Friday, May 09, 2008

Its just too damn quiet out there

North Division 3
Glenurquhart 4 Inverness 1
Balliemore Cup
Kinlochshiel 1 Glenurquhart 2

If the big game was the Balliemore Cup match against Bert’s Boys at Kirkton , the game that the Wing centre actually went to see was the match at Blairbeg where Hendo’s Heroes managed another creditable win, albeit against a mixed Inverness side which contained some tiddlers-not to say toddlers- up front. Fair play to them they weren’t a bad side and for all the big guns that the Glen had in their armoury, the result reflects quite well on the town team whose hitting impressed the Wing Centre and the revered former President.
In the Glen ranks there was a welcome back to Donald Fraser and “Panda “ Crichton also made a second appearance of the season. Not only that but there was also the welcome re-appearance of Dave Smart in the front line : “Chips” has been sidelined with an injury for the past two weeks but his return and that of Calum “Jock” Fraser gave a bit of bite to a forward line which Beauly found quite straightforward to contain the previous weekend. . The youngsters -having had a hard week of shinty what with travelling down to Kingussie in midweek and returning with a 5-4 win at under 17 level-had to be content with a half about - though content is never the word to describe players who have to step down to let other on for a run. It is however what team rotation is all about and Hendo ,like Benitez is a Spanish sounding name appropriate enough for a supremo.
With Bradley Dickson and Ben Hosie pushing the Inverness defence in the opening quarter it did not take the Glen long to get their noses in front courtesy of a Calum Fraser strike in five minutes. That however was as much as went well for the Glen in the first half and despite a lot of ball being pumped forward Clive Girvan at full back , Kenneth Loades at wing back and “Dink” Fraser in goals did not seem to be too bothered.
Furthermore, Inverness midfielders George Johnstone and especially “Copper” Macdonald were particularly competitive and it took a concentrated effort by the Glen to keep on top of them.
In the second half the Manager brought on two more youngsters for a run-Calum Smith in defence and Ewan Menzies in the front line and both acquitted themselves well- so much so that Ewan makes his way into this weeks headline shot-once more ahead of first teamer Cork who must surely be wondering by now what he has to do to feature as a jpeg. Just you keep playing away well Cork and you are bound to get noticed by the Wing Centre.
Back on the field of play pressure eventually began to tell in favour of the Glen and Dave Smart struck to make the game reasonably secure in 47 minutes. The Glen were perhaps more focused in the second half or it may have been that the young Inverness side tired a little. Whatever the reason , the Glen added two further goals through Ross MacAulay and Andrew “Panda” Crichton though a close range strike in 72 minutes by Fraser Heath reduced the leeway for the town team and spoiled goalie Dave Emery’s hopes of a shut out.
Up at Kirkton in the Balliemore last year’s beaten finalists-as the Press is wont to call us-yes that is us, Glenurquhart produced the Balliemore Cup upset of the day with a fine 2-1 victory against current (that is more correctly former holders) Kinlochshiel-. It has not escaped the Wing Centre’s attention that the Glen have recently revamped their front line having moved defender Gregor McCormack to full forward where his experience and sharp stick work has added a new bite to a front four that last season struggled to score as often as the old gits on the sidelines thought they ought to have.
Glen took the lead in 16 minutes when a drive from wing centre Eddie Tembo put pressure on ‘Shiel keeper Graham Kennedy . As the ball broke from defence, last week’s hat-trick hero Andrew Corrigan was on hand to first time it high into the net for the opener.
For the rest of the first half ,Glen continued to create chances but good defending by Shiel particularly from halfback Finlay Macrae prevented the Drumnadrochit side from adding to their early lead. At the other end, the Glen’s former under 21 international goalkeeper Stuart Mackintosh had to look lively on several occasions to keep his goal intact.
The second half saw a gradual increase in Glen dominance (it has to be said that the WHFP has an entirely different take on this but Mr Reid , whose words the Wing Centre reports verbatim is a fearless and unbiased reporter) and as the Kinlochshiel midfield tired , long hitting by Glen full centre Arran Macdonald began to make a difference to the pattern of play. The second Glen score came in 75 minutes when after a spell of Glen pressure the Shiel defence once again failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Gregor McCormack who tucked it in neatly through a ruck of players .
Kinlochshiel were however not quite finished. Desperate to retain their hold on a trophy which was fast slipping from their grasp they threw defender Finlay Macrae into attack and he it was who provided the cross for Neil Fraser to pull one back in 85 minutes.
“What was it like?” asked the Wing Centre to Mr Reid who appeared from the noise in the background to be partying much harder in the Dornie hotel than is wise for a man of his age.
“It is the sort of goal you go to watch shinty for” said the 77 Vet , thereby proving that he is an honest punter and can tell a gem when he sees it.
It is however with a little trepidation that the Wing Centre can write that young Neil’s goal was too little too late and as the final whistle blew the Glen were once more in the ascendancy.
Why the trepidation? Well ‘Shiel are down here in the League on Saturday and one would hate Mr Reid’s words to fire them up so that they raise their game and start thinking the unthinkable……..
What is even more worrying is that they might not have to raise their game. It is supposed to be wet on Saturday and the fear is that they will feel too much at home , what with Mairi down the road at the Blar and Stevie Callender apparently hoping to be naturalised as a citizen of the Glen.
Perhaps to avoid hassle from Keith and Johnston and especially Bert, the Wing centre should go off to Aberdour with the Heroes

* Many thanks to Tina of Inverness Shinty club for the above snap. have a look at their website at They have even more pictures of the Glen than the Keeper of the D has

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