Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Glen Glad To See The Back Of Lovat After Sutherland Cup Replay

Glenurquhart 7 Lovat 3

The picture tells its own story. Here, the Lovat faithful have turned their good side to the Wing Centre’s camera. Are they disgusted with him? Of course not -but since he tried in vain to get a diehard from Balgate to pose offering congratulations to a winning Glen team (and no wonder too) he took a sneaky shot of the Crofters in their darkest hour. Chasing a lost cause at 7-1-nice to see- but they were to cause him minor palpitations when their never-say-die youngsters popped in two late goals to reduce the differential to 7-3.
But then ,just have a look at the snap and where the players are. Talk about the team not keeping its shape. There is a Highland mile between the midfield boys and the defenders-in fact the defenders are nowhere to be seen. Where is the buckshee back? Probably in the same place as the Lovat buckshee forward who is not where he should ideally be. Even the former President, Mr B ,with the flag on the far touchline is keeping a better grip of positional play than the athletes themselves. What is that all about? Mr H needs to have a stern word.
Still its nice to have a win - and it was without Malky Munro, Drew Maclennan, Gary Smith, Lucas Chapman ,Garry Mackintosh, Dunc Fraser and Bradley Dixon. The Wing centre might just be wrong but here we have a side -if the guys commit for three games (that’s right ,only three special games)- which has a real shout of silverware.
The opening goal was a worthy one: Ben Hosie got the ball on the left and slipped it over to Neale Reid who finished well from distance. The time on the clock was five minutes and the Glen supporters breathed a sigh of relief . However it was the young Lovat keeper who made his mark in the next period as he kept out a series of tricky attempts on goal before Davie Stewart got past him with a neat shot in 33 minutes . A long ball from Stuart Morrison made it three while Neale Reid took the score up to four just before half time. Craig Mainland who looks like a player who will be well worth the watching in the future notched a neat goal for Lovat to keep up the spirits of the die-hards.
The start of the second period saw the Glen rack the score up to 7 in very rapid time with ,firstly ,Ross MacAulay striking a trademark long ball into the net, followed by
strikes from Stuart Morrison and Davie Stewart.
Lovat however are not a side to give up. Charlie Mainland went on up front and his presence allowed first Calum Cruden and finally Rory Campbell to put a little balance back in the score though the feeling up on the steps of the shed was that the Glen defence were being a little too slack for comfort.
Now the Wing Centre has a lot of time for the Lovat folk not only because he envies Jimmy Johansen his hair but because everyone of them that he has met and talked to about shinty seems even more obsessed with the indigenous sport than himself. If you were to ask him who was the best Lovat player he ever saw, he would answer Ally Macrae though the best performance he ever witnessed was by Ron Hughes in the early 1970s at Ferry Park against Lochcarron in some cup or other. Ron took everything in the air, low or high.
If they knew that these were his thoughts perhaps the die-hards would have smiled for the camera- but then again being from Kiltarlity probably they would not.
The other thing he has in his mind is that the Lovat folk seem to have kept, thanks to their very own Mr Bell (What a debt the modern Highlands owes to Borderers-the cheviot sheep notwithstanding! ) a tradition that the infants bring clubs to school and whack something around in the playground so that even the guys who eventually turn to catching trout up in Loch Bruaiach and annoying the Cub by riding motorbikes over the moor, know all about shinty. This is in fact the way the Wing Centre in his romantic view of the world likes to think the Highlands should be organised.
The other thing that the Lovat folk taught the Wing Centre in days of yore was perhaps a little humility. In the old days-1977 even- the Glen shinty players were inclined to be -let one say - a little immodest. There was much triumphant conversation in the Old Legion about the Cup and how well the Glen were doing.
There was a smiley man in the corner of the hostelry one time when heads were expanding to the door-blocking stage.
“You’re doing well boys . Well done,” he said. “But do you want me to go up to the house and take a Camanachd medal down to let you have a look at one. Just so you know what they look like.”
Thus spake Davie Thow, the only man in the Glen with a Camanachd winners medal until Jimmy Burnett arrived in 1980 though Jimmy outdid Davie because he had the captain’s stick.
When triumphalism is a temptation for the Wing Centre, he remembers Dave Thow and suddenly a Sutherland cup triumph does not seem such a big deal.
So come on young men-never mind Rock Ness, T in the P or Belladrum -though truthfully, the Wing Centre just cannot believe that anyone would ever cross Culnacirc for anything other than a curry or the Black Isle show.
One more , two more, three more pushes and we’re there.

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