Thursday, February 28, 2008

Clearly, the Wing Centre can hardly wait for the new shinty season to start

Since looking on the bright side of Glen shinty is the only purpose for the existence of this column, the point must immediately be made that one of the important things that came out of the recent series of pre-season fixtures was the fact that we did the double over Lovat. Hendo’s Heroes won against the Wee Crofters on the first Saturday and then a week later two goals from Neale Reid and a strike from Lewis Maclennan allowed the Glen to record a victory against the side that undermined our season last year. Not that any of that counts in real life.
However- the pic at the top of the page taken by an old snapper friend, Brian Denoon, is one that speaks volumes and can be read on many levels . Indeed if this were a real blog with prizes to be won surely a caption competition would be in order.
What do we see? Certainly the dug out is neat, clean and tidy and looked after in a Glen -like manner in stark contrast to the photo some months earlier in the blog of the Lovat dugout (scroll down if you must). Thus do well kept farms of the Glen contrast with the messy hill crofts of Kiltarlity. More importantly - and young Ewen Weatherspoon , who has an exhibition of his shinty pictures on display at Inverness Museum ,should take note- here we have in the background two shinty legends having a conversation while young masters Corrigan and Barr burst through the middle to launch yet another attack. The old have handed on the caman of glory to the young.
In any exhibition of shinty photos perhaps there should be included a photo of greats of the past like the Glen’s Jimmac Mackintosh and Lovat’s Jackie Henton. Maybe these two old boys are there on display-the Wing Centre hasn’t gone in to see yet- but the snaps of the old boys like Ali Mac and Tarzan which he saw reproduced in a recent Courier article look as if they would come in handy to put up on a string to frighten roe deer out of the garden.
Back over at Blairbeg however, the heroes did not do so well. The WHFP gave a proper account of the game which the Wing Centre is too distressed to give here. Sufficient to say that the Sgiathanachs won by 4 goals to 1 and played quite well but would probably not have achieved such a margin if full back Donald Fraser had not gone over his ankle. Though he did not manage to come out for the second half-no point in pushing your luck in a friendly-the injury did not turn out to be as serious as was first thought and DF, agriculture permitting, will be OK for the start of the season.
The absence of full back Fraser left the Glen rather light and with seven schoolboys on the park at various times-Neil Porter, Calum Smith, Drew Maclennan, Ryan Brady, Bradley Dickson, Ben Hosie and Ewen Menzies for the list makers amongst us-it was no surprise that the Skyemen came out ahead.
Skye took a first half lead with a neat finish from Angie Macdonald (Borve) before Calum Fraser pulled one back as the cliché goes. Still it is worthwhile for Calum’s sake to describe the goal because it was either a brilliant piece of shinty artistry or the result of a divine judgement on the Skye keeper for having been bad in primary school. Calum got on to the ball some 25 yards out-he was having a good effective game by the way- and on his left hand with little backlift (this supports the artistry argument ) drove the ball hard and low past the goalkeeper (sheer pace involved-more artistry detected). It was precisely 2.25 on the Wing Centre’s watch (this is where the divine intervention may be involved) and at the end of the match the watch still showed 2.25. Why so? Because the Wing Centre , thinking that the shot was a direct goal pulled out the winder of his old fashioned watch thus stopping the movement of the hands. He was then distracted by the fact that Calum’s shot , having passed the goalie smashed into the post , rebounded back , struck the goalie on the heel and returned net wards ,crossed the line and counted in the Glen’s favour by a mere two inches (the case in favour of divine intervention now rests, as Davie Bell would say) .
The Wing Centre forgot to push in the winder and so was able to precisely record the time of Calum’s goal but since he had not taken a note of when the game actually started the GMT measurement is useless as a guide to the precise minute of the strike.
None of this matters because when the Wing Centre usually times goals in a real game and then compares his figures with the times recorded by the former President, the two sets of data might well have been gathered on different sides of the globe, if you get the drift.
Anyway Danny Morrison got two nice goals for Skye before Neil MacVicar finished off the match with a sharp shot into the corner for number 4.
Of the Skye team there is more than a little to be said but by now the WHFP will have said it better . However to give credit (reluctantly) where it is due, Skye did look to be a compact team- in places a little older than the Glen and thus more wily in the ways of shinty. Of course leading them was that old Glen warhorse himself Davie MacVicar and a fine job he’s doing.
As he watched “MacVic“ organise his squad of youngsters, a memory of his youth came back to the Wing Centre. His grandfather , being a crofter (though emphatically not from Kiltarlity) used to release a bunch of stots out of a shed on to new grass and they would charge about daft just like the Skye youngsters let off the island onto fresh Glenurquhart sward. Then the Wing Centre’s ancestor would lead his ancient grey half Clydesdale horse out of the other half of the shed. He had been too sentimental to get rid of the beast when he procured -admittedly late in life- a tractor-and this old horse would plod wearily behind him out of the yard when , scenting the grass or seeing the stots charging around, he would neigh loudly and start to buck and pull on his rope, anxious to get into the action.
Now if the Wing centre was of a Buddhist persuasion- a persuasion not unknown in the Glen let it be said- he would be tempted to say that old Jackie had come back in human form.
Enough of this nonsense- if the weather manages to stay semi decent- there will be a proper match to write about. Otherwise the next entry will be a detailed account of the Glen First Aid kit. The Wing Centre watched the Managerial duo sorting through it the other night and truthfully more than one item had the appearance of being taken directly out of a World War 1 Lovat Scout Medical Kitbag . It will probably have to be updated. .

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