A Trip too Farr.
Boleskine 2 Glenurquhart 2
Saturday 4th Feb
Not a serious cup match but the first warm up game of the season for the Glen second team-indeed for any Glen team. Its been a long time since a Drum side lifted camans in any fixture at all, although at the Hogmanay Festival a six a side tournament in memory of Zandra Mackintosh saw the Quaich going to Balnain .64 players turned out that day though some of them were lassies. Others, nominally of the male persuasion, also played like lassies.
There is no doubt that we have been deprived for too long of the sport of chiefs and that aching void has not been really helped by the massive amount which has happened in shinty’s little parish since the turn of the year. OK so Richard Tulloch took over from Graham D’Arcy as supremo in the office at Queen Anne House but the defining thing for the future of the game is that Camanachd Refs Director Johnny “Ach” Macrae died suddenly at the horribly early age of 50. Hugh Dan wrote a fine obit. in the Herald which paid appropriate tribute to John though why the photograph which was chosen to accompany it was selected for that honour is a puzzle. For Glen fans however there was some consolation in that the player chasing along side John and for my money beating him to the ball is none other than our own Vice Chieftain Peter English- though he is wearing the colours of Aberdeen Camanachd.
Anyway to Boleskine- it does not rhyme with moleskin- though to be fair there was evidence of activity by moles in some of the fields neighbouring Smith park which was brave of them since it was a cold ,sharp day which followed on from a period of bitter frost. Still a low winter sun dawned on our lot which made us stamp our feet somewhat and walk up and down the sidelines in an attempt to keep warm. The pitch however was excellent as is Boleskine’s website. Indeed it was so excellent I took the liberty of having a wee keek at it and they were most even handed in their treatment of the match. No doubt thanks to the generous nature of Al Chisholm whom I noticed not only sold raffle tickets but took down the names of the scorers and talked in a civil manner to all spectators.
The Glen opened strongly with what the Boleskine website called “their more experienced side, forcing Boleskine back into defence and it was no surprise when they opened the scoring in nine minutes through a thirty yard lob from Ally Macintosh” From our side we saw a young Glen side- Davie Stewart and Dave Emery respectively added some grey hairs to the defence-which worked a ball back to Ali Mackintosh who drove a rocket shot past the Boleskine keeper.
Glenurquhart went two up in the thirty first minute when Neil Macintosh scored from inside the D . Both Neil Mackintosh and Calum Miller were making space and creating chances though Garry Maclennan was having a superb game at full back and rescued his team mates on several occasions . On reflection of the play their two goal lead was deserved as the half came to a close.
After half time the play was more even, as the youthful Boleskine side starting to find their feet ,adjusting to the pace of the match and the longer the game went on the more they came into the game . In the seventy third minute Boleskine's Ewen Macdonald joined that rare group of Shinty players, when he scored direct from a corner to cut the deficit to a goal. How could this have happened? The debate on the Glen side lines was conducted in a mixture of incredulity and anger. Surely ref Neil Ferguson must have seen it go through a hole in the side netting. Well no- Dave Emery confessed he had let it in . Legit.
Nine minutes later the sides were equal, when Lewis Smith dribbled past a couple of opponents and sent a twenty five yard shot high into the net . Boleskine forced the pace till the end but could not find the winner.
The Glen hung in to lift the first trophy of the season by default. Maybe? Who knows? Before the game the Glen management retuned the Boleskine Challenge Cup to Club President Peter Macdonald fresh from having had it engraved in McBride’s Trophy Centre on Academy St. Inverness. Did we get it back? I don’t think so.
Anyway it was good to see young Glen players like Raymond Robertson and Andrew Young turning out for the wasps. The main thing is to keep youngsters playing shinty wherever we can encourage them and given that these lads are working south of the loch that is where they should play. Chris Black had a fine game at wing back for the Glen and both his dad and grandad are Boleskine men-so there.
As the game finished Gary Maclennan came over to sell me some balls- £6 apiece and from the condition of the object-still white , still spherical- they are on to something. Where did he get them ? Gary would not tell me- which makes me think he is importing them from Colombia and that they centres are filled with…. Enough of that. Isn’t it sufficient that Beauly and Boleskine are selling balls while the rest of us merely talk it-or write it?