Saturday, July 26, 2008

A La Recherche du Temps Perdu

Glenurquhart 1 Inverness 1
A great deal has happened in the world of Glen shinty and beyond since the Wing Centre last put electronic traces upon his hard disk. For one thing he’s been in France for a break, hence the title of this blog and given what happened on the hallowed turf while he was away, it is long overdue that the good days come back. It would be hard to survive a winter when the good times stopped in June.
However, in the cold light of day there has really only been one thing to be seriously disappointed about- and that was the 3-2 defeat by Skye in the semi of the Balliemore. There was never really going to be a serious chance-with the injuries coming in on the team in the way they have recently that-we would beat Newtonmore on the Eilean in the Camanachd. At Blairbeg, like we did two years ago it is possible that we would give them a fright-no more. At the highest level you need to score goals seriously well. The Glen can score goals but not enough of them and in the end that is what matters.
So what about the Skye result? That the Wing Centre was seriously upset about the result is obvious from the fact that he could not bring himself to write about the match or indeed shinty for three weeks. Doubtless the WHFP wrote an excellent report but as for the Wing Centre, the words would not come. Disappointing, no doubt but the result is one which the boys have not quite come to terms with yet though there are plenty league games left to play. The side was bound to be defeated at one point- a shame it was this match and truthfully the Glen had the pressure but Jamie Gannon in the Skye goal had an excellent afternoon but that is what he is there for.
What made it worse for the Wing Centre was the fact that the collection on the day was a good one and had to be split with the Sgiathanachs. Was the Treasurer ever so reluctant to let that cash go? If Hazel had not insisted , he would never have paid up. Indeed he eventually sent it to them and enclosed the following letter:

Dear Sgiathanachs,
It is with a heavy heart we write this letter to send you some money given that you beat us in the
Balliemore. The figures are as follows;
The collection = £178.20
DA Fraser’s fee = £ 26.00
Which means there was =£152.20 Left over
Which then means we owe you = £ 76.10
So we now enclose a cheque for said amount, though there is a feeling among a minority of
Glenners that we should keep the 10p as an administration fee. However, the Macdonalds among us in
solidarity with the Uist Clan Ranalds in your own team objected to this -so you’re getting the full
amount. We are writing this in a very small type so you will find it hard to read.
Yours in despair,
The Men of the Glen

On reflection however it is just as well to come to terms with what happens in sport -let’s get over it and move on and enjoy our shinty. Let’s get the good times back.
Which is why the Wing Centre has included at the top of the article some cheery photos of Cork and Booboo as well as the Maclennan Bros and their new hairdos. Enjoy!
The Inverness game however was anything but enjoyable though Stevie Munro in the Inverness goal was smiling like a Cheshire cat all though the second half as the Glen bombarded the shop and the advertising boards with shots while strangely ignoring Stevie between the sticks. Trouble was, when he was called upon to make a save, he did it. He must now join Archie Ritchie and Jamie Gannon in the ranks of goalies who have irritated the Glen. The game started off well enough from a Glen point of view with good movement up front and it appeared that chances would soon begin to fall. True enough they did but it was to Inverness that the most obvious one came. In 16 minutes Arran MacMaster got on the end of a ball and though his shot was nicely saved by Stuart Mackintosh in goal, Fraser Macdonald turned the ball in at the post to put the Town 1-0 up.
The Glen were indeed fortunate at this juncture that Andrew Macdonald was having a superb game because the Inverness midfield, especially through young Drew Howie and Davie Glass were beginning to tighten a grip in midfield. Fortunately however, that did not last and the Glen began to mount assaults on the Inverness goal. Sadly much of the effort they put in resulted in balls flashing over the bar or past the post.
If the first half was bad the second half was more troublesome for the Men of the Glen. It looked as if it might be good when Gregor McCormack fired a shot off the post and then in 60 minutes Neale Reid popped a ball across the face of the D , for Lewis Maclennan to volley into the net for an excellent goal. But there the needle stuck. The Glen kept up a constant barrage on the Inverness goal-the mathematicians on the line counted 37 shots at goal of which Stevie M had to save three. Ben Hosie came on up front and hit the best strike of the day and naturally Stevie Munro palmed it past the post. It is pointless to list the chances which the Glen forwards contrived to miss-not even the introduction of John Barr up front could do anything to overcome a resolute Inverness defence in which David Nielsen, Fraser Stoddart, Danny Polombo and Jason Macleod showed they were willing to die for the cause.
Indeed it is the Wing Centre’s judgement that the Town are a good steady side, much in need of a goal scorer and three weeks of serious training plus a visit from a sports psychologist to instil some self belief.- but then that is their problem. It is a fact though that a strong Town team or indeed even the very existence of a Town team is a political requirement for shinty‘s survival and the Wing Centre does not grudge them their point on that very basis alone. Indeed the Camanachd Association should look seriously to strengthening the profile and position of shinty in Inverness -but then that is a whole other article.
For the Glen the lesson of the Inverness game must be that you need hard work and dedication to keep winning. Heads must come up and , with a little luck, the good times will come back.

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