Thursday, September 17, 2009

Glen are New Kings on the Dell – and will the Camanachd go to the Old Forts?

North Division 2
Kingussie 1 Glenurquhart 7
In the week of the Camanachd Cup final, it is a little parochial to be celebrating this result. There’s no point in not being honest – the eyes of the shinty world were not on Hendo’s Heroes last weekend as they travelled through to the Dell to take on the might of the Kings number 2s. Even the guys on the field went there in full knowledge that the biggest game at their level was taking part at the Bught Park and that the real game of shinty was a week away.
Still with a number of youngsters on the field- Ewan Menzies, Calum Smith, Ross MacDiarmid, Ewan Brady and Sam Cumming to name but five- it was not a side stuffed with unnamed seniors who made the trip to the High Chaparral. At the end the result was highly satisfying though the price which was paid- a broken thumb with six weeks on the sidelines for Ross MacAulay- seems rather a high one given that Ben Hosie is off to the States, Gary Mackintosh is sidelined and Drew Maclennan has a serious ankle injury. Hendo must now be beginning to feel what Fort boss Drew MacNeil was feeling half way through the season when he had half his top side out with injury. At least Drew got the guys back in time for the final while Hendo certainly faces the prospect of playing Cabers, Glengarry and Newtonmore with a depleted squad.
Still let’s celebrate the achievement while we can - though if reports coming from the Dell are anything to go by it took the Glen a fair time to sew up the game. The Dell though received the highest of praise - for its top class playing surface – if only Blairbeg could be looked after with the care and attention that Michael Clarke bestows on the Dell – and despite the Wing Centre’s misgivings about the journey down the A9, the well kept grass seemed to suit the Glen.
The opening goal was down to a neat finish from Calum Fraser and Billy Urquhart bagged the second before the half way break. The disappointing thing for the management however was that there were many other chances, which went a-begging in the first half.
The second half followed a similar pattern but the Glen did double their tally through a nice goal from David Smart and yet another strike from Calum Fraser. Then hold the back page - Stuart Morrison -they have to start him by hand these days - came on to the field for the first time since the Sutherland semi and within 15 minutes he had smashed in a hat-trick of beauties. Davie Anderson – yes Superdave himself –was the Kingussie marksman. It is possible Kingussie were a little understrength given that they had to cover for Andrew Borthwick and James Hutchison in the top team but somehow I doubt if Craig Dawson would have kept the Glen score down.
The title dream remains alive however – and the only thing to do now is keep focused.

That is what Kyles have to do this week too. Who is going to win?
The Wing Centre is a great fence sitter – and this is no different though the snaps, which introduce this blog, have a Kyles theme. Why – because back in the day (1994 to be exact) when Kyles won the Scottish last, they scraped past the Glen in the semi after extra time and for those youngsters who have never played a Camanachd Semi - and that means all of you including Smack and Mr Barr - here are pics which show your two managers in the thick of the action that day at Mossfield. How the Glen lost that game the Wing Centre will never know but lose it Glen did.
The other Kyles link with a glorious Glen past was taken by photographer Donald Mackay-how did he get that red tinge in the sky- on Saturday 17th August 1985 when the Glen played Kyles in an exhibition match to mark the centenary of the founding of Glenurquhart Shinty Club. Kenny Macdonald, Kyles’ goalie, is still between the posts, which might give you an idea of how slow time moves in Tighnabruaich. The presence of Stuart Morrison hat-trick hero of last week might equally say the same about the Glen - though the presence of his dad Graham in the same team also says a lot for the continuity of the game.
This was of course not the game in Tighnabruaich in 1979 where DP lost his contact lens occasioning a search of the end nearest the road. Two teams on their knees conducting a forensic search was a sight to behold and perhaps forget. Sadly, the lens was unfound - it remained unfound two years ago when for old times sake a few of that squad had a wee search for the lens. Then to complete the link the Glen took Davie MacVicar on to its books and he stayed for a wee while before going off to Skye in search of midgies more like the ones he left behind in Cowal.
Besides those deep links with Kyles, the only connection with Fort William is that the Wing Centre once saw Jock Sneddon buying chips down at the Drum Chippy- and it’s hard to build a relationship on that basis alone.
Who does the Wing Centre tip to win? The Fort that’s who. Why?
They have the injured guys and the suspended guys back at the right time - though how sharp Clark is there is no telling - and more importantly if the D didn’t back the Fort, then there would be no chance of Gary Innes coming up to play the box at the Hogmanay do. In the interests of Glen community solidarity it has to be An Gearasdan.

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