Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Quality Seconds

Glenurquhart 4 Beauly 0
While the top side have been basking in their winning ways- and the Wing Centre does not just mean winning the tosses, though that has to be credited as a winning habit too -the second team has shown that they too have some quality about them as well.
The pleasing thing is that the side is scoring goals and given that the first team is playing a goodly number of hard , high intensity matches , the presence of a competitive second squad is extremely useful should the need arise. It would be a pity to reach a final or move towards a big match and find the top team down a player or two because of a injury and to think that there is no-one down below who could not do a job if called upon. With a second team playing at this standard the overall health of the club is improved and long may it continue to be so.
The first game in the above list- a 4-0 win against Beauly at Blairbeg was a nice competitive game to watch. Beauly are no mugs and truth to tell the Glen were lucky to steal a win over at Braeview a few weeks earlier. That came via a long midfield drive from Matthew Clark : this time the forward line- Calum “Jock” Fraser , Ben Hosie and “Chips” Smart were bolstered by “Panda“ Crichton who has been newly recaptured from the wild. Now “Panda” played briefly at Beauly in the first game but he is now back in the side on a regular basis and is showing that for all that he is a big lad he has a deft touch on the club. When he hits a ball , it stays hit.
The first half was an even affair with not much evidence in the way of there being a Glen breakthrough, and much of the interest was in the little duels between players in various parts of the field one of which between Glen’s Calum Smith and the Green’s Orrin Macpherson was a particularly well matched tussle.
The opening Glen goal came from Calum “Jock” Fraser when he latched on to a ball from David Smart and finished nicely to put the Glen one up. Some nice interplay between “Panda” , “Jock “ and Bradley Dickson a few minutes later doubled the Glen lead. In 61 minutes it was “Panda” Crichton who hit the third goal and the Glen ran out comfortable 4-0 winners when Ben Hosie scored with a neat tap into the corner of the net in 80 minutes. Ben is a touch player and it has been heartening to note how he appears to get better every week as he becomes more used to the pace and physical contact of the senior game.

Glenurquhart 3 Fort William 5 (Strathdearn Cup)
It was disappointing to lose out in this match but when one considers that not only did Fort William have Camanachd Cup winning veterans Deke Cameron, Victor Smith and Willie Macdonald in their side , but they are also managed by that star of Youtube Willie Anderson then the Glen should feel happy they were able to compete and they managed to give the Fort a fright. It is funny how the Fort seem to think they have a divine right to win in the lower league. With the Glen on the attack after half time it was only good fortune that the Fort goalie - a good young player - stopped a rocket shot from Calum Fraser with his face. If that had gone in then who knows?
Indeed the Glen had been ahead of Fort until the last minute of the first half though that was after a bad start in 22 minutes when the ball broke off Donald Fraser’s stick and gave the Fort their opener. Panda Crichton levelled matters in 25 minutes with a 35 yard volley and Ben Hosie put the Glen in the lead with a neat push into the net in 32 minutes. It was Michael Slezes who saved Fort’s interval blushes when , having slipped away from marker Matthew Clark , he managed to slide the ball past Gary Mackintosh in goal.
In the second half Fort rang some changes and pushed Deke Cameron up front to support Victor Smith and he scored in 47 minutes but Calum Fraser first struck the goalie on the face and then a few minutes later equalised from the edge of the D.
Willie Macdonald then went crazy. Now all backs claim every goal given against them cannot be because they were too slow to get out and cover, it naturally must have come about because the forward was off side- but to go on about it after the ref has given the goal and warned you and to continue to abuse the goal judge is bad judgement. The hope is that deep down within himself Willie realises this too.
At the other end Deke was doing an Acapulco diving scenario every time anyone came near him. He has been the Drogba of shinty for many years but down in the wee divisions the refs are not fly to him . Indeed he himself is a decent ref now and it is time he was warning himself about his capers- for all that he took a nice goal in 60 minutes. Victor Smith made the tie secure in 75 with a very nice finish.
Make no bones about it, this Fort William side are good ; leaving aside the goalkeeper - young Walker at wing centre caught the eye, but had the Glen seconds actually bothered to train en bloc- which they probably would have done if this had not been a first round tie - then a real upset would have been on the cards. The guys ran out of puff in the second half -there is nothing else to say about matters than that.

Strathglass 1 Glenurquhart 6
Strathglass were actually in with a shout in this game in the early stages but in the end ran out of ideas against a competent Glen side. The hero of the first half was Ben Hosie whose intelligent ball play-he always wants to work the ball-made this a true shinty spectacle. He hit three goals in the first half all of which were well taken. His first came in 2 minutes , the second in 10 and the third in 35 and only a strike from Alistair Macadam in 18 was there to save Strath blushes.
If Strath had a shout it was at the start of the second half when Raymond Fraser put a little pressure on the Glen defence but Dave Emery stood up to the task and big Ian Macdonald was steadfast in his resistance as were Calum Smith and Ewan Fraser. Eventually in 60 minutes, with Strathglass’s Dads Army defence of Stewart Geddes, David Balharry and Roy Mackenzie beginning to run out of puff because of the constant running of Ben Hosie , “Panda” Crichton and Calum “Jock” Fraser, the Glen scored a fourth. Wing centre Ross MacAulay , who has been playing consistently all season, played a high ball in on the Strath goal which dipped in under Allan Macleod’s bar at the last second. Calum “Jock” Fraser grabbed the 5th goal in 70 minutes after running on to a through ball from Gary Smith. The big forward slowed to steady himself and simply smashed the ball past the helpless Macleod.
By this stage Bradley Dickson was on the field and the Glen threatened to run riot ; that they did not was largely due to the work of Michael Stokes and Mark Macleod who both put in good shifts at buckshee back and wing centre respectively.
If “Jock’s” shot was a rocket, then “Panda’s” final goal jumped a time zone. In 75 minutes he found himself in the clear out from the penalty spot and drove home what in Balmacaan Road would be known as a rasper.
So here it is- quality seconds- and plenty young lads waiting to come in. The thing they need to do is train. Keep the nerve and put in the work and the Sutherland is a possibility. It is a pity about the Strathdearn but it would be good laugh to take the Sutherland away from Deke and the Divers

In the pic, Calum Jock demonstrates to Deke what real diving -not phoney , false diving -is all about. Now that's what the Wing Centre calls diving!

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