Friday, May 16, 2008

To Aberdour and Bust (the Window!)

The Wing Centre was unable to go to Aberdour but he had thought he would have some fun with a posting. Indeed he had started work on a long ballad in the Auld Scots Style filled with allusions to Mr Bell as the “eldern knight,” “the blude red wine” of the managers and Sir William Reid as the “skeely skipper” in charge of the minibus on this hazardous voyage to Fife. The whole point was of course to get in a reference to the line “Half ower half ower to Aberdour” which appears in the original Scots ballad, “Sir Patrick Spens.” That’s right the one you did not bother to listen to when you were in school.
But then all of a sudden there was no need to bother. Ping!
Into his mail box popped the piece below, written in the style of the blog- but by whom? The Yahoo e mail address was anonymous and so there was no saying who had actually written the piece. What bothered the Wing Centre was the fact that the style was precisely accurate.
“Is the style of the Blog so easy to rip the p*** out of” he replied to the anonymous Yahoo-er.
“Not just the Blog, Wing Centre, you as well” was the reply from Mr Nobody.
There is no point in arguing with someone who is not there and so without further ado-here is the voyage to Aberdour in the Kingdom.

Aberdour 0 Glenurquhart 4
It was with some trepidation that Hendo’s heroes headed for Fife on Saturday to fulfil the 2nd round Sutherland Cup draw, against the unknown quantity of the relatively new club Aberdour.
Mr Reid was contacted at a very early stage in the week leading up to this game, and was taken aback by the organisation of this outfit. Used to the Friday night phone call from some of the North’s more senior clubs the communication from Aberdour nearly had Mr Reid falling off his couch. A number of questions and a host of information came from their Chairman, Mr Fred Mathieson.
The one that touched Mr Reid most deeply was
“ Do you think your boys will be likely to stay at all after the game?”
“Stay” exclaimed Mr Reid, “ you’ll be lucky if you get rid of them by Tuesday!”
It was a somewhat changed band of heroes that headed down the A9 from the side which had turned out the previous week. With a number of players unavailable for selection from the previous Saturday, some reshuffling was going to be required. This week only Bradley Dixon and Calum Smith could be claimed as falling into the youth category, but they also welcomed Garry Mac and Rodger Grant back from injuries
Given the lack of youth in the side, the management were somewhat concerned with the overall pace of the squad, and their fears were to be realised early on when the bus
stopped at the greasy spoon in Balinluig and at least six full breakfasts were spotted.
It would appear that the Dr Whyte diet decreed for first team consumption was by no means suitable for the Heroes.
Eventually they arrived in Aberdour, after finally
realising that the “railway Bridge”, Fred had said to look out for was not that of the “Forth” variety. They quickly realised too that some of their opposition were Scottish Internationalists, Yes, Female shinty internationalists - players with plenty experience. This was met with yet more trepidation-what would happen if these chicks beat them. Embarrassing or what . Despite the initial hesitation of his heroes , Mr Reid and Hendo were not for wimping out and the players were quickly told to get on with it.
Wherever a new shinty team starts up in the south, it is always interesting to carry out some background info on how things started. No explanation was necessary on this occasion however, as the familiar figure of Jack Asher was spotted in the foreground. A quote from the sideline banter came from Fred, when he said that Jack had told him once: “ Listen Fred, the whole world wants to play shinty, they just don’t know it yet”! If you could take a small proportion of Jack’s enthusiasm for the game and inject it into some of the youngsters of today, shinty would be much the better for it.
The match itself got going with the home side playing the best of the shinty, and all Hendo’s fears were realised early on. The Glen were being shown up in terms of fitness and they received a lesson in how to play shinty for the first 20 minutes. Some major re-shuffling was needed in the middle of the field to try and keep the home side at bay. After the “non full breakfast participants” were moved into the centre line, the Glen started to tighten things up a bit. However, most of the early chances fell to Aberdour, through strong play from Calum Shaw at full centre and Ally Hutt at buckshee forward. Many of the chances went a begging however, and Monkey made a number of amazing stops in the Glen goal.
An injury to Aberdour full back John MacLachlan midway through the first half, could be argued as the turning point in the game. Rather than moving the injured player, Ally Hutt took up the dual role of both forward and defender, and with only the likes of Kingussie’s Davie Anderson, having ever made this a success, it was a role too far for the impressive Hutt.
The stalwarts from the Glen put this decision down to inexperience, and probably something the Young Fifers will learn from for the future. The pace of the Aberdour players certainly caused the Glen real problems throughout the game, and Booboo Fraser must have thought narcotics had been taken because of the constant running of Ross Nicol at wing centre. Forest Gump wouldn’t stand a chance against this kid! Eventually the Glen began to get the ball up to their forwards, and on 37 minutes “Panda” Crichton, gave Tom Bowerman no chance in the home Goal.
The nerves of the away team, and that of poor Hendo were eased just after half time when “Panda” again found his range and sent a strike high into the roof of the Aberdour net. Panda’s shooting certainly poses a threat to the opposition - not to mention the windows of the bus- and if he can improve his fitness and overall play, this animal shows good promise and should create competition for places up front.
Early in the 2nd half, a tiring Mathew Clark was replaced by the returning Rodger Grant, and his fitness and strength helped to shore up the team, and finally the Glen started to settle.
Lisa Norman at buckshee back began to find Stuart Morrison’s distribution hard to deal with, and in 62mins, he was rewarded with a goal from his own build up play, this finishing the game off as a contest. The Glen could have been more had it not been for the excellent work of Fraser Mathieson at wing back, and saves from goalie, Tom Bowerman. On one occasion the excellent Aberdour keeper went on a mazy run out of defence after a fine save, whereby he was promptly told by his player coach; “Well done Tom. Now get back in your cage”!
Lisa probably did not realise the irony of her remark what with the Glen having a Monkey in “the cage” at the other end, and a Panda firing shots at her poor keeper!
Mid way through the 2nd half, Garry Mac was brought on at full back, and this released Grant into wing centre and in turn Calum Jock up front, who in 83 minutes hit the best strike of the game, and made it four.
The message from the stalwarts at the game was, that Chips put in a sterling effort in trying to keep Calum Shaw at bay, but other than that, the only hero was the one in the picture, who drove the bus! The other heroes of course were Aberdour, and the score line was flattering to say the least towards the Glen. Fred, Lisa and Co, must be congratulated in what they have achieved with this squad, and they are a real credit to the game. The stalwarts wish to thank their hosts for their great hospitality, and hope to meet up with them again in the future.
The lesson from Fife was that if this Glen team wants to achieve success this season, they are going to have to cut back on the fry ups, and improve on their fitness levels. They will not get away with it in Aberdeen on Saturday, because there they will have to face the most famous runner the Glen has yet produced in the shape of Jamie Bell. But then his Mam is a wifie fae Fife and ,on the evidence of the Aberdour females in the team, that is where he got his running from.

Aberdour Team:
1 Tom Bowerman (GK)
2 Ross Nicol (Wing Centre - it's a lucky shirt number thing)
3 John MacLachlan (FB)
4 Fraser Mathieson (FB)
5 Lisa Norman (HB)
6 Alistair Shaw (HB)
7 Calum Shaw (Full Centre)
8 Katy Smith (Wing Centre)
9 Ally Hutt (Half Forward)
10 Doug Newsom (Half Forward)
11 David Rogers (Wing Forward)
12 Joe Dunton (Full Forward)

The forwards move about a lot (except maybe Joe) as tactics or necessity require, so whether they were a square, a diamond or an irregular polygon would be hard to say).


Ruaridh Reid (came on for Joe)
Amy MacDonald (not used)
Fred Mathieson

There it is , just as it came in, along with the picture of Mr Reid himself surprised that he has actually found Aberdour. He seemingly had no trouble finding Ballinluig.
As for the parallel Blog writer , there has been no further word as to his identity . The rumour from the Blar is that they are all in there practicing the style now, which can only be greeted as good news for the arty part of Drum but presumably regarded as a mark of shame up the Glen

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