Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Doing the Hokey-Cokey:Thats What It's All About

Camanachd Cup round 2
Fort William 1 Glenurquhart 1

The Wing Centre could only write this headline because he is going to be away on Saturday and so will be able to avoid the consequences of this verbal action- still he has chosen to use it because it has a certain ring to it and it is good to get back to reports because truth to tell, after the mighty Glen lost 3-0 to the Allarburn bad boys last week he didn’t have the energy to put pen to paper. However he also missed going to this historic game because the Beauly manager forbade him to go, seeing it was Highland Cross weekend and since he- the Beauly manager- was going to take part in the Cross, stopping by to inspect Kirkton’s playability at the same time, somebody i.e. the Wing Centre, would have to man the phones in the bunker to see who won the rest of the games. And so it was on a day when history was almost made, when the Glen almost stepped forward to embrace their destiny, that the Wing Centre was sitting in his kitchen-the mobile won’t work anywhere else-having his calls dingied by various managers around the country because they were either too elated or too depressed to talk about their own matches while all the time the real action was down in Nevisville.
And what did he miss as well as a Lewis Maclennan goal and a taste of some vintage Coke decisions? Why he missed a Happy Meal and the sight of Mr Corrigan (Jun) with his nose pressed to the glass , him being on the inside looking out rather than on the outside looking in.
The game itself was worth a Happy Meal or even two of them because the Glen without Gregor McCormack , David Girvan and Dixon Maclennan had a reshuffle.
For their great adventure Bill and Dave brought in Boy Soldier First Class Andrew Macdonald to shore up the backline and shifted Captain Courageous John Barr to full back. Corporal C in the meantime went to halfback while Sergeant Major Reid covered the whole of one flank and the battle commenced.
What is remarkable is that the trench holds firm and then in 14 minutes Calum Fraser sweeps a ball forward into the path of Lewis Maclennan and Druimlon’s player of the year chips it over the advancing Scott McNeill. Well taken goal but Fort Manager Drew McNeill is still cool because he doesn’t think its all over. Then Bryan Simpson pulls one back and Drew is still cool. He adopts nonchalance because this village defence must surely crumble. It does not.
He loosens his collar at half time just to pretend he is still cool and his guys mount an attack or two. The red Glenners repulse the Cameron horde. Drew gets agitated-the Glen top duo are always agitated so it does not do to measure them against the man in the suit. - he takes off James Clark and makes a double substitute with Victor Smith and Johnny Cameron. Gary Innes is seen to move forward The Glen go up field several times and look the more likely to score.
In fact but for a Cokeism they would have scored. A ball is sent neatly across the D from Neale Reid and Billy Urquhart gets on to it , puts it in the net and finds that it is ruled off side. How can the Wing Centre see the edge of the D from a comfy kitchen in Drum? He can’t but then was Mr McD close enough to see? Sources say probably not but it is very hard in shinty to keep close to the play : few of our refs can and the cute defenders yell “Sides” as soon as the ball looks like coming into the danger area and that way refs are influenced. The Wing Centre makes no complaint : he merely notes that it has happened. Indeed in one of his own spells of goal judging in a non controversial match the Lochaber defence claimed “Sides” on each occasion the ball came close. When the teams changed at half-time , The Glen backs did the same so maybe all backs are liars.
Anyway by this time back in real time, Drew is like a dervish dancing on the sidelines jumping with totally unconcealed rage. Then former Balnain starlet Cork and former Celtic starlet John MacDonald become involved in a dispute and Coke pulls forth a red card and tells them both to leave the park .
This they do and the game continues.
John Macdonald gets changed and heads off in his car: Cork gets changed and comes to the door of the changing room. He can’t leave in his car because he has to wait for the rest of the Drum boys. What is he to do? He stands indecisively for a moment.
Too late. Coke sees him and stops the game. Cork protests-he is only going to his car to sit and wait for the end of the game. A likely story. . No he is not , he is going back out of sight into the changing room or else!
The else did not have to be invoked- Cork retreated to the Fort pavilion and so it came to pass that as the Glen ran down the clock, Cork stood with his nose pressed to the enemy glass watching his team-mates earning themselves a game which he will be ineligible to play in.
Occasionally in keeping with the mood of levity and good humour which mark out the true Fort supporter one of the yellow and black faithful would notice the demoted corporal peeping out and shout to Coke. “He’s looking ref. He’s watching the game. What are you going to do about that?”
Coke wisely did nothing.
In the end according to Bill MacAllister’s take on Drew McNeill “The Glen were worth a draw.” which one supposes they were though it is now probable that they have missed their chance of glory having failed to win on the day . The Fort will be up for the game next time-and won’t be so complacent.
Still there is always the prospect of a Happy Meal after the match A Happy Meal? Well two actually. El Presidente and the Goalie’s dad felt a bit peckish and being country boys looked about for a bothy in which to have a bite. A local eatery seemed the place-owned by a MacDonald too- so in they went.
What were they to have? Who can say? There is an embarrassment of choice.
“That looks a bargain“, says the President.
He points to a sign with a smiley face. It is advertising a Happy Meal at £1.99.
“It sure is”, says the Goalie’s father . He also likes a bargain and is keen not to let the President pull a fast one on him. After all these Abriachan guys have to be watched with care.
“Two Happy Meals , please”, says the President decisive as ever.
“Are you sure?” says the lassie behind the counter. “Two Happy Meals?”
“Yes” says the Goalie’s dad “and make it snappy”
“Snappy?” says the President.
“Yes. Snappy that’s the only way to talk to Fort William girls. You have to show them who is boss. Two Happy Snappy meals”
The two girls pause for a moment. One looks like she is about to explain something.
“Please”, says the Goalie’s dad diplomatically.
The polite approach must have worked because when they got back to the car the girls had thoughtfully included in the brown bags a little Shrek doll each. The only thing was that the burgers were no bigger than two pence pieces.
“I wonder if the Blar could do Happy Meals?” said the President.
“Probably - but they would need to have bigger burgers and rolls. This stuff might do in Fort William but could you imagine Jimmac being happy to eat this.?”
And so they both went back to the Glen as happy as only people who have eaten a happy meal can be.
What about the pic above? It’s Bill and Dave ,the two managerial bon viveurs themselves with a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape from the Balmacaan cellar. Can’t see them settling for a Happy Meal. The Wing Centre thinks they have their eyes on a Civic Reception in the City Hall.

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