Friday, September 08, 2017

Travelling on the train facing backwards

If you have ever tried to book seat no 51 on a train and you look it up on the website it can’t really tell you if you’ve got your back to the engine or not because-and here’s the obvious part-they don’t know how the carriage is to be coupled up to the train. It might be this way or that way-there’s no back or front to a railway carriage. Except there is, as you quickly find out if the seat no 51 you have booked happens to have its back to the engine and you prefer to look at the rain whilst facing forward. Anyway travelling on a train facing backwards is just about how it feels to support Glenurquhart in the Premiership this season with the additional delight of realising that the experienced crew have all clocked off their shifts or been sacked sometime in the middle of the journey and left the locomotive heading where….?
We will find out soon enough but some of the kids who have come on to the train are pretty good although they have had to grow up pretty fast. 
At one point earlier in the season this Glen side were good enough to beat Lovat 5-0 and now that same Lovat squad have slipped almost unnoticed into the Camanachd Cup final where, with a bit of improved commitment and self-belief from two more of their forwards, they could almost justify a new pavilion.
If the Wing-Centre was ever a betting man, he would not bet on this game. He won’t have to watch it however because on that very afternoon the Glen will be staging their own big day out when they play in a fixture which predates even the Camanachd Cup- the challenge match with Strathglass and that must always take precedence.
If truth be told the game that disappointed most was the 4-3 away loss to Lovat back in July. Glen rode their luck most of the first half but then thanks to an excellent strike from youngster Oliver Black and two from Frostie Macpherson-the second one is candidate for goal of the season- we were going in to the last 10 minutes ahead. Then John Barr was sent off for a second yellow based on a foul which the referee imagined rather than saw.

With the Glen reduced to 11 men, Lovat pressed on and scored twice, the second coming with the final hit of the game. Apart from making a comment about the over enthusiastic celebrations from some of the tenants of Macshimi there is plenty more which could be written about that game but it’s pointless:
our situation is not due to that occasion but to a number of other matches which we have lost by the odd goal.
There were plenty points to be had but they weren’t picked up when they should have been. A crazy 3-2 loss to Lochaber at home when Glen were 2-0 ahead at one stage was another self-inflicted wound. However as well as self-inflicted wounds there were many others which were not: knee injuries to Jamie Maclennan, John Peteranna and Ewan Carroll played havoc with the second team and so these players were unable to step up.
Then there were suspensions -on the back of some (though not always) dodgy bookings which left the Glen short for crucial games. A serious injury to Euan Lloyd –and other less explainable absences have not helped but it has been the loss of John Barr -as well as the fact that he has at times this season struggled with injury -which has undone the Glen.

With the exception of Ronald Ross, there was hardly a player in the country who could get past him when he was in his prime: he has also been an exceptional servant to the game. Captain of his club and his country John has talked youngsters through matches for a decade-he has been one of the most consistently focused and effective players in the entire sport over that time. Apart from Ronald, perhaps Dannie Macrae and John Stewart are the two other players who had the physical power to stand shoulder to shoulder with John. Of the recent crop of forwards certainly only ‘Shiel’s John Macrae has the physical strength to compete with him throughout the full 90 minutes.

Here we are then- not in a cup final (though both sides did make semis this season) and in a parlous position re points. Yet on the upside there are youngsters coming through despite it all. Despite it all in fact says it all. This is possibly however a debate which can be had at a better time.
There have been downs clearly but there have been ups. Thank goodness for our girls’ squad because both Hazel Hunter and Ishbel Barr have bailed out the second team. Indeed Hazel has also been on hand to bail out the top squad if needed.

Whatever happens by the time the season closes –win or lose, up or down-the Glen will keep on keeping on. Always.

Thanks to Sheena Lloyd for all pics – also thanks to Neil Paterson for the snap of John as winning Scotland captain.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Snapping to it for posterity

There have been times over the last few months when the “D” was resting, that this scribe set to making a list of iconic shinty photos which he would take with him to a desert island if he were ever to be sent there with some chosen music, the Good Book and the Complete Works of Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Brus.
Tops amongst them will always be that picture of Billy. Everyone who is from the Glen knows that picture – and they will for all time remember exactly just where they were when that pic of a boy called Urquhart from a Glen called Urquhart holding some broken stuff did its viral soar into the world’s headlines.

But there have been a few other ones that caught the attention- and they are not just the team photos. 
One that popped up after the Marine Harvest awards was a snap depicting the only two Glen defenders to have managed to get a hold of these two Newtonmore guys since the early 1980s. 
Siobhan and Deb probably were able to mark Brick and Mack tighter than Ali Mac or Angus MacInnes ever did back in the day, but then they’re both old grandpas now and can’t run so fast- though it’s doubtful if they actually tried on this occasion.

Whatever, it’s a lovely cheery photo- and deserves a place in the Glen shinty scrapbook though one guesses the ladies of Badenoch won’t be quite so keen- and if any of these Badenoch ladies don't believe the boys' story that the gals were Glen Shinty players, here is the proof.

Then there is the President. 
He has been playing in goals recently – and when the Wing Centre went to watch him in training on the Astro the other night, it was clear he has a superb eye for the ball. This was a gift which was not too apparent when he took part in the pre-season trip to Cabers. That afternoon wasn’t a great one for the Glenners because the world’s greatest National League player scored four times. 

Turned out however that the President had left his desk in a hurry and forgotten to take his specs with him. Now he always packs them along with his Litesome Support- and it has to be said the difference is amazing. Skye’s Danny Morrison could only get the ball past him by resorting to a sneaky flicking manoeuvre. Anything else was simply smashed away- and if Kilmallie supremo Mark MacPherson was quoted accurately in the P & J- and granted that is a big IF- Gazza had a good game between the sticks despite the driving rain testing the anti-mist properties of his speuclairean.

True he was beaten twice by the Rodger brothers- both good enough players though in the Wing Centre’s estimation Sunny still remains the greatest Rodger athlete. But that might just be bias because he played for the Town. 

But what about this album snap of Lloydie taken on the same Saturday when the Glen gave Kilmallie a “Frostie” welcome back into the Premiership. The young man is just minding his business out on the side of the field trying to knock the ball as far away from the President as he can- so far so good.

But just see how those chicks are looking at him. It must make his mum wonder if she dare let him out on his own. He's just playing shinty- not auditioning for a gig with the Chippendales. It makes you wonder why they weren't looking at the President in the same way.

Anyway- back to the opening game of the season. The 4-2 result takes the Glen alphabetically to the top of the table. Heady stuff- and yet before the match started what with the pounding rain in Drum- yours truly had been wondering if the game would go ahead out west. Now maybe Kilmallie would wish it had not taken place but there is no doubt about it- from the start they were up for it.

Indeed it was Michael Rodger who gave Kilmallie the lead midway through the first half but that was quickly cancelled out by a smashing strike from Callum Smith which brought the sides level just before the break.

In the second half a nice strike from Duncan Rodger put Kilmallie back in front before James "Frostie" Macpherson did well to chase down a ball that looked to be going out and bring the sides back to scoreline equality with a fine strike. Two further attempts which involved first class shooting from the tightest of angles allowed the Glen front-man to complete his hat-trick that knocked the resolve out of a Kilmallie side that might have hoped to open their campaign with a home win.

Sheena's pic? The goal-scoring chap was moving so fast that was the only opportunity to get him in frame.

Still words of caution to the Glen- one win does not a successful summer make – but depending on what players Mr Macleod has for each contest, there is reason to keep positive and motivated.
And iconic shinty pictures? There are bound to be a few other crackers from the snappers.
Thanks to Neil Paterson and Sheena Lloyd for the most obvious shinty pics- for Billy and for the party snap thanks to Anon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The waiting game is finally over - at least for the Glen.

In the end the Glen made it over the line to Premiership safety with a fine 3-1 home win over Kingussie, a hard fought 2-2 draw in the pouring rain down in Lochaber and a just about worth it 0-0 even stevens of a game at home against Kyles. It was a close run thing - but then it was a close run thing for every other team in the league apart from the top four. At all times during the last few nervous weeks despite the many siren voices saying “You’ll be all right now” this writer never really believed the Glen were totally safe until the Skyemen having beaten Kingussie 2-1 at home uncharacteristically shipped a pile of goals away to Kinlochshiel. It dented their goal difference but made it certain that the Glen who had at that stage a pretty poor goal differential themselves were no longer vulnerable.
So what’s to remember from these last few horrible weeks? For one thing Conor Golabeck put in a tremendous display against Kingussie to snatch two of the three goals that mattered. 
His first half strike through a crowd of players put the Glen ahead but after Thomas Borthwick equalised before the break the game could have got away from the Glen at any point until Golabeck got a second 13 mins from time. Neale Reid banged in a final one just on the full time whistle and it has to be said that was a crucial game in which to pick up both points ,given the way both were chucked away in the earlier fixture at the Dell.

The Lochaber game was however the one which was most closely contested. On that particular Saturday, the Glen had been hit by the perfect storm. Stuart Mackintosh and David Smart injured and out for the season; James Hurwood injured; Lewis Maclennan on the Isle of Muck and John Barr somewhere between Texas and Norway - it was a wonder the Glen were able to field a worthwhile squad. However into the breach stepped Ross MacAulay, James “Frosty” Macpherson and Rory Maclean.

What happened? Neale Reid put the Glen ahead early in the match only for Kevin Ferguson to equalise with a fortunate goal which hit keeper Iain Macleod on the chest and flew up into the roof of the net. Then we were in a dog-fight of an old fashioned kind but the main ingredient in our success is that Andrew Corrigan having put in some training was just about able to match Shaun Nicholson for pace and that made a huge difference and the game reached half time at 1-1.

Lochaber started the stronger after the break and went in front after 53 minutes with a good finish from Stuart Callison, however our poor marking had allowed the opportunity. Glen responded in the right fashion with an excellent equaliser a minute later. A long ball down the wing was gathered by Corrigan at pace and he fired the ball into the middle to be met by Frosty Macpherson who cracked a great shot first time into the roof of the net. The boy can certainly finish.

There was no further scoring and the game finished 2-2. Glen certainly needed something from the game and in the end got a most valuable point and could perhaps have left with both although a draw was probably a fair result. The quality of shinty was patchy, but the game was played in torrential conditions at times so some allowance can be made. In terms of effort and commitment and bearing in mind the absence of key personnel it was one of the Glen’s better performances against a side that showed its quality earlier in the season by taking Newtonmore all the way in the MacTavish final.
The last game of the season and the first game of October was the Kyles game and the Glen were still not safe. The list of injured absentees remained the same as before, though this week at least John Barr returned to the fold.

On the down side however Mike Brady was working and unavailable while Andrew Corrigan was called off shore on the morning of the game and Euan Lloyd was still suffering with a leg injury from the Lochaber game and was only fit to be on the bench.

The managers had tried using Fraser Heath as a man marker on Roddy MacDonald down in Kyles earlier in the season but as Roddy scored four goals that day, it could reasonably be assumed to be an unsuccessful tactic. The decision was made therefore to use Connor Golabeck at half back in this game, albeit conscious of the fact that with Corrigan also being absent there was bound to be a lack of pace in the forward line. Fraser Heath was moved to wing centre to play against Robbie MacLeod, who had also caused us problems away from home while Ally Mackintosh dropped back to wing back and Billy Urquhart and Frosty Macpherson started up front.

This was a game short in highlights though Kyles had the better of the first half but the Glen defence played very well indeed. Kyles had negated the man marking tactic by neglecting to bring Roddy MacDonald with them, which may have been just as well although Golabeck certainly had a very effective game. However the Glen struggled to create many meaningful chances up front and replaced Billy Urquhart who had been struggling with the pace of the game, with Finlay Ralston after 25 minutes. The youngster did fine but didn’t get many opportunities against a strong defence with Donald Irvine at full back and Callum Miller at half back giving little away.
At half time it was 0-0

In the second half Finlay was replaced with Euan Lloyd coming on at wing centre and Fraser Heath moving to full forward to try and increase our goal threat. This did cause a reasonable amount of ball up front and all the forwards worked hard but it is doubtful if the Kyles keeper had a save of note. There were periods in the 2nd half when we were under pressure and both the centre line and our forwards were dropping too deep to try and win the ball. The defence played well throughout: keeper Iain Macleod was tidy and cleared his lines smartly. John Barr was his usual effective self, Ally Mackintosh and Conor Golabeck also played well while Lachie Smith had a great game, fearless in the tackle and capable of great hitting. The centre line, apart from dropping too deep, worked hard but truthfully the Glen were exposed by a lack of pace up front which definitely blunted any goal threat. The game finished 0-0.

Afterwards there was disappointment that two points had been passed up though the single gained could have been a vital requirement for continued Premier status. The Glen were however in no way completely safe from the threat of relegation especially since Skye had beaten Kingussie 2-1 on the same afternoon. In the end it worked out all right though when Sandy Mackenzie knocked the ball home for Kyles late in the second half it was just as well for the Glen that he had strayed off-side.

Nothing however will make up for the loss of the Strathdearn. How on earth did that happen? Having come through to the final after a difficult game with Kingussie - Cameron Maclennan had an excellent afternoon and Kevin Thain missed a late penalty - we should have been better on the day than we were.
The lads had a great deal of pressure in the first half having given away a silly opening goal and when Frosty Macpherson snatched an equaliser before the break that should have  been our ticket back into the game.

It wasn’t.

A speculative shot from distance gave the Caranachs the lead and while the Glen were still in confusion two more goals followed. Bitter disappointment all round- and to rub salt in the wounds Lochcarron were unable to field a team for their last home match. They missed out on their final match too but that was due to Lochaber.
After that loss the Glen defaulted to a 7-0 defeat at Newtonmore - about five goals too many but then bounced back with a 4-0 home win over Beauly. There we got off to a lucky start when a ball which was going wide was deflected in by Beauly veteran Sandy Tulloch. It was cruel on Sandy who played well for the rest of the match- and if his side had taken their chances then they could have been in the frame for an away win. However that honour lay with the Glen largely thanks to some delicate stick play by Jed Stoddard. He bravely went into the danger zone and took the hit to nick home his first counter – and then with the most delicate of touches picked up a second. The fourth goal however was the best of the afternoon. A neat bit of interplay saw Calum Miller blast home the best –struck goal he has scored since the rasper he struck against ‘Shiel in our promotion winning season. There may have been others but that is the one the Wing Centre remembers. The other moment of note in the Beauly game was the appearance of Hazel Hunter on the right wing. She did what was required and showed good movement and the ability to move the ball quickly which is all that is needed in any player at any time.

Next up were Fort William- and they were defeated 1-0 thanks to a little error by their keeper “Ginge” Walker who allowed youngster Finlay Ralston to nick a first half goal. 
That apart the game was very even with Mr Walker redeeming himself courtesy of several excellent saves while at the other end Cameron Maclennan pulled off an excellent stop from Victor Smith (jun). 
The game also saw Zoe Smith put in a nice performance on the wing for Fort while Paul Bamber also made a return in the Gearasdan colours.   
Best for the Glen by a mile however was buckshee back Lachie Smith whose timing and long hitting was second to none.

So both teams ended up mid-table with no cups to show for a hard season’s work. After what the Glen have become used to recently it has to go down as a disappointing season - but then again some youngsters have come into the squads - and some have shown the character to progress and there is always next season. Can hardly wait!!

For the pictures thanks go to Sheena Lloyd and for some of the Fort snaps, to Ian Cochrane. Particularly love the one of the “subs” bench and of the crowd.

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Friday, September 09, 2016

The Glen makes its Annual Cup Final Appearance and the “D” almost never noticed.

Now that the nights are drawing in, it’s finally time for the “D-Meister” to get back to keeping out of it. Actually not quite true. Had the Glen - the black and reds as the Courier calls them - actually played up to expectations then the Wing Centre would have fired out the stuff on a regular weekly basis.
However it’s not quite so simple to find words of easy humour when the situation does not lend itself to any sort of light-hearted approach. It’s the same with the performance of Andy Murray. In fact if the “D” was on Twitter - heaven forbid-yours truly would have created the weareallandymurraynow# so Glenurquhart techies could empathise with each other ‘cos there is no doubt that that guy from Dunblane is the Glenurquhart of tennis. In truth though the “D-Meister” thinks it’s the other way round - it’s simply that the Glenurquhart Club is the Andy Murray of shinty.  Not only that but the crowd is always against him too- just like they are with the Glen.
Thank goodness that at least there will be no sound system at Castle Leod tomorrow and after this odd insectless summer the chances of being distracted by a butterfly are also pretty remote.
Newtonmore - definitely the Djokovic of shinty egged on by a wee McEnroe good luck charm. And Kingussie?

Let’s leave that right there because Kingussie are about to arrive in the Glen with their first team for a game that dare not speak its name - and though Big Bad Bill in the P&J says they are short of players like Savio and Lee , no one in the Glen believes a word he says. It’s a fair bet that all the Moshi Monsters from the high country will be there - and we definitely won’t have Stuart Mackintosh because he is supposed to take wee Hamish out for a walk since they apparently both need the exercise.
So who will be the goalie? Billy Macleod certainly could do the job once upon a time as could Garry Mac - also once upon a time. Camino Maclennan can do the job in real time but he must be available for the Strathdearn final over the hill and across the fields at Spatown. 

The answer is that your guess is as good as the Wing Centre’s and truth be told that guess will be as good as the guess of the two Glen Supremos Bill & Dave. Still they are old hands at this pick and patch now since they have had to do it all season. The first thought that comes to this scribe’s mind is that they have not had a full set of players to pick from since the Glen played Northern California in Central Park or somewhere.
But even that is not true. In the only really tough game outside this Strathdearn experience the Glen edged a fine result over an excellent Lochside Rovers team in the Sutherland thanks to two goals from young Master Connor Golabeck who really should have been stateside on the day. That day however some sort of belief came into the team and a sort of corner had been turned.
In the Strathdearn round following that, the Glenners  managed to beat Glengarry up at “Parc des Midges” by 3 goals to 2. Yours truly was present on that occasion and it has to be said that the Glen youngsters played well enough surviving a few early scares but three first half goals from James “Frosty” made the difference in the end. They were all well struck “raspers” which gave the Garry keeper no real chance. He might have had several more on the day but why be greedy?

Then it was over to Braeview where Marc MacLachlan got a hat-trick for the Beaulacs but incredibly he lost because the Glen scored 4-through very early strikes by Fin Robertson, and Calum “Rhino” Miller supported by two other late first half goals by Frosty (see a theme here?) and Daniel Mackintosh. 
Then the Glen proceeded to hold on till the final whistle while Beauly threw everything forward including veteran Rodger Cormack to no avail. Their shooting on the day was so wild that it is no wonder the Community Council is inundated with complaints from the householders about balls going in the garden. 
 Bet you it’s a topic on the “Beauly Discussions” Facebook page but strength to the elbows of Murph and his Men. You keep putting the ball in those gardens. 
Thankfully those who whine about the beastly locals and their indolent Highland ways on the “Drumnadrochit Discussions” FB page live too far away from the shinty field to get exercised about Frosty’s powerful shooting. Don’t get the D-Meister wrong, a lot of Frosty’s shots are gloriously accurate and hard - though making Ally McAdam pull off a wonder save for Strath last week was hardly fair. It just made the rest of the Glasaich feel bad about how far they have yet to go.
No the thing about the Frost is that at times he is not the sort of man to miss an opportunity to…..well miss an opportunity. 
Apart from irritating John Cameron’s bulls in Sandy Whyte’s field with several flashing drives two of which hit the Highlander - who was not amused and meant the ball was left in the field - there was one shot-taken from a narrow angle from the bowling green side against Kingussie, that the Wing Centre found inside the fence up at Cnoc an Burra.
To be fair, the big fellow got four goals against the Fort in the next round and was helped by an even bigger fellow Calum Smith who hit one while Cairn Urquhart got the other.

In the semi, Kingussie came to Drum. It was in a way a reversal of the Sutherland semi where they beat the Glen 2-1 on the Bught thanks to goals from Roddy Young and Kevin Thain. 
This time in Drum, Roddy again took his chance but Kevin for some inexplicable reason did not. Meanwhile the Frostachan had scored two early goals but the rest of the front men - and whisper it the man himself - missed enough chances for the Glen to have been comfortably 5 ahead before Kevin missed his chance.
 Perhaps Dame Fortune also smiled when Ronaldo suffered a recurrence of his ankle injury, though perhaps also the great man’s heart had sunk “Andy-Murray” fashion after Camino pulled off three superb saves from his strikes at goal. 
Anyway a win is a win and let’s hope the top team pick one up tomorrow against the big Kings as well.

Whatever, we are into the final of the Strathdearn and Frosty appears to have scored 29 goals according to the Camanachd stats page this season including 10 in the Strathdearn. He needs to get some more on Saturday - and only then will he be upsides with his dad who won a ‘Dearn medal back in 1977.

Interestingly, for those with an eye on the pub quiz, Stuart Reid will also be trying to keep up with his dad since Mr. Reid himself picked up a winner’s medal back then too.

Good luck to Chrissie and all the lads.

Thanks also go to Sheena Lloyd for all the pics except this one of the girls (lifted from the Club website) picking up their training jackets which have been sponsored by our old friend Donnie at Nodram. 

N. B.    The girls seem to have put their initials on them so they know who they belong to. The guys , it appears, just pick them up sniff them and they know immediately who the jacket belongs to. Strange, the little differences between men and women.



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Friday, May 27, 2016

Rounding up…and then sounding off

If there has been a reason for holding back with the pen and ink it’s probably been the form of the Glen this season in the various competitions-though some recent matches have given cause for hope. However, there are many more things to write about in the shinty world without reporting on games that cause personal and community distress - and as herself says “winning isn’t everything” though actually she is wrong there.
New York has been and gone - the experience left two or three memorable pics. One of these was of the team and the other was of Dixie Maclennan at what might in another century have been the sack of Rome. 

The favourite in this household however is the snap of Smudger with Officer Dibble. Officer D is a big lad but he’s standing on the pavement and Smudger is on the street. I think S is telling him that he is under arrest.

Apart from that the most important action of recent times has been the 2-0 home win against Lochaber. It was a tight game. The Glen - strengthened by the return of international forward Fraser Heath - made their usual whirlwind start but were unable to find their way past the stuffy Lochaber defence thanks largely to goalkeeper Callum Macdonald and full-back Lachlan Campbell. Lochaber gradually grew into the game and by half time had a slight edge in midfield though their forwards were unable to get much change out of a Glen defence where John Barr and Lewis Maclennan were dominant.
 It has to be said also that both Lachie Smith and James Hurwood put in excellent performances in the backline for the second week in a row.
However, with defences on top it was always going to take something fortuitous or special to break the deadlock and David Smart’s first-time strike following a long David Maclennan shy could be placed in both categories. Suffice to say it came slightly against the balance of play at the time. With Lochaber pressing hard for the equaliser, there was always space to be found in their defence and when Conor Golabek produced an opportunist finish in 86 minutes the vital points were finally secured for the Glen.

Lochaber were disappointed no doubt but they have a MacTavish Cup final to look forward to in June - and if their forwards can do something and believe in themselves a bit they have a chance. The formbook doesn’t give them much support but then again in a cup game anything can happen provided you make it happen.

For the Glen, the absence of the team from the MacTavish final for the first time in four years is a disappointment but injuries and absences haven’t helped with a settled side-though to be fair the same is true of other sides.
The loss in the MacAulay against Skye was another daft Saturday. Looking back at the game and bearing in mind the natural tendency of the supporter to see the match through the eyes of his own team it is still difficult to take in that the guys were unable to at least take the match to extra time given the amount of pressure they had in the second half. Gannon did what he was supposed to do one supposes - and if any consolation can be taken from the result it is that it at least cheered up former Glenner Davie MacVicar.

Sometimes we console ourselves that we are not bothered about the MacAulay because the final is on Games Day and we cannot play in it- but every few years Games Saturday does not coincide with the MacAulay’s big day and this was one of them. Now we will have to wait another four years for it to come round again.
For the seconds – goodness knows how Chrissie, Paul Mac and Hendo have managed it but wins against Lochside then Lochcarron in the Sutherland and against Glengarry in the Strathdearn are excellent though League form needs it all. 
The Wing Centre has seen all the matches and the thing that has made all the difference is the ability to take chances. Conor Golabek was on form in the first Sutherland match - how that boy worked against Lochside - but if 'Side's Keith MacMillan had not done in his knee and left the field then perhaps …..but then again ,who knows?

Against the Garry, James Macpherson got a hat-trick and Drew Maclennan also had a superb game. If they are both available for the Beauly match then who knows?

The Glengirls have had a mixed time in the big league as was expected - but they will get better. The last match against Strathspey was a close contest - and would have been closer if Hazel had not been taking lessons from the guys in how to miss a penalty. Still Ms H is the top scorer but Ishbel Barr, Hayley Hunter, Debbie Surtees and Abbie Stoddart have also scored. Provided they get a full squad together they can win their cup match v Fort William this weekend but like the men’s teams they will be missing some youngsters who will be off on the High School trip.

And all the above brought to you courtesy of the willing and hardworking  volunteers at the club who work hard to fund it all. Their latest actions resulted in a Gala Day and Disco in Blairbeg Hall.

The wider matters?
Here is one for a start- in all the fuss going on at the Bught over sports facilities with the rugby club being massively subsidised with new pitches and the nonsense of a proposed velodrome for the newly “sexy” cycling (mountain biking one can understand) is there any consideration being given to a refurb of the 1920s Bught Park Shinty stadium. No? Thought not. Unlike rugby players and cyclists, shinty players are ignorant lower class ‘oiks’ who can be safely ignored in official circles unless there is a call for anything quaintly highland to be on display. Time the Common Good Fund was raided.
And another?
There is no sponsor as yet for the Camanachd Cup. Not for the Wing Centre to wonder why RBS decided that iconic trophy was not for sponsoring. Perhaps they had been watching “Outlander” and decided the sport was too dangerous to back.  So where now?  With the Scottish Cup supported by the socially responsible William Hill betting chain and the Scottish League Cup funded by “Betfred” (what was the SFA thinking about? Money perhaps?), the Wing-Centre certainly hopes that Torquil will not be going down the Bookies to seek money. The message that Scottish football is sending out is appalling and shinty should certainly set a higher tone.
If nothing respectable turns up soon, Torquil should just give it to Marine Harvest who have been steadfast in their support for the game over numerous seasons. It’s time they got a little more bang for their bucks.
And while we are at it, what about a letter from the Camanachd President to that nice Mr Swinney now that he’s in charge of education to ask him what he intends to do to raise standards in shinty in all those schools in the shinty areas who ignore it and refuse to include it as part of their regular PE curriculum?
The fact that this sounds outrageous actually says it all.

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