Friday, March 20, 2009

Charlie is Lovat’s Darling but Glenners take both points.

Lovat 0 Glenurquhart 1
The gaps between the games and the reports are getting longer but if the Wing Centre is honest there are so many crazy things going on in the world of shinty today that sometimes reflecting on a game - especially one as dour as this one was- is quite hard to do. As the former Finanace Convenor himself said the other day in a forum where these things were being discussed “Losing one director is unfortunate; losing two looks a little careless, but losing three - that has to be verging on the criminal” Hard to see where they are going to get the directors from to replace the ones who are missing what with all the volunteers working hard at their own clubs to try to raise the money to pay the fines for not being able to provide refs and goal judges.
Still we love the sport and there is nothing that Hendo and his heroes like more than a victory on foreign soil - not that the rich farming lands of the Kiltartans proud is foreign soil except that it was nice to go over Culnakirk en masse and enjoy the peace and quiet while the crofters themselves were over in Beauly fighting with and losing to the gutter-sparrows.
To be fair to both sides though - and that is a rare declaration of intention from this writer- the game was spoiled as a spectacle by the fact that the wind was howling down from Strathglass for the full ninety minutes making it very much , to steal a cliché, a “game of two halves”
The first half belonged wholly to the Glen. With Iain Macdonald and Iain Macleod pumping long balls forward it appeared odds on that the red and blacks would quickly be into double figures while the few Lovat attempts to break free petered out at the Glen halfback line where Gary Smith was in charge of the iron curtain. Except at the Lovat end, the Glen forwards who were playing some nice stuff found Charlie Mainland in excellent form. For once, Charlie, who is prone to charging off his line like a stag making for high ground, was disciplined. He kept between the posts and got his club to a series of shots from Ben Hosie, Stuart Morrison and Dave Smart.
Finally in 27 minutes the Glen got the opening goal. The hope was that it was the start of the floodgates opening but in truth it was the decider, fortunately enough. It came about from Ewen “Boo-Boo” Fraser who, though he hasn’t been mentioned up till now, had been playing a stormer up till this point. On several occasions, despairing of the efforts of the front men, he made runs down the right wing with the ball and this time he burst through the Lovat defence straight to the by-line before cutting the ball back into the path of Calum Fraser who rifled his shot high into the net.
After that there was little to do but walk around the field, put some money in the collection and talk to the loyal Lovat fans who were gobsmacked as we all were, with the news coming from the Dell and Spean. On the other hand, they were not gobsmacked with the news that Lorne had been dismissed at Beauly.
The second half was the mirror image of the first, although with the aid of black and red specs it was possible to imagine that the Glen had a chance or two which Supercharlie was quick to stop crossing the line. For the record, “Boo- Boo” had to come off and was replaced by Brad Dickson who played well on the right hand side. As well as Brad, the Glen also made use of youngsters like Ewen Menzies Drew Maclennan and for his first start in the black and red, Ewan Brady.
Unfortunately despite the best efforts of Iain Macleod and Ross Macaulay against the wind it was very rare that a ball came up front with them having any hope of getting on to it.
At the other end Lovat pushed forward but they found Donald Fraser and Iain Macdonald in total command while Dave Emery, though he wasn’t tested as he was against Fort William was in fine form. He did do a Charlie however on one occasion and came charging out of his goal and despite slipping, managed to sclaff the ball out of danger - just.
“We’ll lend you the rope we used to use on Charlie” said Linda Bell “one of those rubber ones used in bungee jumping. It’s the only way we could keep him in between the goals”
“Good idea” said Mr Reid. “But what is it about goalies?”
The rest of the Glenners paused to consider the question but soon realised it could not be answered.
With Lovat pressing hard, the Wing Centre wandered round the field to see the Lovat managers and if possible keep them talking so they would not think about any tactical changes that might undo the Glen. Willie Mainland and Alan Macrae are both sociable fellows but while they were quite willing to shoot the breeze they still kept an eye on the game and continued to make changes - none of which fortunately made any difference.
The game finished 1-0 and if there was anything else to add it was that referee Deke Cameron had a good game. Hard to say - even harder to bear - but nevertheless, still true. Poachers do make the best gamekeepers.
Hard to find an appropriate picture – but perhaps Ross at Balgate is as good a pic as could be got on the day. Don't know how the Lovat number 13 - a mini me indeed- managed to pop out of the back of Ross's shirt though! He is wearng a mouthguard too- and that should be a lesson to all you youngsters out there!!

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