Saturday, April 22, 2006

“Huzun” or How soon are the Glen going to win a game?

That was the MacTavish Cup that was

Glenurquhart 1 Kinlochshiel 2

I could hardly believe this result . I watched the game and waited until Monday until I could read about it in the Herald. Then I decided to hold my peace until I read the WHFP on Thursday. Now it’s confirmed : after reading the West Highland I now know the game never happened-at least the game that they reported though I did like the snaps.
My impression- Glenurquhart have a little way to go. Scoring goal would be a start.
In fact it would be a lot more than a start. Kinlochshiel were more robust, quicker, fancier on the ball but to no real avail- truth to tell. Some nice running: two or three superb stick players but no real goal scorer. But then neither have we -though the youngsters up front need a little more self confidence.
I have spent the rest of the week rather like the dispossessed of the Ottoman Empire- a week of looking at old Glen pictures and remembering the glory days of old Glen teams . Even photos when old Glen teams had a cup in front of them. “Who won the Strathdearn in 1977 ?” shouted out Billy Reid in the “Blar” on Saturday night. I know exactly what he meant.
There is also a remembrance of a day when a game against Kinlochshiel was a game that was guaranteed to be won. The sense is as Orhan Pamuk says in his work on the history of Istanbul is of “huzun”- that word from the Koran suggestive of longing or loss for a day that is past. Indeed I shall post such a picture as will evoke that sense if the machine will upload it. I fear it will not.
So where does all that take us- a well taken opening goal from Lewis Maclennan in 10 minutes , a weak counter in the very next minute from Michael Morrison and then in 75 minutes a penalty. The ball was kicked : Gordon Macdonald scored it neatly and that was it. My observation was that the Glen came back strongly and attempted to snatch an equaliser at the end of the match but failed to do so : the WHFP was at a different match.
So tell me where did it all go wrong? Defence sound enough but perhaps under pressure failing to lump the ball long enough. Centreline perhaps not athletic enough to counter a very good ‘Shiel centreline but also being sucked back to help the defenders clear. Forwards out-muscled by a more aggressive defence. Perhaps the guys need to go to weight training but perhaps on the other hand young players need a little more protection though in my heart of hearts perhaps they simply need to move the ball quicker and take less time on it.
Shinty/hurling makes guys aware of how necessary it is to get to the ball first because if they don’t get it first they simply don’t get it. It’s more than a bit like that with pure shinty and the truth is that Kinlochshiel were often to the ball first. Result our guys couldn’t get it. Odd times the front boys were on the ball they got barged off but then perhaps they were holding on to it too much and on a poorish surface too. Sometimes I think that the perfection of the Astroturf where every bounce is true does not help the Glen. Then I tell myself to shut up.
So with Andrew Corrigan off with the flu and John Barr for some reason marooned up in the front row , we have a full range of excuses but now three games have been lost by the odd goal. This is a team which played well in National Division 1- and took points off Kyles, Ballachulish and Glenorchy. Is the shinty better or is the team less confident? The answers are no and yes : the shinty is also different. It appears more hit than carry. There is little time on the ball and the idea is to move the ball rather than work it forward in the way last year’s opponents attempted.
So where do we go from here? Forward I hope : the guys know what they have to do - and a little re-jigging of the positions might make a big difference.
Still it was nice to see Keith & Albert Loades, Johnston Gill, Ellie Maclean, Willie Macrae and all the ‘Shiel old timers. They have a strong community spirit and some excellent players who are that little bit more effective than ours. I wish them well except for the next game we play which is all too soon!

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