Thursday, January 24, 2008

Every Picture Tells A Story

On the 10th of this month a large and sorrowful crowd from the Glen and beyond gathered at William Fraser’s Funeral Home at Culduthel to bid farewell to Jocky Macdonald . Jocky, who died after a long illness bravely borne, was of course a loving husband , father and grandfather before anything else but in his youth he was also an intelligent and skilful shinty player for the Glen . He was an important member of that squad of players whom the Wing Centre has earlier featured as being perhaps “The Greatest Glenners of Them All”, the team of the late 50s and early 60s.
This was of course the team which started at the bottom in 1956 and in the course of the next 7 years progressed to be the top team of the old Junior divisions. In these 7 years-the years of plenty-the Glen reached 10 junior finals. They lost the first three but then won 5 out of the following 7. Their wins included two in the MacGillivary Junior League, two in the Strathdearn Cup and of course the Sutherland Cup.
During this period many of the players -including Jocky- were serving their time whilst living in “digs” in Inverness and so training sessions at the Inverness High School Gym and “knockabouts” on the Bught Park were an essential feature of preparation for the matches. On these occasions Jocky used to confound the Inverness players who turned up to take part in the hit around for his skills were such that it was very difficult to steal the ball off him . He would often run with the ball on the end of his stick , show it to his opponent pull back the caman and ball and dodge away. These skills used to amaze and frustrate “Beelac” Kennedy in equal measure.
Latterly , Jocky and his old team-mate and best buddy John Alec Mackenzie became Vice-Presidents of Glenurquhart Shinty Club and were regularly to be seen in their seats of honour at the Pavilion . More or less right up until the end of this past season ,Jocky was present at games week after week and it is a great pity the present Glen side could not have rewarded his loyalty-and that of all their fans- with a cup win.
There is delight as well as sadness in the picture of the Glen team of veterans which was taken at the Bught Park in 1987 where they played the veterans of Inverness Shinty Club to mark the Centenary of the “Town” club. One can say “Town “ rather than “City” of course because back in 1987 Inverness still had to achieve city status while the Glen had yet to reach a Camanachd Cup Final. The Wing Centre was present at the game and while the score has slipped from his memory he can remember the silky skills of Bob Macdonald on one wing and Jocky Macdonald on the other. Both Macs were on target that day, Bob’s strike being a first time drive from a ball slipped across from Jocky. Of course supplying the midfield power were Peter English and a tireless Jimmy Burnett who was guesting for the day. Jimmy was the player with pedigree on the park having captained Kilmallie to Camanachd Cup glory in 1964. Sadly including Jocky, four of these Bught veterans are no longer with us .
Don Cumming, Bob Macdonald and of course Jimmy Burnett himself have all passed away and shinty in the Glen is the poorer for their passing.
On the other hand, as was his wont the Wing Centre -who has been asking far and wide for an action snap of the glorious goal scoring Chrissie Surtees taken at Zandra’s sixes-took a trip down to the Astroturf the other night and was astounded to see two full 12 a side teams playing against each other in a practice match. He also observed at hit-ins on the park some fantastically powerful shooting from particularly the youngsters -hard , accurate and unstoppable. Funnily enough, these are the very qualities one wants to hear when describing a Glen team.
Incidentally the picture was provided by Glen secretary Hazel Stewart .
For those who are curious the players are as follows:
(Back) : Andrew Ian Macdonald, Peter Macdonald, Geordie Stewart, Jocky Macdonald, Tommy McKenna , Peter English, John Alick Mackenzie, Bob English
(Front) Don Cumming ,Jimmy Burnett ,Alan Bell, Iain Macdonald, Bob Macdonald, Calum Fraser.
Five Macdonalds in a Glen team - now these were the days !!

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