Sunday, May 13, 2007

Injury-hit Glen Fleeced by Kintail, Lochalsh & Glenshiel Select

Glenurquhart 1 Kinlochshiel 3

Ah well. There it goes-the second team have just lost to Kinlochshiel . Big deal? Not really despite the fact that the with the lost points went most probably any chance of winning the League. Oh dear! What a pity! Never mind.
What pleased the Wing Centre however was the effort which the players put in despite being up against it from early in the match when in 5 minutes Referee Astie Cameron judged that the defence had given away a penalty. Probably on reflection Astie will feel that he might not have given that one against the Glen but no matter - a Macrae (DA) took it and in the manner of all Macraes dispatched it with aplomb.
Now the Glen have also been up against it for several weeks because of injuries and other happenings- and while the Wing Centre is aware that he lives in a modern Highlands , he also wonders why should it be in the grand scheme of things that University exams coincide absolutely exactly with “The Lambing”. And while the subject is being broached, why are sheep so stupid that they cannot lamb themselves?
The deer on the high hills seem to get on OK without interference from humans and one would have thought that, given the fact that sheep have caused so much hassle for the Highlands over the centuries by way of The Clearances, Harris Tweed and Fair Isle jerseys, perhaps the shinty could have been left uninfluenced by them.
Not that the Kinlochshiel lads will hear anything said against our four legged wool bearing friends. After all was it not one of their own number who challenged the whole landlord system by keeping a pet lamb in Kintail at a time when those in the big house thought the hills should be reserved for deer alone.
A court judgement was given in favour of the sheep and ever since then the Kintail men have worshipped the creature to the extent that should one happen to perish on the upper slopes then there is every chance of the Kinlochshiel home match being postponed as mark of respect. It would appear that , especially early in the season because Kintail springs are hard , sheep die on a weekly basis and are usually buried on a Saturday. Not that the Wing Centre believes this scurrilous rumour himself though he has heard that it has some currency amongst the Glasaich but then since medieval times they have been sworn enemies of the Kintail men. It did strike the Wing Centre though that the same practice prevails in Glenorchy- and as such is probably worth some investigation by the School of Scottish Studies.
The opening goal apart the match was an excellent and entertaining one with much that was positive to be said on both sides. Kinlochshiel were managed by the excellent Willie Fraser- always good to see a lad brought up in the teeming tenements of Kyle at the heart of a shinty team -and they had brought with them Neilie “Ach” Macrae . Neilie “Ach” is the genuine article in every sense - a gentleman on the field as well as off it and even at his advanced age he put in a sterling performance of strong energetic shinty at full centre for the entire match. He was up against Neil Porter for the Glen and while young Neil had an excellent match ,the moment when Neilie “Ach” held back the stick when the youngster left himself unprotected showed the true measure of the Kinlochshiel man.
The Glen always felt there was a chance of doing something to rescue the match at 1-0 but when Neil Mackintosh popped out his knee midway through the first period it was clear that backs were going to be to the wall. That is if any of them were ever going to be left on the field.
The absence list was horrendous- Dave Girvan missing from the first team meant that Calum Fraser travelled to Aberdeen with the Div 1 side but the absence of Andrew Macdonald, Davie Stewart, Drew Maclennan , Duncan Fraser, Bradley Dixon, Malcolm Munro, Lucas Chapman, Roger Grant and Iain Macdonald put severe strain upon a squad which had to call upon Andrew Crichton and Alan Fraser for the first time in over a year.
When David Smart , who was having an excellent match in the middle of the field was struck on the chest with the new ball causing him to cough up blood , the Glen were forced to bring on Garry Mackintosh to hold the line. Garry Mac , who has not played because of back problems since the Kincraig game in March, is actually due to head to an Edinburgh hospital for an operation this week but despite that he put in a stout performance as can be observed in the picture which the Wing Centre has chosen to grace the report.
When Ross Fraser hit the second goal for the Sheilachs it looked all over, but an excellent counter by Ben Hosie gave the home fans heart. Ben has an skilful touch on the ball and his stick play was delightful to see. A neat piece of interplay between the Glen forwards saw Hosie close in on the Shiel goal and he squeezed the goal past the keeper from an acute angle.
Young Duncan Macrae restored the differential and despite a flurry of home pressure in the last ten minutes Kinlochshiel preserved their two goal cushion intact.
So where does this result leave the Glen 2nd string?
Out of the League most probably. The Cups? The Strathdearn is a possibility and if more guys are fit and we choose our chaps sensibly then Lovat will have to look out in the Sutherland.
Still, the first team won at Aberdeen. But 6-4? What was that all about? Still, Lewis Maclennan scored four goals which can’t be bad. The rest of the season starts now.

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