Monday, February 12, 2007

New Monarchs of the Glen

Mackintoshes, Macdonalds & Assorted Septs 3 West Coast Mackenzies 0

It was ethnic day in and around the D last weekend: the Caranachs paid a visit to Blairbeg. At a time when the Camanachd Association itself has been repossessed by the clans with John Mackenzie, Alan Macleod and now Gill McDonald in the top jobs at Shinty HQ, the Wing Centre considers it only fair to give an ethnic twist to this report. The Battery Park management have been accumulating new players too with Dickie Mackenzie and Ross Macpherson joining the squad from the departing Nairn Camanachd. Given that Dickie possesses the requisite DNA for a Caranach one must presume that Ross has a Mackenzie granny to make him eligible for selection. Otherwise the assorted kernes and gallowglasses that Lochcarron manager Fraser Mackenzie brought with him didn’t really do too well.
In truth, the result surprised the Wing Centre so much he waited to see what the Broadford Bugle had to say about the match. Given that the Broadford’s mighty organ of truth is intensely supportive of all things West Highland -except perhaps the local Lib Dem MSP- the report was refreshingly frank. Not only was the match reported in detail, but it was a remarkably balanced account and although emphasis was put on the fact the Caranachs were short of more than a few players full credit was given to the Glen goals.
The first was described thus by the WHFP “It was the Glen who took the lead in the 35th minute, following a flowing move that began a half back and was finished brilliantly from wide on the left”
While it would have helped the report if Andrew Corrigan had been named as scorer and if David Smart had also been mentioned , it has to be said that the goal came at the end of some excellent interplay that left the supporters elated and this reporter inclined to disbelieve his eyes.
Lochcarron did have plenty early pressure - and late pressure too- which was blocked out by Stuart Mackintosh with the same casual unconcern he uses to change key on his accordion. Stuart got his name in the paper but how did the hack from Broadford know who he was. Could it be because he is half a Skye-man or are they really trying to keep in with the goalie to book him for the WHFP Office party next Xmas.
Paul Mackintosh doubled the lead when what the Free Press described as “a long range effort” took “ a wicked bounce off the turf to deceive goalkeeper Michael Macmillan” This is sadly to demean the very high level of skill that this goal entailed not to mention the fact that by no stretch of the imagination can the short semi green ooze that passes for a February surface on Blairbeg be noted down as turf. They’ll be calling it “sward” next.
If the Australian cricket team are praised for their skill in managing to throw a ball 22 yards on to a bump in the turf and then into the stumps, then Paul Mac can surely have some credit for picking out a molehill from 40 yards and cannoning the ball off it into the net. What right had Michael Macmillan to claim he was deceived by a perfectly honest attempt at goal?
After the Lochcarron forwards had continued to miss some pretty straightforward chances- this is the Wing Centre’s view though he concedes that the Musical Goalie was particularly on song at that point- “Glen wrapped up victory after another neatly worked move was finished off from the right hand side of the area” Step forward Lewis Maclennan who was the wrapper up.
What does this game tell us? A little - the Glen forwards would appear to be putting across some genuine patches of play : there might even be the beginnings of a system clicking into place.
Lochcarron were missing five players including Coyle and Ross- had they been present they might have given the Glen forwards more problems. Glen were down two top players as well- no Arran Macdonald at full centre and no Dave Girvan at the back- so a clearer perspective on the relative balance of the teams would grant the Glen the benefit of not being at top strength either. It also shows that the Glen’s pre-season training efforts have not been in vain.
And yet , Lochcarron went off for a warm down at the end of the match-it certainly gave the impression of them as a professional squad. It might even do them some good. Maybe the Glen should try it next week
The High Chief of Strathglass was having a look over at the match. He was down with an under-17 squad for a competition on the nearby astro-turf and he came over to the line to keep an occasional eye on proceedings. He didn’t say much-but I don’t think that meant he was bothered. On the other hand , he might simply have been looking at Lochcarron-in which case the Wing Centre isn't bothered either.

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