"Over the Moon”: Hendo’s verdict on Kings Result
Glenurquhart 2 Kingussie 1 (North Div 2)
Fort William 1 Glenurquhart 0 (Premier League )
It may have been tantalisingly close for the top team at An Aird but Hendo’s Heroes were over the moon (to coin a recently topical phrase) about their 2-1 home victory of Kingussie’s Borthwick select. They had every right to be because Kingussie put the Glen severely to the test in the second half of a well matched encounter – and even the Wing Centre, utterly biased though he is, has to concede that Kingussie were worth a point.
Equally, down at An Aird, the First Team were worth a point on their second half display and even more so given that Fort were a side a little way short of their full complement. Despite Andrew Macdonald being back in the side after missing out the week before, the Glen did not really shine in the first half. The strong wind blowing in from the west was favoured the home side and they managed to nick the first goal after a slip in the Glen backline allowed Fort’s Chris Bamber to get within range and finish with a strike from 20 yards.
The second half was a different affair and the Glen made plenty headway towards the Fort goal but some fine saves by Scott McNeill and some uncompromising defensive work which to Glen eyes at least went unchecked by the officials meant that the Fort goal remained intact. Best for the red and blacks were the midfield though they took a little time to get the measure of big Niall Macphee. Neale Reid had another good game and Gregor McCormack was always competitive in the forward line- and a good thing too. A pity then for a lost point but the requirement is – as always to score.
Back at Blairbeg it was true to say that the early money must have been on Kingussie because they started with a bang- sweeping the ball forward to big front man Dawson and he was very effective in the early minutes in spreading the ball to the litter of little Borthwicks that swirled around the shop end. The Glen defence of full back Iain Macdonald, wing backs Calum Smith and Donald Fraser were however equal to the task and they quickly got in about the Kingussie forwards and cleared the ball upfield with relish.
The first moment of note from the Glen’s point of view was in 20 minutes when Ben Hosie, back from first team duty against Kingussie’s big team, picked up a ball from a corner but drove narrowly past. Dave Smart then missed in 25 minutes but on the 30 minute mark he made amends when latching on to a long through ball from the excellent Iain Macleod he tucked the ball past the keeper from close range.
Ten minutes later Ewan Menzies pulled down a ball and Smart directed the shot onto the keeper and Ben Hosie followed up into the D to put the rebound into the net and put the Glen two up before the interval. Glen were coasting at this point and with Iain Macdonald and now Gary Smith playing an influential part in the possession of territory it looked as if the Glen would coast to victory.
Kingussie had other plans however and by switching Dawson to full back and bringing on a senior Borthwick – David- at half forward they almost turned the game on its head. That they did not was in no small measure due to the defence but also to the excellence of Iain Macleod at full centre. Macleod has big game experience but he also has determination and plenty skill and for most of the second half he inspired the centre line which, though it played well enough could have let their heads go down if Macleod had not driven them remorselessly on. On numerous occasions he patrolled across to the sideline backing up Euan Fraser and Bradley Dickson when it looked as if old heads like Kingussie’s Russell Jones were beginning to get on top.
Kingussie finally got on the scoreboard however in 67 minutes when a neat piece of interpassing left Rory Borthwick running in to direct the ball past Dave Emery from close range. It was down to good Kingussie play certainly but probably tired legs in the Glen backline contributed more than a little to the lost goal.
Three minutes later the game turned on one incident. With Ryan Borthwick about to shoot he was bravely but illegally impeded by Donald Fraser. Penalty! And unusually in the arcane world of shinty decision making it was rightly given.
Up stepped Ryan Borthwick, himself back from duties in Kingussie’s top team, and after a little hesitation he hit it goal wards but not hard enough. Dave Emery made yet another penalty stop and with that close call over the game was won. Indeed the Glen would have gone further ahead in the last ten minutes except for an amazing stop from a drive by Ewan Brady by the young Kingussie keeper Menzies.
The full time whistle blew and Major- General Emery marched the troops off the field and into history which was the point of the pic which accompanies this post. However the pic of the penalty king himself is spoiled by that of the young – and old – meercats who popped up into view as the snap was being clicked. If it wasn’t for the fact it was the 21st century you would be tempted to believe you were back in the 1860s doing an anthropological shoot amongst a tribe which had never seen a camera before. Only kidding guys.....