Monday, August 03, 2009

The Glen up the Tembo to Top Premier League for Two Weeks.

Glenurquhart 1 Fort William 0
Bute 1 Glenurquhart 2

It has been a heady fortnight in Shintyville-By-the-Loch. Both teams have topped their respective leagues and friends of the Glen out on the prairies, in the outback, on the veldt and on the pampas of Patagonia have been ringing up the D with words of congratulation. Naturally the D-meister passed these congratulations on to the guys in question but having taken over a fortnight to recover his power of speech after the wedding he has not been available to pump them out into the blogosphere. Naturally this is going to take two attempts because not only have the first team squad managed to beat Fort William and Bute but the Heroes quickly recovered from their Sutherland disappointment to win over Lovat and Kilmallie.
The Fort William result was one that was hard earned- and clearly given the fact that Gary Innes was also added to Fort’s absentees, fortune was certainly favouring the Glen. Certainly the absence of key players in the Fort side has come for them at a difficult time but truthfully three of the absentees brought matters on themselves through indiscipline. Gary Innes though, happened to be on Lewis on the very afternoon the Almighty decided to teach Calmac a lesson for putting on a Sunday ferry without first asking permission. Naturally the ferry broke down, Gary was late and the Fort consequently were off-key. On the other hand the Glen were still missing Dave “Dixie” Maclennan (he was to have a dramatic return against Bute) while Calum Millar was also carrying a nasty ankle injury which ruled him out.
For the Wing Centre the match was won generally because of the belief and determination shown by the Glen side. Neale Reid, Gregor McCormack , Billy Urquhart and Andrew Corrigan worked tirelessly and constantly pressurised the experienced Fort backs while Eddie Tembo simply enthused the centreline with his commitment. At the back John Barr was immense while Stuart Mackintosh simply stopped everything that came his way. The same was true of Stuart Reid, Dave Girvan, Andrew Macdonald and especially Ali Mackintosh. The goal however that split the teams was in the end all down to technique- and no one has better technique than Lewis Maclennan. He has been playing well in the centreline over the past few weeks- at first timing the ball no one can touch him-but in an attempt to win the match he had been slipped up forward where in 59 minutes he took a dropping ball in the air and fired it past Fort keeper Scott McNeill for the only goal of the game.
The rest of the match continued as before-fierce commitment from both sides- but Fort were not able to make inroads into the Glen defence while at the other end they were rather fortunate to keep the black-and-reds out. The point has to be made that ref Ron Kennedy controlled the game well, keeping a close handle on- let us say- some of the more forceful personalities in yellow shirts. Not that they can be blamed for being forceful: it is what is needed to tip the scales in the big league. It has been present in Kingussie teams, Oban sides and the Bute team. Perhaps the answer is for Glenners to do the same but in a controlled manner. It is only a form of method acting after all.
The Wing Centre did feel sorry for the Fort players though because Big Drew made them sit on the damp grass at the end of the match and gave them all a row, which was a shame because they were all really trying so far as the Wing Centre could see from the sidelines.
The Bute result was perhaps more surprising given that the Glen were held to a draw at home by the men from Rothesay. The Wing Centre, still being in rehab, did not make the game but he asked DP and Eric all about it.
“Pretty tight” was the verdict. “Indeed a draw would not have been an unfair result”
And that is the problem with sport. How well the Glen have played against for instance Kingussie , matching them all the way and then Ronald Ross nips away and scores four or five goals. Here the Glen opened through Dave Maclennan, back after an absence since his eye injury sustained v Lochaber and Neale Reid nabbed a beauty at the end. Bute only scored one.
The Wing Centre managed to procure a copy of “The Buteman”, not an easy task in the Glen where natives of Bute are harder to find than natives of Warsaw, but there he read an account of what appeared to be World War III.
“A LATE winner from Glenurquhart's Neale Reid saw Bute fall to defeat in a dramatic game in Rothesay on Saturday which almost ended in an all-out brawl between the two teams.
The islanders' frustration at enjoying most of the possession and creating the lion's share of the goal scoring opportunities saw the game reach boiling point more than once in the second half, with both teams almost coming to blows on a couple of occasions after a succession of undisciplined and rash tackles.
The game began in the worst possible way for the home side, with Glenurquhart opening the scoring in the second minute after a corner was hit into the D - and despite Bute's stand-in keeper Davie MacDonald putting in a block, the ball fell kindly for MacLennan to tap in the opening goal.
Bute were chasing the game from then on, pushing forward at every possible occasion. Good use was made of the wings in the first half to open the game up and keep their opponents away from the action, with the hosts' first few chances going to Strathie and John McCallum, whose shots went soaring high past Glenurquhart keeper Stuart Mackintosh's goal.
The pressure was mounting as Bute controlled play and continually pushed forward, Robert Walker almost netting an equaliser in the 20th minute after a long shy by team-mate Iain MacDonald saw him go one to one with Mackintosh, only for the Bute player to commit a foul as he was about to take the shot.
Glenurquhart had a couple of decent chances in the half, Andrew Corrigan's shot on goal in the 25th minute after Bute conceded a shy in their half being the most notable.
Bute upped the tempo as the first half neared its end, enjoying some long spells of possession, but it was their final touch which, not for the first time, stopped them levelling the match and taking the lead.
The home forwards were causing plenty of problems for Glenurquhart defenders John Barr Ali Mackintosh and Andrew MacDonald, who were caught off guard on several occasions but just about managed to soak up all the pressure the hosts could apply.
Roberto Zavaroni had the last opportunity of the half for Bute when he attempted to lob Mackintosh from the half way line, his shot sailing just over the bar.
Glenurquhart created the first chance of the second half from a corner, Corrigan's shot going wide, but tempers soon began to rise as the game intensified and took on a more aggressive and rough pace.
Bute soon tried to recapture their hold on the game, Zavaroni hitting another shot just outside the D which again went just wide of the goal.
Glenurquhart, though, seemed to have a new lease of life, creating more chances up front and applying continued pressure on the Bute keeper, and MacLennan almost doubled their lead in the 54th minute after his shots were blocked by MacDonald and defender Brian Liddle, before Corrigan had another opportunity following a good run by Neale Reid down the wing.
One of the best opportunities of the match came in the 74th minute when Reid hit the ball through to MacLennan in the D, and the unmarked Glenurquhart man would certainly have scored but for a last-gasp interception by Graham Fisher.
But with play swinging from end to end and each team turning up the heat on the other's defence, it was clear that frustration was beginning to build amongst the players.
However, all that frustration - in the Bute ranks at least - was forgotten in the 75th minute when Iain MacDonald's shy found Walker, who set off on a blistering run towards the Glenurquhart goal and went head-to-head with a defender before releasing the ball to Strathie, whose thundering shot left with flying into the back of the net.
The goal, though, came at a price for Bute, with Ali Carmichael, who had just come on for David Zavaroni, having to be carried off the pitch after he received a nasty gash to his thigh in the build up to the goal; Carmichael was taken straight to the hospital where he received several stitches.
And the islanders' joy at levelling the scores wasn't to last long: only a minute after Bute's equaliser, Reid took advantage of confusion in the home defence after an altercation between two players in the middle of the field saw the forward take advantage of the distraction, as play had not been stopped by the referee Duncan Kerr.
By now tempers had well and truly reached boiling point, and shortly after the goal half a dozen players got involved in an altercation after a Bute player was fouled, with the substituted Zavaroni even running onto the pitch to confront one of Glenurquhart players.” (The Buteman July 29th 2009- with name corrections inserted)

Now, as a report, that certainly beats the Inverness Courier and the Glen, despite topping the League, can only dream of such coverage in their local rag given that it is obsessed with Caley Thistle and determined to be a “big city” pretendy paper. Bute Shinty Team are indeed lucky to have their exploits so faithfully reported. What wouldn’t the Glen, Strathglass, Beauly and Lovat give for such serious coverage? Well done the Island!
However what the Wing Centre also took out of it was that some of the Bute boys perhaps need to watch their discipline.
Anyway, the wing centre is left with the thought that the Camanachd Semis will feature four teams all of whom Glenurquhart have beaten this season- which is another way of saying that deep down, beneath it all he would trade two maybe all four of these points to see the Glen play in the Camanachd Semis in a fortnight.
The pictures speak for themselves except that Lewis has got his jersey on the wrong way round. At least his Mum will be pleased he is smiling

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