Saturday, March 19, 2011

All Snow and No Show-will the real Fraser Mackenzie please stand up?

Lochaber more Glen Urquhart 1

“I see Fraser Mackenzie’s back on the score sheet again”
“I heard that. It must be the first one he’s hit since about 1985”
The Wing Centre pricked up his ears. The conversation was taking place on the other side of the bread shelves in the VG-except it’s not the VG now but the Co-op and the D dare not breathe its name because that would be advertising and for that to happen someone has to reply to a letter from Russell Fraser. The speakers so far as he could make out from the voices were male and local though one of them had those high Highland tones that you associate with someone from Kingussie.
By the time he’d got up to the end of the aisle, pushing past pensioners queuing for their bread ration, and peeped round to see who was talking there was no sign of anyone other than a few strangers from Culanloan who were unable to help because on questioning they didn’t know who Fraser Mackenzie was.
The news of the goal scorer’s identity was intriguing. Doubly so because if it really was the Fraser Mackenzie who scored in 1985 then that would be a surprise since that chap very rarely got on the score sheet even in real time when he actually had a chance to get on the score sheet. He did however score one goal that really mattered- and that was further back in history, the spring of 1984 to be exact, when the Glen surprised Scottish champions Newtonmore by beating then 2-1 at the Eilean in their Weatherseal Double-glazing League Division 1 Match. This was the first time that the Glen had beaten Newtonmore at this venue since the club turned senior in 1963 and the narrative went as follows. “After a goalless first half Newtonmore took command early in the second half and opened the scoring in the 60th minute through John Fraser (who was he one wonders?)The Glen withstood some further ‘More pressure before Fraser Mackenzie equalised. This pepped them up and they gradually took control. With three minutes left Martin English snatched a sensational winner” For those of a curious disposition it is as well to record that the headline stated “English gives Glens cause to celebrate” One assumes the plural was used because all the neighbouring Glens - including Glen Cannich and Glen Affric- were equally delighted at the defeat of the Champs by a neighbouring side.
Intrigued at the existence of this iconic goal–written off by the media through the use of the word “equalised” and intrigued that such a veteran should still be scoring in 2011 the Wing Centre phoned up the man in question to enquire as to both matters.
First that goal-;
“It was a cold windy day up on the moor. Indeed at one point a shed blew across the field and from the noise it appeared that there were still hens inside. The ball came to me between the buckshee and wing centre positions and I had my back to goal. I turned and hit it first time but knowing it was Hughie Chisholm in goal I deliberately mistimed the shot causing it to bounce along the ground. Everyone knew in those days you could never beat Hughie with a real shot. You had to be crafty.
Then Martin grabbed the winner and the rest is Glen history.
They went mental and that was the first time that I noticed that Newtonmore guys also speak in high voices.”
And what about the Lochaber game?
“I wasn’t playing. In fact the last time I scored against Lochaber, wee McGregor was full back."

So it wasn’t him. It was an altogether different Fraser Mackenzie who scored against Lochaber-and goal keeper Garry Mackintosh provided some details of the way the game had gone.
Playing and adapting well to the snow, Lochaber got some easy goals which can never be reported in the “D” because Gazza M wasn’t willing to say what they were like. Glen had chances themselves but were unable to convert them.
Glen then went in at half time 1-1 because-a familiar phrase-“Fraser Mackenzie equalised”
Then the second half happened in the snow-and Lochaber won-simple as.

And what about this new Fraser Mackenzie?
The Glen have strict rules-indeed rules which are more convoluted than those required to play for Scotland itself.
There Garry was able to provide re-assurance. It seems Fraser actually is a Glenner. Analysis of his mitochondrial DNA has indicated that his mother hails from Bunloit and that by picking up a black and red bound Tanera (product placement-forgot to check with Russ?) he is merely coming home to his mother club.

Garry was also able to provide further re-assurance about other signings. Liam Girvan is a Glenner obviously because there have been Girvans in Corriemony and throughout the Great Glen for hundreds of years–stands to reason he’s a Glenner.
And Fraser Heath ?
His first name is Fraser-what other proof is required? Garry is so logical and his mother was also a Fraser.

Saturday sees Kingussie in the Glen and Garry is off to that ancient burgh with the seconds.
“I’m fair looking forward to hearing all those friendly high pitched voices once again” he said. “but what’s with that particular vocal inflection ?”
The Wing Centre pondered on the question.
“ Nobody really understands but the phenomenon has been known about in Drum ever since The Glen fell into the hands of the Grants back in 15oatcake when the king gave them the castle and orders to keep down the Macdonalds. Waste of time – the Grants are gone but the Macdonalds still play shinty for the Glen. The theory is though that because they live on the High Chaparral, Badenoch guys adapt their vocal chords to the thinner air pressure thus causing them to squeak. That’s my theory whatever”
“Pity they did not play shinty as if they had squeaky voices?” said Garry.

Pity indeed!

In the photo Whytie welcomes the new Fraser Mackenzie – and reads his palm. The omens are better than they were.

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