Friday, April 17, 2009

Kingussie Monarchs of the Glen-Sort of

Glenurquhart 1 Kingussie 3
At a time when only Astie seems constant as the northern star in the changing firmament of the stick sport it is a disappointment to the Wing Centre that Kingussie can somehow manage a win at Blairbeg no matter how short we make the pitch. It might have been thought that having dropped a game to Kyles that Gow’s men were not at their best-indeed perhaps were past their best. Not quite so- and although the Glen gave them a game of it, the effort was sadly not quite good enough.
The Glen started the match minus three players-Paul Mackintosh looks to be a long term doubt with a muscle injury while Dave Maclennan and his cousin Lewis also missed starting the match being less than 100% fit. Calum Miller booked a starting berth in the full forward position while 16 year old Drew Maclennan was pulled out of the 2nd team to counter the threat of Kingussie’s teenage hat-trick hero of their match against ’Shiel Ryan Borthwick.
The first half was an entertaining affair and there was not much between the sides, though Ally Borthwick should have scored for Kingussie but took too long to get his shot away over on the right and the chance was lost. The same was equally true at the other end when Neale Reid went close with a drive : as the Beauly man said “If it gone in the net, it would have been a goal.” Suppose it would but it wasn’t .
Towards the end of the half there began to be ominous signs of progress from the Kingussie forwards and they began to win a free hit or so and one supposes that Referee John Macphee was correct in some of these decisions because Ronald Ross is such an awkward player that it is not possible to deal with him for a full match without conceding fouls, though Ronald, bless him, always lets the man in black know when he is being tackled. It is part of being competitive. He is not as expert at this craft as is Ally Borthwick however. If he gets on the ball and is put under pressure he runs across the opposing player then over he goes and appeals to the ref for mercy and a foul. He is good at it and while its not as though he does it every move he appears to do it often enough to play a successful percentage game and earn himself the title of the “Drogba of the D.”
Maybe it doesn’t seem like that to the Dellboys but that’s what it looks like through black and red specs.
Not so Paul Gow who is a 100% player. On Saturday’s performance he is invaluable in attitude alone. He put in a shift all afternoon, did not go down when he didn’t need to and looked to the Wing Centre like the glue holding the Kingussie forward line together.
As usual though it was Ross who got the opening goal. A penalty was given after a tangle with John Barr - the feeling on the Glen sidelines was that Ross was lucky to be given it though given the pressure and the power of the challenges a penalty was always a possibility.
It was given and Ross blasted it home.
Glen eyes lit up however two minutes later when Calum Miller latched on to a long ball from the Glen defence, prevented Rory Fraser from clearing it and with goalkeeper Andrew Borthwick somehow out of position pushed it home to level the scores. If truth be told a good goal for the Glen but from a Kingussie perspective it must be seen as soft.
The second half was an anticlimax from a Glen point of view. Having gone in 1-1 and shooting towards the shop end, the spectators must have felt confident that a second half at least as exciting as the opening period would be on the cards. It wasn’t.
The Glen went about their business well enough but gradually began to lose focus without Kingussie ever really impressing. Ally Borthwick put Kingussie ahead in 50 minutes with a drive from the right that eluded the defence and then the match settled to a rather scrappy affair without much in the way of clear-cut chances though it was a concern that Glen attacks did not really make keeper Andrew Borthwick work between the posts.
Ronald Ross got his second goal when a ball broke into his path and such is his technical ability that nearly everything he hits it on target : this strike went home without ever being a classic. Glen revived their fortunes bringing on the two Maclennans, Lewis and Dixon, and for a while the focus of the match switched to the Kingussie defence where the nature of the desperation in the back row saw Kingussie full centre James Maclean take a nasty hit off one of his own defenders.
By that time however, the Wing Centre had given up on the chance of a Glen victory and was phoning Hendo to see how the Heroes were doing. An impressive 5-0 against Beauly in the Sutherland with two strikes by Brad and goals from Panda Crichton, Ben Hosie and Ewan Brady.
Before we know it Big Mike will be practising an inspiring pre-match talk and Hendo will start wearing ties to training sessions. It’s all getting too much.
Back at Blairbeg the game stuttered to a halt with a flurry of half hearted Glen pressure but in the end Kingussie made off with both points.
If there was a consolation in it for the Glen it was in the performance of the defence. John Barr was at his most commanding - he is a formidable player for the big occasion - while Stuart Reid, Andrew Macdonald and of course Drew Maclennan played their parts admirably.
The pic has to be Mr Barr - and the other a snap of Jim Gow and Michael Thain discussing the Lorne Sausage pieces that they have just enjoyed. The girls in the pavilion told the Wing Centre they had sold out of Lorne Sausage, a thing unheard of in North Division 1 where venison burgers are the scoff of choice. From the look of the pic we know where the sausages went..

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