Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Wanderer Returns

Glenurquhart 8 Ardnamurchan 0
It is the best start the Glen has had to a shinty season for years: four weeks in and neither team has lost a point or even a goal. If only it could always be like this! What is more - quick glace at the results page reveals a familiar name up near the top of the scoring charts. Who other than J Bell (4)? He is scoring freely for Aberdeen University as he has done since last century. He is certainly the lost Messiah of Glen shinty, the wunderkind who moved away to grace the shinty scene in Aberdeen fifteen or more years ago. He kept his talent and passion for the game and retained the true faith, never giving up, never glory hunting. He should be recognised by the Camanachd Association for services to the indigenous sport. The bottom line is -the Glen have never replaced him.
Aah -the period 1982-1987 was truly a golden age in the annals of Glen Camanachd.
Enough levity -it is a serious business when four weeks into the season the Glen have yet , in the words of Beauly’s own Caldermeister “to lift a caman in anger”. Not that anger ever enters the minds of Glenners on the field of dreams -that we leave to other Glens and Straths. However for the sake of some reading matter a brief report of the Glen’s only competitive match this season is worth putting down. The result is of course given at the head of the column but what is more worthy of note is the pic taken by the Wing Centre’s favourite snapper, Mr Denoon of Fort Augustus and Inverness.
Yes your eyes-and the Wing Centres -do not deceive . Himself is back from somewhere and better than that -back in the Glen colours. If the side could only get a game under its belt and the force stays with us until we get up to competitive speed-the Wing Centre’s only worry is that the side has overtrained -then the omens are good. The same side as last season with Himself added to the pool. The cup game against Lochcarron will be the tester-and on that subject it is sad to note the retirement from the stick sport of the west coast sides’ peerless Iain Mackenzie through injury. He was a superb stick player and it is to be hoped he will be able to put something back to the youngsters of his home club through coaching or the like.
Back to the matter in hand which is the Ardnamurchan report. It has to be said that this match was never a classic though the youngsters who turned out acquitted themselves well. Indeed the Glen got off to a rapid start when Davie Stewart opened the scoring with a fine strike in 6 minutes. The ball was worked forward by young centreline maestro Neil Porter - his fine performance was a feature of the game -and Davie S fired the chance into the roof of the net.
And that was it for the rest of the first half. Ardnamurchan put up the shutters, the Glen failed to get any coherent pattern of play and despite some nice pushes forward and skilful touches from Dave Smart , the net refused to bulge. Mr S had some scope for killing off the match but scorned to take it. At the back Calum Smith and in particular Drew Maclennan were quick to snuff out any thrusts forward by what was a young if indirect Ardnamurchan team.
The second half was different- not least because a three goal Glen burst inside 7 minutes of the restart changed the complexion of the match entirely. The first of these came in 48 minutes when Calum Fraser latched on to a ball from Dave Smart. His initial shot was well saved but the ball came back out to Fraser who finished off well. The same player hit the target with a fine finish after some nice shinty in 50 minutes and before long the ever lively Bradley Dickson had drilled home yet another goal and the game was well beyond the Lighthouse Boys.
This comfortable cushion of goals was enough to allow Manager Henderson some scope for experimentation and also permitted him to give Himself a run out on the hallowed turf. With Dave Smart withdrawn because of a slight injury , the Boss also replaced the injured Donald Fraser and centre man Matthew Clark to give a run to Malkie Munro and youngster Ben Hosie.
It was EJ Tembo (Himself ) who bagged the next goal with a massive strike from the centreline which left his fans gasping with wonder. It was the sort of goal he will not get in the Division above because the keepers are more clued up but the young Ardnamurchan keeper had come off his line and EJ’s drive off the tee simply deceived him.
In the 75th minute Ben Hosie worked a dead ball out to Calum (Jock) Fraser and the big striker won the match ball when he completed his hatrick. In 80 minutes Bradley Dickson helped himself to a second goal before the scoring was completed in favour of the Glen through an unfortunate own goal from defender John Nudds . It was an undeserved piece of bad luck for Nudds who had had an excellent second half in very trying circumstances. He is a good player and Ardnamurchan are by no means a bad team as their most recent result -a 4-4 draw with the Caranachs proves.
Next week the Glen are involved in a sudden death encounter in Old MacTavish’s fine cup competition and given that the opposition is Lochcarron , then the form will have to be good. Goals one expects will be required.
At least the Glen have a home draw.

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