Friday, August 10, 2007

Finally There

Glenurquhart 4 Ballachulish 0

At the third time of Balliemore asking- and after some nervous moments in the opening phase of the game-the Glen have finally made it onto the national stage on a big cup occasion. At last, players like John Barr, Stuart Mackintosh, Andrew Corrigan, Arran Macdonald, Andrew Macdonald, Stuart Reid, Calum Miller, Dave Maclennan ,Calum Fraser, Gregor McCormack, Paul Mackintosh, David Girvan , Billy Urquhart , and Lewis Maclennan get to prove that they really are as good a generation of shinty players as have ever pulled on the Glen colours. The Wing Centre has not mentioned the youngsters-Ally Mackintosh and Neale Reid- because he wishes to keep them secret from Bert’s Kinlochshiel spies but when you add them into the picture with Charlie Duncan and EJ Tembo then it is the Camanachd we should be winning. And then there is that good friend of all chiropractors-Garry Mackintosh-if only he could come back to the future . And if Iain Macdonald … and if Mike Fraser had decided to stop wasting his time at the Premier League football and had only stuck to the shinty he was so good at then…..Stop…….that way madness lies.
Anyway, twice before the Glen have blown the chance to get into National finals- Bute beat us in 2004 and Kyles triumphed in 2005 : Why? Perhaps because the side did not believe enough in their own ability -certainly Kyles outplayed us but the number of chances we refused to score against Bute at the Dell was horrendous. The Butemen came up the road for that encounter in a minibus that they had a nerve taking off the Island-rusty and with a broken back window but there was nothing second hand about the way they played shinty. Now they are a Premier side and the Glen have a set of players that should also be playing at the top-if only they would push themselves to do so.
Are the boys good enough to win the Balliemore? The bottom line is that they are-with the stick: it’s up to them to collectively prove that they have what it takes inside their heads as well. Not a lot of pressure then. Except that the club has phoned up the head honcho at the Runrig gig and asked for a direct phone line to the band so that the result and updates from the game can be beamed live to Borlum and fed to the hungry fans.
Who will tame the Kinlochshiel bear?”- believe it or not that is a line from Runrig’s Clash of the Ash. Now it has always been known that the Macdonald Bros are good at the Bardachd but how could they not have come up with a rhyming line to make the couplet perfect for Glen lugholes :“Its got to be Glen’s Johnny Barr” In the soft lilt of the Utter Hebrides Barr/Bear is as good a rhyme as it you‘ll get.
Whether the young Abriachanite can tame the bear or not will be seen on the day: personally, the Wing Centre does not wish to upset the Kinlochshielers but simply wishes them the best and wonders why both sides are required to trek all the way down to Oban when we could have met at Spean and travelled back in harmony to Drum to enjoy the Runrig concert for which all of our mums have bought tickets.
“Beat the Drum?” What’s that play on words all about? The Wing Centre hopes its to do with upstaging Belladrum and not a secret subliminal message of support for the West Coasters. Better not be- we know where the concerts being held.
Back to the Balliemore match with Ballachulish (You couldn’t make this up-it writes itself) The result was 4-0 and it looked in the end a straightforward victory but truth to tell the first half was much more even than that. Balla’s Steven Henderson made the musical goalie look lively in the first half- a superb save and on a number of other occasions Stuart Mac had to sweep the ball away wide. He did this perfectly. For a moment or so an injury to Stuart Reid looked like it would upset the Glen’s rhythm but a revamp of the defence saw David Girvan take over as wing back. Up the other end Lewis Maclennan was taking a little while to get his sights set- but gradually the pressure told . The Ballachulish keeper-Macphee- had a series of good saves including a block on a tremendous strike from Lewis Maclennan before he failed to stop a sharp strike by Neale Reid in 41 mins. The screw began to turn and finally Lewis Maclennan doubled the lead with a fierce drive from distance in the next minute.
The second half was more clearly Glen-centred: not that the Wing Centre managed to see much of it because he was delegated to accompany Ballachulish club man Kenny Mackenzie round the field to take a collection of which more anon. Neale Reid began to run at the defence more as did Andrew Corrigan-the Dell is perfect for that type of shinty -until eventually Ballachulish began to crumble. The centreline for the Glen were immense- Arran Macdonald was supremely commanding though against a tough player in Dougie Rankine. The Mackintoshes -young Al with a broken nose too- ran the show and piled in the effort. Lewis Maclennan got his second despite a robust challenge from the Ballachulish defence and finally Calum Miller gathered the ball wide and fired a goal in from an acute angle. It was a clear victory but not one that should make the lads complacent. There is a league game against the Skye men to come before the Balliemore big match. Does it matter? League-wise no-psychologically yes but only in as much as the Free Press will be there and hoping for a slip up so they can give a wee boost to Bertie’s Boys. And do Kinlochshiel have a fixture this week ? Not likely-don’t want the wee souls to be tired out before their big match.
Anyway back to the collection at the Dell.
The Ballachulish folk are generous : the Glen folk dipped their hands in their pockets but the Kingussie folk- leave aside the ever generous Joe Taylor and his committee- are not for parting with the bawbees . In fact, it must be easier to get a sensible conversation out of a sheep in Kintail that it is to get money in Kingussie but then maybe the real fans were in Cannich watching Ronald play Fort.
Anyway we are off to Oban and the jaffa cakes-see above - are coming too.

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