Saturday, June 18, 2005

Big pool full of small fish?

I observe that the North pool is out for the representative matches in July and this after Fraser asked me to keep it quiet till next week . He told me on the phone- I wrote the names down in a scrawly shorthand - and I confess to a little surprise. Well I certainly kept it quiet but truth to tell someone else did not. Fraser himself - who can tell? Why did he want it quiet-I don’t know. Just as well somebody released it though because I seem to have lost the original piece of paper on which I noted down Fraser’s confidences.
What do I think of it- I’m impressed as I always would be that Ronald Ross has decided to commit to the fray. Being the best shinty player in shinty’s parishes by a golden mile, any Scottish side which omits Ronald is simply not the best. Trouble is that for the last two seasons Ronald has omitted himself.
This season so far he has scored 29 goals- and the season is nowhere near halfway yet- as for previous seasons why then his record can -to remint a cliché-converse on its own behalf. Take a swatch at this batch:
1994-5 65 goals
1995-6 71 goals
1996-7 83 goals
1997-8 81 goals
1998-9 62 goals
1999-0 53 goals
2000-1 64 goals
2001-2 37 goals
2002-3 94 goals

In the interim season Ronald played in midfield and his ability to put the ball into the net was obviously affected by that. In the first full summer campaign he was not so prolific having carried injury for large parts of the season- and no wonder because he is a prime target for defenders. I used to say he inhabited a peculiarly Highland heart of darkness but then I think I am being unfair. He is fouled so often because he is to efficient at scoring. He can protect himself well but silly frustration and perhaps lack of awareness of the wider good of shinty makes some guys reckless. I don’t know-I would have done it myself but that doesn’t make it right.
What about the rest of the guys- well Gary Innes, Gordy Mackinnon excellent. Where is Ally Macleod of Kingussie? I agree Norman Campbell Newtonmore and Aonghus Macdonald, Skye- a superb full back. John Stewart Kilmallie -certainly. Kenny Ross from Lochcarron Ok but I would have had Iain Mackenzie too ,though I always feel he’s a guy whose promise has remained simply and merely that. He is still a talented player but I am not sure he pays his way to the extent his ability suggests he should. What about the custodian in charge of the safety of the net-brave members of the hail keeping fraternity. Who are they? Stewart Mackintosh? Andrew Borthwick? No but I see Scott MacNeil. Steven Cameron, Glengarry is a fair player but also fair game.
Barry Macdonald , Beauly? Certainly he scores goals and 18 goals in any league is good- you see how hot Ronald really is- and anyone who can get a positive mention in the West Highland Free Press for scoring a goal in extra time that puts Skye out of the Camanachd Cup (and on the “Park of Heroes” itself ) well that guy gets my vote for a representative start.
Victor Smith is Captain - I agree- but Strathglass should have got someone in the side and also Glenurquhart- I would back John Barr against anyone in the centreline.
I also feel there needs to be a greater Newtonmore presence- even a Lovat representative. Don’t you wish James Gallagher would take the game seriously for just one season?
Here’s the pool-see what you think.

International Trial Match
North Senior Team to play the South at Spean Bridge on July 9th, 2005

Ronald Ross Kingussie
Norman Campbell Newtonmore
Darren Coyle Lochcarron
Angus Mackay Lochcarron
Kenny Ross Lochcarron
Gregor Cushnie Lochcarron
Lachie Campbell Lochaber Camanachd
Neill MacNiven Kilmallie
John Stewart Kilmallie
Neil Robertson Fort William
Gary Innes Fort William
Victor Smith Fort William
Gordie Mackinnon Fort William
Scott McNeil Fort William
Barrie Macdonald Beauly
Steven Cameron Glengarry
Aonghas Macdonald Skye Camanachd

Fraser MacKenzie (Manager)
Ali Ferguson (Asst. Manager)
Neil Bowman (Trainer)

Still that’s why guys like Fraser pick a squad- so that guys like me can have a debate about it. Good luck to him.
What would be a step forward however would be for each division in shinty to have its representative side and perhaps the Scottish representative sides take on some Irish representative sides at International level.
Now that would really deepen the pool- and perhaps the fish might grow to fit it.

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