Sunday, September 25, 2005

Skye’s Limit or Why Did They Leave The Island ?

Strathglass 7 Skye 1
Strathglass were 3-0 up through Gary Reid before I even reached the field at Cannich. What more can I say ? Well I did say plenty. “It looks like the Portree High School under 16 squad they have out there” was one remark. Nobody disagreed .
The crowd were interested in the result but being that the game was dead and interred in the first ten minutes there was nothing left of interest except to wonder at the length of time it took for the tea queue to go down. I’m sure I looked across four times in 15 minutes and the same group of patient attendees was waiting at the window. In the end I didn’t bother.
The next interest was in blethering. I met Jimmac. He was good crack as always. Strathglass were five up at the time.
“It’s an awful shame for Strathglass,” I said with a wink to Jimmac.
The Glasaich all turned to listen. Jimmac was keen for a wind-up too.
“How’s that?”
“Well they’re winning so easily -but in the end it’s all pointless-a waste of effort”
The Glasaich were more interested now.
“They’re going to come over to Drum for the last game of the season and most likely deserve to win but one of our wingcentres will score a fluke- and that’ll be it. No promotion.”
Jimmac laughed.
“Not a bloody chance “ said the Glasaich. Not a great riposte but probably an accurate one. It is however, nice to wind up , undermine and destabilise Despite the pleasant feeling which comes along with the attempt you cannot really wind up supporters who have an expectation of winning. That’s what the Strathglass supporters are like these days.
By this stage Gary Reid had converted a penalty. His goal No1 and No 2 were good goals: his goal No1 was even better. Not that anyone had seen it . He scored it in 17 seconds.
The penalty was well taken as was his fifth. Who did he think he was? Ronald Ross?
Strathglass were strong and determined. They gave Skye nothing in the way of chances even to dwell on the ball although it was clear that some of the Skye players when they had the time could do nice things with the ball- that is do nice things indeed but not , definitely not score. I especially like Donald Fraser at full back. A long hitter, an excellent tackler : when he runs for the ball-though I don’t go much for his athletic style-he certainly gets it. And his reading of the game as it feeds on to his position in front of the D is at the level he is playing at least superb. Would he handle Gary McPherson, or Thain or Ronald Ross. I don’t think so- but then I don’t know anyone who can except perhaps Naouaidh from Skye who wasn’t playing. He was at a wedding or a sheep’s funeral or something but truth to tell he was concerned for the result for he phoned DR several times in the course of the match only to be told the sad truth. The lads were losing
Gary Reid scored a fifth and the teams came off at half-time. I paced the line, spoke to a few neutrals, observed Robert Geddes make an unfortunate change. I felt so anyway. He took off young James Ross and moved Lee Bain forward from midfield. Lee’s move was OK but why take off young Ross? He’s the sort of young player that would benefit from a full game. Perhaps Robert was chasing goals to sort out the goal difference problem that they may or may not have to face in their bid to overcome Kyles Athletic in the race for the poisoned chalice of Premier League promotion. If so then perhaps he should have taken off himself. Churlish thought? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
I set off round the field and passed some time in the company of first Russell Ross and then Ally Rothe. The Blue Charm was in the top corner by the fence holding court : I don’t thing he was watching the match which showed how dead it was as a contest.
The Skye goalie was an older chap-Gibb- an Argyll man and he played well enough as did young Nicholson at half back and Stevie Morrison but Strathglass were too physical for them. Robert Geddes finally got a goal all to himself.
At this point I moved on to speak to DR. That was when I learned that Naouaidh was calling him on the mobile for the latest info. DR was not happy. Despite that he was witty as usual.
“How many players are missing” I asked , allowing him to plead the traditional excuse of all losing teams.
“Twelve” he said.
The truth is he was fed up of the way the boys were playing. The team were drifting : indeed the club was drifting. They appeared to have a nice bunch of players but they needed coaching and the adult game in the Island had fallen away. He could point to having at one time the possibility of four adult teams in different parts of the Island and while they had a grip on the game at Primary level, the next lot were struggling. Maybe football was in the way- certainly some guys could not play away from home. But given that Skye was an Island with 10,000 people living on it, how on earth could a team like Strathglass marshal the resources to outfox them . It was daft. I agreed.
It shouldn’t be happening but it was.
Kenny Macleod got a goal back for Skye- I don’t know what it was like since I was talking to DR at the time. Then Gary Read scored again for Strathglass: I was still talking to DR so I missed that too. The whistle blew ; I walked across the field , said hello to Roy who was happy and went home. Then I was sick.

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