Monday, April 09, 2007

'Broom Swept Away

Glenurquhart 3 Lochbroom 0

This was an interesting game not least for the fact that the Glen were down to the last XIII with an injury list of top team players which needed replacement from the 2nd string. As a result, Manager Henderson -and the Wing Centre knows this for a fact having interviewed the Supremo just before, after and during the afternoon’s activities- is more than a little concerned about next week’s match against Kinlochshiel. Paul Mackintosh , Gary Mackintosh ,Billy Urquhart ,Bradley Dixon, and Neil Porter are all out for the next while with nasty injuries and in yesterday’s fixture Lucas Chapman had to leave the field after sustaining a recurrence of a heel problem with which he has struggled for the past week or so. Add to this the fact that Calum Fraser is in the Shetlands for next week at least- and the situation becomes a little sticky.
What is the Boss to do? The Wing Centre is reluctant to let this out to the public at large but prominent on the list of phone numbers which was sticking out of the top pocket of the Bossman’s red and black shirt was the number of a certain Stewart G- but then that might be just to make sure that the Boss could get Stewart G to help get a hold of Stewart M and Stewart D if these guys had switched off their mobile phones. But then you never know, do you?
So what was the game like then? Well if anything, it demonstrates that Lochbroom have come on considerably in the two seasons since they have entered the league and above all they now have a good crop of young players who are as effective as any others anywhere in their age group. So what if they need a forward who can finish off in front of goals-but then perhaps yesterday their front men were up against it because for the first part of the match the last line of defence was former under 21 international Iain Macdonald who has returned for the odd game to help Hendo’s cause : he played with authority and indeed when Lucas Chapman had to come off in the second half he stepped up to the centreline where his long hitting helped put the final seal on the victory.
The other good sign for the Glen side was the fact that in the absence of the Mountaineer at fullback (and in the absence more seriously of Gary Mackintosh) what other side would be happy with a 15 year old stand in? Well the Boss was delighted with the efforts of Drew Maclennan who stepped up to the plate, put his nose on the line and played the last 35 minutes under heavy Lochbroom pressure ,managing to clear the ball every time he was asked to.
As the game started off with a fine goal from Mark/Davie Stewart in 12 minutes there was every reason to hope that the afternoon would be without any serious threat. It was not to be and for the rest of the first half the game was even- Mr Fraser at the back for Lochbroom was very effective as was the buckshee Mark Macdonald who was quick and clean in clearing his lines and did not give the Glen’s buckshee Ben Hosie a great deal of joy.
Now the Wing-Centre has had a look at his notebook and finds it ambiguous on the first goal -the script approximates to middle period Aramaic and while that cannot be taken as gospel, it appears to say “free hit -12 mins-Mark Stewart -Davie Stewart -low drive. Goooaaal!!!” Sad, juvenile but true -as proof, one day the page will be preserved in the still to be conceived “Shinty Museum of Scotland”
As to the meaning of the text, the Wing-Centre has placed two interpretations on it. The first one was revealed to him at 4.45 pm on Saturday afternoon when he undertook a phone call to Alton House , World HQ of Shinty and let it be known to the functionary there that the goal was scored by Mark Stewart. Why? Largely on the strength of the fact that said Mark Stewart had -in a spell of Glen pressure sometime after the goal- driven a low drive into the side netting. Ergo he was capable of hitting low drives in between the post which would count as goals.
However, more mature reflection on Sunday afternoon led to the conclusion that the true exegesis of the text should be along the grounds of “in 12 minutes then Glen were awarded a free hit which was tapped forward by Mark Stewart. After a titanic struggle with the forces of darkness, the ball fell to Davie Stewart who- and this is the bit that is hard to believe- struck a low drive past Ruaridh Hughes into the net.”
The Goooaaal !!! bit stands as being unequivocal.
In the second half -on 60 minutes Mark Stewart did in fact hit a low drive into the net after a neat passage of play which saw Ben Hosie and then Davie Stewart lay the ball across the goal face for the finishing strike- except that it broke out some distance off a defender and was pounced on and finished off by Mr S from out beyond the penalty spot. This was proof positive if ever it was needed that he was capable of scoring the opening goal as well.
For the next part of the match it can only be stated that the Glen went to sleep and the play was monopolised in the midfield and up front by Lochbroom. In fact a group of kids came out of a minibus wearing Galatasaray shirts -presumably attracted to stop by Kenan’s Kebab Shop-and asked Ken the goal judge if they could play football in the shop end goals since it was obvious there was so little Glen forward activity in that area. Ken said that although he might be wrong there was just the outside possibility of another Glen attack and that they ought to wait-which was just as well because the Glen bounced back in the last 14 minutes.
Part of the credit for the revival has to be given to Roger Grant the winger who came on to take the place of Dunc Fraser who moved back to defence when Lucas went off and when Drew moved back and when Balbeg moved to full centre and----whatever! The Wing Centre’s head was spinning with the permutations because Hendo is ,as we know , a masterful if somewhat complicated tactician. Anyway Roger played well on the wing, was unhampered by the burden of the No 13 shirt, and had a blistering attempt at goal which was well saved by Mr Hughes. In time he will realise it’s the trundled shots which go over the line and count.
But not always because in the 80th minute was scored the goal of goals- a rare hail of delightful skill. Roger cut the ball back from the left wing, Davie Stewart knocked it on and up to Ben Hosie who overhead flicked it into the net. The Wing Centre has stood on the sidelines and played in shinty matches for many years and apart from a goal of his own scored in a meaningless game against Hughie Chisholm on the Eilean on a day when the wind blew a whole shed slowly across the pitch ,he has rarely acclaimed a goal with so much delight. Arise Sir Ben!!
Still it’s a snap of Sir Roger which he has chosen to enliven this report.

Scottish Blogs