Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fine exhibition of winning shinty from both Glen Teams!

It’s official! The Original Glenurquhart Shinty Team have grabbed themselves two very valuable home points with a 5-2 win against Oban Camanachd. At the same time the Official Glenurquhart Shinty Team – who are in preparation for Sutherland/Strathdearn Cup finals against our Crofting Neighbours- managed to defeat Newtonmore 3-1 despite two of their main Officials turning out for the Originals so to speak.
Confusing isn’t it- but then to everybody outside of Glenurquhart, this normal situation of daily life is bound to be somewhat perplexing. It is a simple fact that everything in the Glen is divided ,and indeed judged, upon whether it is either Original or Official, though it has to be said that since the last month or so these terms have been banished from use in road signs and advertising boards . They are still however terms which come easily to the tongues of Glenners everywhere; we have an Official Garage and Original Garage; we used to have an Original school now we merely have an Official one. We have an Original up the Glen and an Official down the Glen and as for Monster exhibitions-well one cannot say too much since there is much that has been sub judice.
As for the Glen teams, Jim and Big Ron manage the Original Glenurquhart Shinty Team (est. 1884) while Hendo and Big Mike manage the Official side (est. - according to the badges- 1885)
The success of the Originals on Saturday was however long overdue and it is not since last season’s home win over Kyles that the Glen have hit the net so often in the one match. For the contest there was some movement within the side which meant that Iain Macdonald and Iain Macleod came into the defence for the afternoon allowing John Barr to move up to the centreline with Ally Mackintosh moving up to the right wing and Andy Corrigan pulled to buckshee back. Also drafted into the back line was Calum Fraser and it has to be said that in the end matters turned out fine. Respect has to be given to Oban but while Daniel and Aiden Macintyre showed plenty movement up front,if only they had been able to shoot more precisely and if Stuart Mackintosh had not pulled off a superb early stop, then matters could have turned out differently. As it was Glen supporters’ breathed a sigh of relief-or indeed it might have been a sigh of belief- when in 24 minutes Lewis Maclennan opened the Glen’s account with a truly blistering strike that no keeper could ever stop.
Ally Mackintosh on the right wing began to impose himself on the Oban wing back and in 29 minutes he slipped the ball to Eddie Tembo who smashed the ball low into the corner of the Oban net for another memorable goal. For the moment Glen had their tails up and before long Winger Neale Reid made it three with another superb finish. Latching on to a ball slipped up the wing from Dave Maclennan, Reid flicked the ball over the defender’s head before lashing the dropping ball past the advancing Oban keeper.
Glen posted a fourth goal four minutes from the half time break when good work from Reid saw the ball squared across the face of goal and John Barr was on hand to send a low controlled shot into the net from just outside the D. Some post goal euphoria and slackness in the Glen defence however saw Aidan Macintyre pull one back for Oban with a nice strike with the last hit of the first half. While the goal perhaps was no more than Oban deserved it certainly made the Glen spectators chew uneasily on their half time venison burgers.
The second half did not turn out to be quite as scary as anticipated. The Glen spent their time playing nicely and firing towards the shop with Eddie Tembo doing a power of work, getting on the ball early and using his pace and strength to frustrate defender Gareth Evans who was perhaps lucky not to be more harshly dealt with by referee John Macphee for his tackling of the Eddie from behind, though to be fair, playing behind a big physical forward is not an easy role to play.
Glen had a series of chances but were unable to convert them until Calum Fraser (moved back up front and was replaced in defence by Ally Mackintosh) finished nicely in 67 minutes when he tucked the ball comfortably home after running on to a through ball from Lewis Maclennan. Glenurquhart continued to press and both Eddie Tembo and his replacement Calum Miller had further balls in the net and there was one good shout for a penalty after the Oban keeper could have been deemed to have kicked the ball. It was however Oban who had the last word when Ian Macmillan knocked home a second goal 5 minutes from time though the gloss was taken off that by the unfortunate dismissal of Oban youngster Gary Lord for a foul on Neale Reid just before the full time whistle.
Meanwhile down in Newtonmore the Official Squad-boosted by the presence of Iain Macleod who set off for ‘More just on the final whistle- won 3-1 in a match which kept them in contention for back to back league wins in North Div 2. Scorers were Ewan Brady, Kelvin Mackenzie and Daniel Mackintosh.
What does this mean for Saturday’s Sutherland final? Not a lot really since it appears that our Crofting Neighbours have an excellent squad themselves boosted by the free scoring Mathesons who will be a serious threat.
Glen have not won this trophy since the Original side won it back in 1963 though the Wing Centre does vaguely remember a final at Dalmally in the 1980s which we did not win. Lovat have apparently lifted the trophy themselves in a more recent version of the past – and if the Glen are not on their toes then........
Of course both Official and Original squads have won League Championships in the recent past but putting on the thinking cap and trawling the recesses of memory the last cup to come Glen-wards was back at the start of the millennium- before digital cameras- when the Official team beat Fort William in the Strathdearn. Where? Farr, Farr away. That Glen team was a good one-it had to be because the Fort Youngsters went on –some of them –to win Camanachd Cups 4 times in a row. Why can’t it be like that here?
Anyway, leaving such metaphysical questions aside, the D includes some nostalgic pictures. Captain Calum Miller picks up the trophy, the team poses, Smack looks younger (compare it to his Mr Cool pose in the specks) and former boss Billy Maclean talks tactics after the game with the “youngsters”.
The top picture of course is Mr Cool himself with his new prescription sunspecs from the boy in Beauly while John and Cork warm down after the Oban match .
All the best to the Official Glen Team. Have a good day on Saturday –enjoy the Sutherland Final : it has been a long time coming.

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