Monday, January 31, 2011

Let’s have a drum roll for Druimlon!

Finally, eventually and at last, Glen Shinty got back to business with the Zandra Mackintosh Memorial sixes taking place on the astro on Saturday. This was of course some four weeks after they had been originally scheduled to have been held as part of the New Year Festival but the frost and snow of course made that impossible. Neither did they go ahead in 2010 –the weather again being the problem- so technically Chrissie Surts and his squad of Lewistonians have been top dogs for near enough two seasons.
For the Wing Centre and indeed for many its followers, the indigenous sport has been a long time away- and apart from Ronald’s MBE there has been little to describe in the D- because quite simply little has been happening apart from Cup draws, a new President and the Lovat Cup. The Wing Centre and the Glen loyalists have paid little attention to any of them though three of the most dyed-in-the-wool Glenners out of sheer boredom did break with tradition and pop into town to see George Fraser’s football boyans last Wednesday. Interestingly enough not one of the trio- and that includes the Wing Centre himself -had ever been into the new Caley Park before in their lives and it has to be said it’s a nice place though the pitch is to shinty eyes a little tight. In fact one can safely say that if big Peter were to take a bye hit at the Raigmore end he would near enough put the ball in the sea.
In the game itself there was little to comfort Caley- with the exception of full forward Rooney who looked a bit of a player -none of the rest looked fit enough even to get a game for Lovat. Clearly Aberdeen had the better centreline and in Paul Hartley they had a player who controlled the game –but few influential shinty players would be left alone and unmarked for 90 minutes without someone attempting to mark him. Big George-if he was watching- would have known that. He never stepped on a shinty pitch without someone marking him, in many cases literally but he was determined enough and fit enough to shake such attentions off. His footballers - if what was on display the other night is typical - lack those qualities - and for fans to have to pay £25 to watch such antics is not really fair. The score? Aberdeen won 2-0 - one was a blooter, the other a sclaff- but they all count. Caley Thistle? Caley Swizzle more like.
So all in all it was with relief that the Wing Centre strolled down to the astro on a surprisingly mild Saturday afternoon to watch the Sixes. This year there were six teams in two groups of three- but horror of horrors -no Balmacaan Road squad. Young James ended up playing for Druimlon, Ruaraidh Cameron and EJ Tembo turned out for the Blarmor and big Ross MacAulay was working on the house. However with teams representing Druimlon, Inverness and Up the Glen in one group and the Blarmor, Lewiston and the scarily named Wildsiders in the other group the afternoon was set to be filled with some lively and skilful shinty action. And so it turned out to be.
With the Wildsiders – who turned out to be a team of youngsters managed by Dola Brady- and Inverness eliminated in the group stages the competition moved on to the high pressure semis. There Lewiston edged through 1-0 against up the Glen in what was an excellent and fast moving cake which pitted the silky skills of Young Corky against the power play of Neale Reid. Scare of the day came when Chrissy Surts, Lewiston’s veteran striker was poleaxed after a dodgy tackle from Up the Glens wily goalie Old Cork. Old Cork had an excellent series of saves though nothing he did could quite match the brilliance of Lewiston’s keeper David Emery who played so well - saving penalties and everything else- that he won the trophy for player of the tournament.
Druimlon meanwhile defeated the Blar by a single goal despite the desperate efforts of EJ and Ruaraidh to thwart Lewis Maclennan’s trophy winning ambitions. The Druimloners - who included Bradley Dixon, Calum Smith, Kelvin Mackenzie, Fraser Heath , Steven Henderson and Helen Maclennan as well as young James Hurwood – were it has to be said the younger and fitter team – and that semi showed why. The final simply confirmed that fact - a first half goal from ever green Steven “Hendo” Henderson set them up for the trophy and a power drive from Lewis Maclennan saw the “Up the Glenners” off in the final. 2-0 just like the Aberdeen score the other night.
Naturally such an occasion requires photos so we have the winning team, the goal scorers, the player of the tournament with Brian Fraser who provided the trophy, Donald Paul Mackintosh and Josie Mackenzie who presented the cup to the winning captain.
Here they are- but doesn’t Lewis take a nice photo even without his slimming jersey but he really should tell his Uncle Dave to cheer up.
Roll on the Macdonald Cup!

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