Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Tale of Two Glens

From Glen to shining Glen
Glen Urquhart 3 Glen Orchy 2
Sat June 3rd 2005
Sounds like Brigadoon v Auchtermuchty. Would Canadians believe it- how it confirms the rubbish their emigrant Caledonian grandparents told them during the long Saskatchewan winter nights. Two Glens bursting with Scotties taking each other on in the ancient celtic sport-the indigenous sport as I am prone to call it.
Hurray for summer shinty-though to be fair this match which should have taken place in Argyll last week. Instead it went ahead in Glenurquhart this week on a pitch which though cut two days ago was already matted with daisies.
A superb athletic contest , bothy loads of good shinty, little touches , neat glances, glens of commitment, super goals ,bad temper ,losing the rag ,accusations of cheating and sheer passion or perhaps immature behaviour.
An opening goal nicked in by Lewis Maclennan -a genuine find this session -and the rest of the first half Glenurquhart pressure was simply eaten up by Alan Mackechnie at full back and his brother Graeme in the goals. Alan Mackechnie is blond, broad ,solidly built ,a superb hitter on both sides ,fully committed in the tackle and prone to take it all a little too seriously.
He gets roused when things don‘t go right. I should admire it but the ferocity of his paranoia makes me scared. He urges, shouts, claims everything for his side even when in his heart of hearts he must know that the other team have a stronger case. He is also very good at the little nudge on the forward before the ball comes- one would expect nothing more of ones own players- but when he is caught out at it which is rarely, he reacts as if he had done nothing at all. But then perhaps I am seeing things from the slopes of another Glen
A second goal for Glenurquhart came when a penalty was awarded by ref Calum Duff-pulling back of forward Ruaraidh Cameron being the offence. I imagine it was committed by Mackechnie but truthfully it could have been by anyone. John Barr rapped it past the goalkeeping Mackechnie brother low and into the corner and the game is over-right?
Well no - because Stewart Mackntosh in the Glenurquhart goal misjudges a long drive from Glen Orchy’s MacGregor and the match is back in contention . Not only that but it looks as if the goalkeeping Mackechnie would never be beaten by that sort of shot. Everything that has come on him he deals with calmly- stops the ball with feet or body and bangs it away up field or into touch.
Lewis Maclennan restores the gap with a blaster into the roof of the net but immediately afterwards Glenurquhart chop down a Glen Orchy forward : Calum Duff calls it a penalty. He is right. It is converted by Stewart MacGregor and we have to twenty minutes of wrath and fury from the Mackechnie brothers as they lift their game in an attempt to clinch an equaliser. By the last five minutes Glenurquhart are hanging on to their lead barely while Alan Mackechnie has run up front to snatch the winner. He plays like a man possessed- his brother has even left the goals and is encroaching on the buckshee position.
The whistle goes- Glenurquhart have won-but you know what its like when you come top in a game and you know you were lucky to win,for all that your guys played well. You start imagining that you deserved to win.
Still it is worse for Glen Orchy. They probably feel that they deserved to win and they probably also feel that they would have won if it wasn’t for the ref giving everything to Glenurquhart. What a delusion ! If it matters to you that much you need to get a life. I suspect that in the lives of shinty obsessives this is a good as it gets.
Whatever else is true Alan Mackechnie is the best full back I have seen since I last saw Hector Whitelaw- and I mean that as a compliment.
It is just that occasionally his intensity scares me.

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