Saturday, September 06, 2008

Hendo’s Heroes : A Satisfying Blend of Youth and Middle-age

Division 3
Glenurquhart 8 Strathglass 1

Having been held over from last Saturday when Strathglass had too many youngsters away with a youth team to put out a side , this game was squeezed in on Wednesday night. In the event there was just enough light for it to be completed and it was good of ref. James Gallagher (Lovat) to help the clubs get this fixture out of the way. In a sense the timing worked both for and against the Glen.
On the one hand players like Andrew Crichton and Roger Grant were unable to be present due to work commitments: on the other there was an opportunity for unlisted senior players to have a run out on the field.
In the end Manager Henderson went for a mixture of youth and age on the field giving a run to Calum Fraser, Gregor McCormack and Calum Miller for a part of the evening while always keeping his eye on young players like Ross Macfarlane who came on in the second half. Calum Smith , at wing back, has been more or less a fixture all season and his no-nonsense attitude to holding down the wing back berth shows his development as a player.
The night began on a sombre note with a minute’s silence in memory of both the former Strathglass youth player Graham Mackenzie who died in a tragic accident earlier in the week and Glenurquhart (Strathdearn 1977) player Davie Morrison who died suddenly in Aberdeen the week before . However the night was lit up by three sparkling performances which are worthy of note.
The first was that of five goal hero Ben Hosie. Ben took his five goals excellently and was always looking to play constructive shinty, moving the ball into space and going for a return. He likes to control the ball and turn to lay it off. He also has a touch of the predator’s instinct liking to follow up on the ball and some of his strikes over the evening were severely classy.
Hosie opened the scoring in 10 minutes having nipped on to a through ball from Calum Miller . Twenty minutes later he was again on hand to clean up matters after Calum Fraser’s shot had been smothered by Strath keeper Davie Stirling.
Glen then went through a period of lethargy in which the young Strath team could have come back had their shooting been more accurate. It didn’t help their cause however that keeper Dave Emery was in sparkling form for, well, most of the first half. He had a series of good stops including one rocket shot which he diverted nonchalantly with the heel of his club and a number of others which he swept away wide. However, he did concede in 43 minutes- a bad time to lose a goal - when Ally Macadam, who was having a tidy game on the wing nicked one on target.
The half time score reflected well on the young Strath side - the Wing Centre liked the contribution of Seth Jones, Mark Macleod and young Balharry while in Mark McLaughlin they have more or less the finished article. That they were unable to penetrate more thoroughly was due to the fact that the Glen backbone of more experienced players could contain their youthful enthusiasm. Talking of youthful enthusiasm ,didn’t Roy Mackenzie put in a fair shift at buckshee until old Father Time eventually beckoned him to the bench of repose. Roy and shinty are synonymous in the Strath : he is in danger of becoming an institution, though sometimes when he takes the craze on the field - thankfully he is mellowing with age - you feel he needs to be locked up in one!
The second half went totally with the Glen. and was notable for a fine hat-trick from Stuart Morrison who finally got his shots on target though he would forgive the mention of one ball blasted massively over the bar.
Morrison struck his first in 50 mins after good work from Hosie and picked up his second in 58 mins. with another fine strike
Ben Hosie then completed his hat-trick in 61mins while Morrison did the same five minutes later, running the ball through the demoralised Strath defence to slip it past the young keeper. The last two goals fell to the predatory caman of Ben Hosie in 75 and 80minutes respectively, one of them being a particularly fine drive into the roof of the net after good work by Ross Macfarlane and Bradley Dickson.
The player the Wing Centre liked best on the turf was David Smart : he handled his midfield role well and with his good stick control and shinty brain he added a touch of style to the side. Davie Stewart, Gary Mackintosh , Ross MacAulay, Garry Smith and Ewan Fraser also turned in solid performances and hopefully they came through the match without injury in time for Kincraig this week.
Overall for the Glen it was a good win and a necessary one. Again they are in the position that, if the nerve is kept, a trophy is available. Now is the time for all hands on deck.
The picture? Having featured Bennie earlier in the season, the pic simply had to be one of the hat-trick hero himself, Mr Morrison.

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