Just before the halftime break however, the Glen struck
twice. The first came in the 40th minute when Fraser Heath slipped a
neat ball to David Smart and he laid it on to the stick of Lewis Maclennan who
smashed it home with the visitors defence all at seas. Three minutes later
Eddie Tembo fired a ball forward from midfield; Lewis Maclennan knocked it
across the goals and Fraser Heath finished powerfully from close range. It was
another trademark Glen move and it made it look at that stage as if the Glen
were well on their way to a comfortable win.
However, just when it looked like the
Glen could actually enjoy the 2nd half, Inveraray scored just 3
minutes after the break. This was a goal that was good to watch if you were from
Inveraray but very poor from a Glen perspective as the Argyll lads played a pre-arranged
short corner- Ewan MacMurdo to Gary Macpherson and back to MacMurdo in a move
which caught the Glen defence sleeping and was expertly fired into the roof of
After this point the Glen started to take control of the
game and through some excellent interplay from the forwards, created a number
of good chances. The 3rd goal
came from a penalty, after a hack on the edge of the box on 65 minutes and was
dispatched firmly by goalkeeper Stuart Mackintosh the designated penalty taker.
Three minutes later we scored the 4th which effectively killed the
game and this was a goal of high quality, with the ball being moved in the air
through the forwards from Lewis Maclennan to Neal Reid before being volleyed first
time by Fraser Heath high into the net. In conclusion, this
was a game the Glen needed to win and actually won well in the end. The management had targeted movement and pace
up front and that is what the spectators got.
Fraser Heath and the returning David Smart bring an extra dimension to
the forward play, but the bosses had specifically asked Neale Reid to move the
ball quicker and he delivered on almost every occasion and had a very good
game. Lewis Maclennan also played well.
In the centre line, Eddie Tembo had one
of his best games of the season and Ewan Brady playing in the crucial role of full
centre had an impressively effective game against Inveraray’s experienced David
Robertson though he like the rest of the squad took about 20 minutes to get
focused. That slow start won’t work every week. As Steve “Stato” Henderson
pointed out to the Wing Centre after the game “Inveraray had 15 corners but
they wasted them all but one”.
The only other down side was that the
Glen’s Ally Mackintosh was booked for persistent fouling, a decision one could
not argue with , though to be fair he has been playing all season through an
injury which hampers his mobility.
The news from over the hill where the
young boys were visiting the Croft was even better. For the first time in a
good number of years the Glen came away with a win 4-3 with Callum “Smudger”
Smith grabbing a hat-trick. That means he has scored more goals than Neale Reid
and as many as Lewis.
As in Drum, the match
was played in a very strong wind so the Glen decided to take the wind at their backs
and get off to a good start. Unfortunately the side did not get into the
game in the first twenty minutes, losing the midfield battle. Defensively Glen were
shaky too and deservedly lost a goal about 15 minutes in. This woke the team up
thankfully and they started to get on top. Callum Smith looked a threat every
time he got the ball at full forward. Jack Hosie equalised in 20 minutes with a
good finish inside the box and then Callum Smith scored a great goal a few
minutes before half time to give the Glen the lead. Smith who was
outstanding showed great strength and
skill to win the ball, then had the composure to create space and score.
Unfortunately at half
time Glen lost Paul Mackintosh due to his ongoing injury problems so Ross MacAulay
was dropped back into defence. Youngster
Liam Robertson then moved into wing centre and Lachie Smith came on at wing
forward while Ewan Menzies came on for Rory Maclean.
These second half changes
were able to transform the Glen’s performance despite the fact that the team were now playing
against the strong and persistent wind.
The centre line continued
to be dominant creating chance after chance, with Ewan Menzies making immediate
impact. Unfortunately, the Glen were unable to kill the game off and
because of that they were punished when Lovat scored a soft goal against the
run of play.
After this setback the
Glen remained on the back foot for a short period but the strong leaders on the
park, Donald Fraser and ‘Dixie’ Maclennan, got the team back on top and again they
dominated play scoring two more fine goals through Callum “Smudger” Smith. Smudger
had to be the Glen man of the match. He was very strong in the tackle and showed
an excellent first touch as well as good balance and control. His distribution
to the players around him ,including that to his younger brother Lachie, was excellent
Disappointingly the Glen
then gifted Lovat another easy goal and that brought in its train a nervous
ending to the game with Lovat hitting the post in the last minute. Indeed Glen even
had to pull Callum Smith back to defence to make sure of retaining both points though
any other result would surely have been a travesty. In conclusion it is only fair
to point out that as well as “Smudger” Smith doing the biz up front, “Dixie”
Maclennan also came onto an excellent game at full centre too. Beyond his
actual playing skills, his positive attitude the whole time helped to inspire the
team especially in the latter stages when things were looking tough.
In addition, full back Donald
Fraser, solid and strong, was also an inspiration in the heart of the defence
and although the hope is that the injured Paul Mackintosh can still play some part in the games to come, the basis
is clearly there of a good competitive side albeit in a ridiculously imbalanced
league. Finally and most certainly worthy of mention is Cairn Urquhart who is a fine example of a hard working club
man. A regular attender at training, Cairn always puts in unstinting effort and
he is now getting his reward: he will undoubtedly be a key player throughout
the rest of the season.
Nearly all of the
pictures of the Inveraray match come courtesy of Sheena Lloyd: the very first snap
was taken by former manager and forever Glenner Drew MacNeill. Let’s hope the
rainbow really is an omen of good things to come.
'More are the merrier
If you think about it the
biggest disappointment last weekend in Glen Shinty was not the defeat by
Newtonmore; it was actually the fact that with the cancellation of the GMA visit
to play the Sutherland Cup match, the Glen seconds will now have gone nearly a
month without a game in which young players can be used. Why is that a big
deal? Simply because of the fact that
the Glen youngsters are playing “out of their league” in the sense that at
least six of their matches are against what would be have been seen as first
team sides last season – Strathglass, Skye and Inverness- and manager Iain
Macleod is concerned at risking 14 and 15 year olds against these teams filled
with experienced players. The GMA match would have allowed him to play these
young lads- certainly Lachie Smith, Liam Robertson and Jamie Maclennan would
have featured-against at least some players in their own age group.
Last year when the League
consisted of genuine second teams there is no doubt these young lads would have
played every week-indeed some of them more or less did- : this year these same
young lads and one or two just behind them must be getting frustrated with
their lack of involvement and truthfully the situation is just not quite good
enough and the Glen management must hope that these and other youngsters have
the patience to stick with the sport until their chance can come.
GMA weren’t the only side to
be unable to field a team in the Sutherland: Aberdour also found they were
unable to get enough guys to go to Lochbroom while in the Balliemore, Strachur
were unable to get a quorum big enough to justify a pile of money traveling to
All three games involved huge
journeys for the visiting side– and the Wing Centre guesses that player
availability was compromised not only by the prospect of a long day’s journey
lasting into night but also by the fact that in some areas of the country
schools had shut for the Easter break and youngsters were probably not
available for the games due to being on holiday.
Can this be fixed? Maybe not
perfectly but when you ask the kids they will tell you they want to play games
and they want to do so every week- and if shinty can’t provide them with that
then other sports perhaps will.
Perhaps it can be fixed if we
can make the early rounds regional in nature which will ensure that teams do
not have to spend the whole day away from home. It may also be that we need to
look at being more flexible over when these games should be played, though with
many youngsters due to be sitting exams in the next month or so that may be
easier to think about than do.
The Glen being the Glen of
course many of the second team lads actually did not miss out on a game at all.
They got a call up for the first team to face Newtonmore. Glen
started this game missing 8 players whom they would normally expect to
participate in a first team squad. Gone through injury or other availability
problems were James Macpherson Andrew
Corrigan, and David Smart . Added to that Arran Macdonald and Neale Reid were
unavailable and to make matters worse Fraser Heath came down with flu on the
morning of the match while Billy Urquhart suffered another flare up of his back
injury To make matters worse Dave “Dixon” Maclennan was delayed and missed the
start of the match.
far as the game itself was concerned, it went pretty well as might be expected
against the Champions given Glen’s understrength team. Newtonmore had the bulk of the early pressure
and struck a couple of decent chances wide; the Glen then settled down and looked quite comfortable
in defence until Fraser Mackintosh fired in from a corner after 20 minutes.The
match continued in a similar vein until half time with ‘More having plenty of the
ball but despite that they managed no further scoring. Newtonmore continued to dominate in the second half and the
game was effectively lost in a ten minute spell when Fraser Mackintosh scored
his 2nd after 50 minutes and then Danny MacRae added 2 more in 55
and 60 minutes.
was a real danger that the red and blacks could have been heading for a very
heavy defeat, however the managers took Ewan Brady back to full centre where he
played very well and Glen actually came more into the game, culminating in an
excellent strike from Lewis around the 80 minute mark to make the final score 4
conclusion, if the Glen had to be extremely understrength, then this was
probably not the worst game for it to have happened. The 2nd team boys who came in all
put in a very good shift against top players.
Barr and Mike Brady were again solid at the back while Ewan Brady did well when
brought back to the centre line.
unexpected re-appearance of the excellent Danny MacRae from injury pretty well
summed up the Glen’s day.
of the side’s more experienced players did not have their greatest day in the
red and black, but as they spent most of the match under pressure and on the
back foot, one could not be over critical.
To conclude on a more
positive note there was nothing in the Newtonmore team to dissuade any Glenner
from the point of view that given a full Glen team, they are beatable. The real
trick for the Glen will be to get the squad that put 4 past ‘Shiel back fit and
ready to face them though-not an easy ask.
As for Newtonmore they played
as well as they needed to. They are side that do the simple things simply-all
are good hitters and all are strong players who are very hard to shift off the
ball once they are on it. Remember when you were wee and you used to get fruit
cocktail with condensed milk for Sunday pudding; that’s what you get with this
Newtonmore team. Good old fashioned hearty, even retro shinty-maybe that’s what
all shinty should be- not patting the ball about as if the pitch was some
new-fangled Astro turf. On the other
hand it might be good if the Glen could manage that more often too. It will be
interesting to see how Lovat cope with them this weekend.
Thanks to Sheena Lloyd for
all the pictures. Good to see Cork up to take in the match.
Mostly everything is nice
about a day out to Skye. The trip down Loch Ness and up over Cluanie to
Glenshiel is stunning. Then you come into Kyle and beyond the bridge unfolds
the whole majestic panorama of the Cuillins. Then you cross the bridge – though
it isn’t quite so nice on the far side it’s good enough really- and drive up
past Broadford and Sligachan en route to Portree.
On the outskirts of the town
as a Glenner you usually stop at the big wooden building where there is a café
that sells vegetarian lentil soup and toasties made of real cheddar before you
venture into the Smoke.
However despite your fears
when you eventually reach Pairc nan Glaoic, everyone is very pleasant and
welcoming- and round the pitch are guys who back in the day really could play
shinty. The Wing Centre noted many such worthies and while picking out
individuals would be invidious it is impossible to pass up the fact that had he
been a real journalist, he would have got together the only two Albert Smith
medal winners within a 300 mile radius for a photo op. There standing within
feet of each other were Glenurquhart’s Ally Mackintosh, the 1988 winner and
Skye’s Willie Macrae, the 1990 winner of the prestigious bonn.
As always with the Wing
Centre, when it came to actually doing it, he was coma co-dhiu- and so the
moment passed unrecorded. The ambience though continued to be excellent and
more importantly dry. In fact the only thing that wasn’t pleasant was the
actual game of shinty itself.
His reporter’s notebook is
filled with notes and jottings which reveal an increasing hysteria on the part
of the writer as the game progressed – or rather as, from a Glen point of view,
it failed to progress. Doubtless in the course of time a more balanced account
of the match will appear – on the Skye Camanachd website and who knows- even in
the pages of the WHFP - but this version needs to come out now even while the
iron of doubt and despair is still hot.
The pitch was heavy in parts
but in good condition despite the fact that it had endured a winter of rain. It
is long however - if you haven’t been for a while you tend to forget that and
there is a bit of a slope. The other factor on Saturday was that there was
quite a strong breeze - which actually dropped towards the end of the day- and
the Glen elected to play with it in the first half. The opening stages were
quite even and perhaps in the early minutes Skye did seem to hold the advantage
though John Barr and Mike Brady at the back for the Glen were solid and Stuart
Mackintosh was never under direct threat at that stage. Most of the first half
was pretty much a stalemate in that centrelines and defences were on top and
the game was stopped on a couple of occasions for injuries to Skye players.
Glen did have a three or four attempts on goal with Lewis Maclennan coming
close with a shot which just flew past the post. Raymond Robertson, making his
first team debut, also had another excellent attempt which just flew over the
bar much to the relief of the Skye defence.
At half time the Glenners
were uncertain. The second half meant that Skye would have the wind and surely
they could not fail to make better use of it than the Glen had done.
“No,” said the Glen elder
statesman DP Mackintosh. “It‘ll not work like that. Skye will definitely get
more of the ball; they will push up their centreline and that will leave much
more space for our forwards to play in.”
He was nearly right. Skye
certainly pushed up as the wind encouraged them to do but that simply left more
space for the Glen front men and as far as possession was concerned the Glen
camped for the second part of the game in the Skye half. It was a frustrating
afternoon indeed and the Skye defence were tenacious to a man while goalkeeper
Jamie Gannon appeared inspired. He saved powerful shots from Eddie Tembo and
Ally Mackintosh and smothered another drive from Raymond Robertson down at his
right hand post. Neale Reid also fired a ball just over the top in what was an
afternoon of continuous pressure in which the Glen had 18 corners and the Wing
Centre lost count of the times a Glen player had just one final touch to make
to claim a goal. Lewis Maclennan and Neale Reid were in the D man on man with
Gannon time after time but that last ball would not fall right for the forwards.
All the time this was going
on the fear was lurking at the back of the mind that Skye would break away up field
and nab a goal. They had done that two years ago to the Glen in the Camanachd
but fortunately Jordan Murchison was absent this time. Indeed last year they
took Kingussie to penalties in the MacTavish before going out so there is no
doubt they are a side who should be playing at a higher level.
Extra time came and extra
concerns. The Glen have not been penalty friendly for several years and so the
real urgency was to grab a goal and hold on until full time without Skye
getting back in. Fortunately that is what happened. Just after the start of
extra time Lewis Maclennan managed to play a ball through to James “Frosty”
Macpherson and he prodded it over the line and into the net for the only goal
of the game. That action was Frosty’s last action of the game. He had been
nursing a hamstring problem since the Kingussie match and had only come up to
Skye because an injury/availability crisis left the Glen in extremis. He was
popped on at the end of the second half of the game but restricted mobility
meant he could do little to help the cause. However when the chance came of a
goal he forced himself after the ball struck it home but compounded the damage to
his hamstring and he will now undoubtedly miss several weeks until he recovers.
Without his effort though Glen could still have been playing yet without
Glen second team boss Iain
Macleod who had come west to help out, replaced Macpherson up front and Billy
Urquhart , who had taken over from Raymond Robertson earlier, then did their
best to make the game save but Gannon was still in form.
Skye mounted a strong
challenge in the second half of extra time but the Glen defence which has only
let in one goal all season were able to hold on. The final whistle when it came
was most welcome and half an hour later the Glenners were kidding themselves on
that they had known they would win all along. It was ever thus.
Best for the Glen were Ally
Mackintosh who was excellent, Mike Brady, John Barr and Eddie Tembo who is half
a Macleod anyway and always feels at home on the Island. Best for Skye were
Jamie Gannon and defender Stevie Morrison.
Photos? Just Alasdair the
Bruce is his open air lair. How he commentates in the rain and wind is a
mystery to one and all. The others–the guys on the field pre-match and old Cork
on the bottle. If any others turn up they will be acknowledged and posted.
Hutchie keeps the Glen at bay.
Kingussie 1 Glenurquhart 0 (Orion Group
Last Saturday morning it was
very hard to believe that any game was going to go ahead let alone one up on
Kingussie moor. After all down by Loch Ness, complete with its micro-climate
which means that Drum is 2 degrees warmer than anywhere else in the North,
there was a blanket of snow covering Blairbeg. Surely matters would be much
worse up in the land of the ptarmigan and reindeer. Indeed, would the team even
get over the Slochd?
The Wing Centre thought not
and decided he would head over Culnakirk to watch the Crofters on their home
park: Lord Lovat’s men against the foot-soldiers of the Duke of Argyll. In the
end Lovat won but they had to rely on the boy from the Cromartie estate to get
both the goals. Kevin Bartlett got the first early on and got the second late
in the second half courtesy of a slip up by Andrew MacMurdo. Otherwise Lovat
did not play either badly or well: they played competently and if they can do
that every week and still win, then the only match worth watching this year
will be when they face up to Newtonmore in some competition or other.
Newtonmore, it appears managed the same trick against ‘Shiel.
The Glen? It would be good if
they could have a full team of fit players for once in the season. The first
half against ‘Shiel was the last time end and then Andy Corrigan was injured.
This week it was Lewis Maclennan who went over an ankle at work on the Friday –
and goodness knows his hitting and finishing was certainly missed up at the
The start of the game was
relatively even but gradually the Glen started to get the better of the
pressure and an excellent opportunity was created for Neale Reid which he
struck very well and produced an outstanding save from Dawson in the Kingussie
goal. Was it a save? Mr D will undoubtedly think so but every Glenner present
on the day has told the Wing Centre that the ball hit the keeper’s club with the
keeper not knowing anything about it, and since that fits the narrative better
then that is the way it was. That is not to take away from the Kingussie
keeper’s afternoon because he produced a number of other fine saves which he
undoubtedly did mean.
continued to have the bulk of the play without creating any clear cut chances
and then mid-way through the 1st half David Smart had to go off
injured. On came Stuart Reid at wing
back and Euan Lloyd moved to wing forward. 5 minutes before half time Stuart
Reid also got injured and so the management reversed position with Euan until
we could ascertain the seriousness of Stuart’s injury. The first half concluded with plenty of
energy from both sides but little flair or obvious chances.
second half started much as the first had finished with the Glen having the
better of the game but truthfully little creativity was displayed in front of
goals. Then 10 minutes into the half Kingussie won a controversial free hit out
on the right, hit a diagonal forward ball and Savio Genini scored low into the
corner for the first goal the Glen have conceded this season. It was a blow,
certainly, but there was plenty time to do something about it but though Glen
dominated possession and chances they were simply unable to score.
Glen’s Steve “Statto” Henderson noted down the figures which give the story of
the game. Glen had 7 shots on target, 6 off target and 10 corners. Kingussie had 3 shots on target, 3 off target
and 1 corner- and of course among the shots on target 1 goal. Glen keeper
Stuart “Smack” Mackintosh only had one hit out in the 2nd half. To
make things even worse both James Macpherson and Stuart Reid had to come off
injured in the second half to be replaced by Ally Mackintosh and James Hurwood.
In fact the first appearance of Ally Mackintosh for this season was one of the
few positives to take from the day.
conclusion, it is hard to fault the Glen defence who put in a very solid
performance with John Barr excellent.
centre line won much more than they lost so a reasonable performance from them.
what happened? Well Mr Dawson in very fine form happened. Then Barry Dallas
likewise and then shutting up shop completely by bringing Lee Bain back for the
last 20 minutes made a defence good enough to do the business against a Glen
forward line to which injuries both before and during the game caused
key man for Kingussie was of course full back, James Hutchison. He is a player
who at times appears to be a force of nature - he pushes; he pulls; he
obstructs at the level of an art form which could be appreciated, indeed
savoured, if it was not happening against the Glen.
was cursing him even as I was admiring him,“said one veteran Glenner to the
Wing Centre last Sunday afternoon.
Referees? They were all born yesterday and Hutchie wasn’t: it’s that
simple. He is good at what he does and he stands between Kingussie and the
Saturday, the Glen go to Skye for the first round of the MacTavish Cup and from
a rough head count of those who returned to the forward trench after last
week’s over the top attack, a fresh draft of reserves from the second squad is
first two pictures are provided by Neil Paterson (http://www.neilgpaterson.com/ ) : the rest are courtesy of Sheena Lloyd .
Playing for the Jersey
Saturday was sponsors day at
Drum. Both sides picked up their new kit with sponsors’ names emblazoned
thereon. The senior squad and Captain Eddie Tembo received their new jerseys
from Mr Donnie Macphee of Nodram who has moved his sponsorship this year from
the second side to the top team.
The second team jersey sponsor
is Cobb's, the bakery company based in the Glen - and second team Captain
Bradley Dickson is pictured here picking up the jersey from Mr Gary Clark of
If you want to have the
honest truth-on the basis of the Glen’s second half performance this was a
point lost which did not need to be. To be fair though if you turned up at the
match, switched to Drum because of the fact Tighnabruaich was unplayable, and
you realised that Glen were three short of their recognised first team defence -
the injured Andy Corrigan and Ally Mackintosh with John Barr a last minute
absentee because of work requirements - then you might have settled at the
outset for a solitary point. Indeed in
the early exchanges Kyles looked more competent: they seemed to stop and move
the ball more competently. Glen though had a clear early chance when Ewan Brady
moved the ball up to James Macpherson but he was blocked from a clear chance.
In 25 minutes from a foul Ewan Brady set
up Lewis Maclennan and his long shot was palmed out by veteran Kyles keeper
Kyles then had a clear chance
to go ahead with Roddie Macdonald apparently clean through in front of goal.
Glen keeper Stuart Mackintosh had other ideas though and he came swiftly off
his line to avert the danger and clear the ball to safety.
The half closed with a Lewis
Maclennan attempt which flew harmlessly across the face of the Kyles goal. It
was an end to what had been in fact a pretty even first half though what did
surprise the Glen regulars above all was the fact that the Kyles forwards did
not in any way look sharp against the Glen defence in which youngster Euan Lloyd
and Michael Brady were able to deal with everything that was thrown at them.
The non stop running of buckshee Fraser Heath certainly did help because he did
not permit the Tighnabruaich men any spare time to dwell on the ball. Two years
ago Heath was man of the match in the MacAulay final: his contribution so far
this season has been invaluable.
Glenurquhart 0 Kyles Athletic 0 (Orion
Group Premier League)
The problem with second
halves is that the Wing Centre is out of the picture as far as taking notes is concerned
since he goes round trying to get the public to part with a collection. That inevitably means he hardly gets a chance
to view the game at all. For what it’s worth his view was that for the first 35
minutes of the half Glen had the upper hand in play and territory and all they
actually needed was a goal. A glorious chance to grab one was created when
Neale Reid managed to put Lewis Maclennan in the clear but his shot,
excellently struck though it was missed the target by a whisper and saved Kyles’
As always Kyles came back
strongly – and they shaded the last 15 minutes though they too were unable to
penetrate though keeper Stuart Mackintosh made the fans’ hearts skip a beat
when he knocked a ball by for a corner rather closer to the post than this
spectator would like to have seen.
A word in parting about the refereeing:
Billy Wotherspoon can be annoying in his insistence on perfect shies and
booking players for swearing. However if these are offences as far as the rules
are concerned, it’s up to guys not to do them.
However, as far as back pushes
and fouls were concerned he got the vast majority right and by putting guys in
the book - Iain Macdonald for hand ball
and Lewis Maclennan for an intimidatory swing - he kept a tight grip on the
game and allowed the stick players to flourish. The only hope is that other
referees are as tough on spoiling tactics throughout the rest of the fixtures
in this, the tightest of leagues.
The usual nice crowd of
islanders came ashore at Drum to view this fixture which, if truth be told, the
Glen supporters were a little concerned about.
Why? The demands of Premier
shinty meant that 3 of the better bairns –James Hurwood, Euan Lloyd and Jack
Hosie were down to be included against Kyles. In the end however Hosie turned
out against Skye though the pattern of the game was such he got little chance
Skye have some fine athletes
in their team but how demeaning it must be for them not to be playing at the
top level. Will Cowie, Jordan Murchison, Neil MacVicar, Shockie Maclennan ,
Stevie Morrison and Gilleasbuig Macdonald are all quality performers but they
are going to need to hit the net more regularly if they are to move up to the
next league - always, that is, supposing that they actually want to.
The game was really all about
Skye pressure and Glen defending. Danny Morrison opened the scoring in 5
minutes with a powerful shot from distance and then for most of the half full back
Donald Fraser and defenders Paul Mackintosh , Ross MacAulay and Brad Dickson
worked like fury to keep the Skye men at bay. To be fair keeper David MacFadyen
was also called into action especially when he had to face up to and subsequently
save a Jordan Murchison penalty.
At the other end Glen did
occasionally pose a threat goal threat but on the few occasions that Dan
Mackintosh , Cairn Urquhart, Jack Hosie and Raymond Robertson had possession,
they were outmuscled by the Skye defence and were unable to make the ball stick
up field long enough to do any damage.
Eventually the pressure had
to tell and so it was that after some neat lead up play from Danny Morrison who
fed the ball to Shockie MacLennan the Skyemen doubled their advantage in the 77th
minute. Finally Skye substitute Kenny MacLeod rounded off the scoring with a
fine effort from 20 yards on 85 minutes.
In sum then, a good effort
from the Glen defence with top marks for Donald Fraser in particular: the
inequalities inherent in this league are becoming clearer by the week.
This week a trip to Kingussie
is on the cards for the top side while the reserves are due to face Strathglass
at Drum. The weather though may decide otherwise.
As was the case last week,
the photos come courtesy of Sheena Lloyd. Sorry about that pic, Lewis
0 Skye 3 (Marine Harvest North Division 1)
Jack’s a hat-trick lad…
Glenurquhart 5 Beauly 0 (Marine Harvest North Division 1)
Only one game for the Glen this
week-a second team clash with Beauly which was switched from Braeview because
Kilmallie were switched north as a result of their home pitch being unplayable.
There had been a debate amongst
the Wing Centre and two or three of his wee pals about what sort of team the
Glen should put out since they had at least 7 players available from the first
team squad if they were to go by the letter of the law. In the end the choice
was to take youngster Euan Lloyd and Stuart Reid who in fact only played second
team games last season- and that was fair enough. When the Beauly lads were
knocking around before the match it was clear that apart from Mackay Murray and
big Kenneth Mackenzie, their manager Iain Morrison had nothing but a bunch of
bairns in his side - 16 year olds with maybe one or two older-and why Mackay
was not with their first team baffles this spectator for one thing.
The Glen’s team list was
boosted by the return for this first time this season of offshore worker Calum
Smith who lined up at full centre. Otherwise with the exception of the two
other lads listed earlier it was very much the same side that faced up to
Kingussie the week before. The most notable exception was of course manager
Iain Macleod who confined himself to the sidelines in order to give a game to
as many of his large squad as he sensibly could.
The pitch which had certainly
been subjected to some heavy rain during the week was playable but squishy in
one or two parts and in the absence of a Beauly goal judge ref Bobo Morrison,
whose own fixture had been put off helped out ref Ron Kennedy and home line
judge Billy Macleod.
Glen were quickly on top of
this inexperienced Beauly side and when Jack Hosie cut a ball back across the
face of goal Raymond Robertson was able to whip in a sharp shot which found the
roof of the net for the opener in 4 minutes.
The green and whites were
very much on the back foot for the next period and Robertson got his second
after neat play between Hosie and Euan Lloyd left him with clear chance in the
10th minute. Eight minutes later it was 3-0 and Beauly were looking
distinctly ragged when Robertson knocked the ball across the goal and Hosie was
able to rap the ball home from close range.
Beauly settled down somewhat
after this whirlwind baptism of fire and they gradually began to find the pace
of the game. Daniel Mackintosh came on up front for Glen and Rory Maclean came
on in the middle but with a back line which included big Donald Fraser, Paul
Mackintosh and Stuart Reid the Beauly youngsters were always going to find it
difficult to get on the score sheet.
The Glen however seemed to
run out of ideas in front of goals for most of the second half and whenever
they did manage to get a shot on target young Beauly keeper Josh Grant was pretty
efficient at stopping the attacks.
Glen finally grabbed a second
half goal in the 76th minute when a corner was knocked over and
Mackay Murray for once missed his first time swing to clear. The ball dropped
to Jack Hosie who kept a cool head and ran the ball in to grab his second of
Jack Hosie was soon on a
hat-trick - the first Glen player to get one this season -when he finished off
a move in the 85th minute though the Beauly keeper did managed to block
two attempts to put it past him. That strike made it 5-0 and while Glen can be
pleased with the outcome not too much should be read into the result given that
at least three of the sides in the frame to challenge the young Glenners are
first teams. Jack did not even get the match ball.
For Beauly who seem to have
lost a pile of players in the close season, either via defection to other clubs
or from sheer lack of commitment to the cause, it looks as if it will be a
difficult season. They should take heart over the fact that one day their
youngsters will no longer be youngsters but it would help if there were some
older heads aboard to help steady the ship.
There was little else worthy
of note on the day except to remark on the figure of Ross County’s Premier
League keeper Michael Fraser who was present in the St Drostan’s Stand. “Ikey”
has been in hospital having suffered a sudden burst appendix which has probably
put the kybosh on the rest of his Premier season. It could not have come at a
worse time given that he was first choice keeper at the time of his illness. Mike
has certainly lost a bit of weight but he’s on the mend now and everyone at the
Club wishes him all the best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Elsewhere the news broke that
Ronald Ross is to take on the mantle of Scotland manager. It was not an
appointment that the Wing Centre had seen coming since he had assumed that
there were other guys who had served with the National squad who might have
been interested. Perhaps not. He was aware though that the job has become in
present days a bit of a poisoned chalice for serving Premier Managers given the
obvious disparity in resources between the GAA and the Camanachd Association. Given
recent results Ronaldo has a bit of a job on his hands though the presence alongside
him of Kingussie’s Jim Gow will be a comfort.
This weekend Kyles will be up
in Drum - the game was apparently switched on Wednesday afternoon - and that
means that the seconds will face Skye earlier in the day, provided the weather
The pictures are courtesy of
Sheena Lloyd. Enjoy.
Glen make encouraging start in the Orion Group Premiership
Glenurquhart 4 Kinlochshiel 0
A better start than was in
evidence this time last year- and that has to be a good thing for all Glenners
especially in what is bound to be the tightest of shinty leagues.
On the other
hand what does that result do apart from postponing the pressure for another 7 days?
Well it gives Glenners far and near some comfort in that the forwards are able
to hit the target accurately though it is a dead on certainty that the Glen defenders
will encounter more testing forward lines than the one they faced up to on Saturday. Not a surprise that,
what with ‘Shiel’s Keith Macrae confined to the sidelines after a hernia
operation and the other two Macraes in the centreline for a time.
said that- and admitting that the Glen were without Ali Mackintosh – the final result was more
than a little harsh on Kinlochshiel because, especially in the first half there
was little between the teams and it certainly took Glen a long time to get on the score
Glen certainly had some good
early pressure- an early drive over the bar from David Smart and a neat piece
of work by Ewan Brady to set up Eddie Tembo whose shot whistled past are
testament to that. However it took until the 15th minute to test
‘Shiel keeper Scottie Kennedy when he just managed to stop a low drive from
Lewis Maclennan with his foot.
At the other end Glen keeper
Stuart Mackintosh also had to earn his keep with a fine save but ‘Shiel’s other
chances like those of Glenurquhart were
squandered without bringing the keeper into play. However just as everyone was
becoming resigned to accept a goalless first half, Glen broke the deadlock with
an excellently executed finish. Neale Reid picked up the ball beyond the
penalty area flicked it in to David Smart who knocked it on in the air and
James Macpherson on the left, under tight pressure from the Shiel full back
managed to get just enough room take the ball on the bounce and fire what was
in essence a half-chance into the bottom corner of the net.
The half time whistle came
with the Glen having the psychological edge which with about 60% of the
pressure was just about deserved: the big disappointment was an injury to key
defender Andy Corrigan just before the half time whistle. He took a blow from a
‘Shiel defender on the thumb and had to leave immediately for Raigmore where
the injury was confirmed as a break. He will miss the next very important 6
weeks of the Premier campaign which given the tightness of the league and the small
number of fixtures is a severe blow. As to the cause of the injury, the least
said soonest mended though credit should go to ref Deke Cameron for defusing
the situation in a sensible manner.
Shiel too suffered an
unfortunate injury in another tackle as defender David Falconer had to leave
the field with an injury which turned out to be a broken collar-bone.
Despite the absence of
Corrigan the second half was more securely with the Glen and Shiel tired as the
match went on something probably not unrelated to the fact that because of
weather related call offs, they had been unable to have pre-season fixtures to sharpen
Lewis Maclennan doubled the
Glen lead in the 53rd minute after a Neale Reid shot came back off Shiel keeper Kennedy
and James Macpherson added a third when he too pounced on a rebound. The final
goal came when Ewan Brady who had a solid match set up Neale Reid with a clear
sight of goal and he hammered the ball home from close range. Neil’s victory somersault
was less elastic than it used to be but at least he always celebrates with
Where does this leave the Glen?
Bizarrely, at the top of the league for the next day or so but on looking back
at the game the score was more than a little harsh on Shiel- and for both sides
the game was hard fought with the attrition rate on players quite high for
Shiel’s Mark Macdonald appeared to struggle at the end and both Fraser Heath
and Euan Lloyd took knocks. Hopefully, neither will be hurt badly enough to
keep them out of competition in the next game. Saturday’s match against
Lochaber at Spean has been put on hold because of the funeral of Scotland darts
player Brian Whyte who had a shinty club connection.
Should have done better!
There can be no other verdict on what was a disappointing result. The match was
first supposed to have been at The Dell, then with the reversal of the first
team fixture it was moved to Dunbarry and then finally shifted back to the Dell.
Not that that made any difference because Kingussie , to be fair to them ,played their normal second string in a match where had they so wished they could have strengthened it with players from the top squad. They did not do so and that can only be to the good of the game at this level.
The first half was a very even contest with one good goal from Chris
Hollysong separating the two teams. However despite the fact that Glen defended
well enough, too many players were under par and performed disappointingly.
Kingussie positioned their older
experienced players, Camanachd Cup winning veterans Ally Macleod, Kevin Thain
and Michael Clark down the middle and placed their quicker players in the wing forward positions. Glen matched this with James Hurwood and Bradley Sneddon dropping
into wing back positions with Paul Mackintosh and Donald Fraser down the
centre. James Hurwood had an excellent half, putting in excellent tackles as required:
Bradley Sneddon played well in parts too though there were occasions when he
was caught out by intelligent Kingussie forward play. Both Donald Fraser and
Paul Mackintosh played Kevin Thain and Michael Clark well in this half but the
Glen’s centreline and forward play was a disappointment and it was clear
that only a massive improvement would get Glen back in the game.
Kingussie 4 Glenurquhart 1
Sadly things went downhill right at the start of the second half when
keeper David MacFadyen gave away a penalty by kicking the ball. Kingussie’s Kevin
Thain then scored from the spot and as a result Glen found it doubly hard to
get back into the game from that point. To attempt to rectify the situation the
Glen management made some positional changes, with Duncan Fraser doing extremely
well when he came on first at full forward, then at half back. Liam Robertson too
injected energy into the Glen forward line. Sadly however Glen lost another
poor goal through slack defending half way through the second half before a
spell of nice shinty resulted in a well taken goal from Jack Hosie. Thain scored
another goal four minutes from the end which put a flattering gloss on the result from the Kingussie perspective
but by this point the game was well beyond retrieval.
As always there are lessons to be learned but given other results in
this division genuine second teams are going to find it a difficult season
against recognised first teams. What makes it trickier is that they can come up
against second teams that can call on senior players with experience at the
very highest level. It is to be hoped that sides do not beef up their squads unreasonably in such circumstances.
Glen now find themselves in that situation on Saturday when they are due
to face Beauly and they have options to use at least seven senior players
because the Lochaber game is off. No doubt
we’ll find out the line-up on the Saturday but lets hope that common sense prevails.
In the absence of Neil Paterson the “D” can offer only a few poor
home-made pics. The WHFP has a double page spread of pics about which a word of
caution. While the report on the match is balanced and fair the pics are
selected and captioned to reflect a parallel West Highland shinty universe.
Almost without exception they illustrate a Shiel player besting his Glen opponent:
if the Wing Centre hadn’t been at the game himself, he would have worried about