Saturday, May 28, 2011

Glen teach students a lesson in the Strathdearn

Strathdearn Cup
Glenurquhart 3 Aberdeen University 0

The MacAulay Cup
Glenurquhart v Kingussie. Dont Ask

There are times when the simple chances have to be taken- which is what the Wing Centre attempts to demonstrate with the above headline. In the course of a dozen shinty seasons the opportunity for this headline has not presented itself for a variety of reasons. When we were in the same division as the students we either did not play them in cups or else if we did, we certainly did not teach them a lesson. Indeed the Wing Centre is not even sure whether we taught them an actual lesson this time-though we did at least win. The moral of the intro is a clear one ; take your chances when they come along. No doubt it is a moral which should be applied in life as well as in shinty- though life is admittedly harder than shinty should be-though one is none too sure about the latter when one watches Glen teams, at any level, play.
There has been a lot on the agenda of the Glen this past weekend, the very least of which is the 4-1 defeat in the MacAulay Cup by Ronald Ross and his backup team. Perhaps a sentence or two will be set aside for a comment later on-though it would do no harm to contemplate for a moment the message above. Given the loss in the MacAulay it is clear that main business of the week had to be the defence of the Strathdearn closely followed by the Gala fundraiser at the Loch Ness Inn which followed on later in the afternoon.
The Strathdearn match opened briskly and it has to be said that in the opening few minutes the students played like the masters though they found both Gary Smith and Ian Macdonald in sound form at the back. It was the Glen who posted the early threat however and in this the return to action in the past fortnight of Iain Macleod cannot be underestimated and in 7 minutes tested the Aberdeen keeper who was forced to concede a corner and after a drive from distance for the Glen Centreman.
The Glen front play was as always pleasant to watch and former Scotland boss Fraser Mackenzie provided some neat link play with Daniel Mackintosh who hit a ball across the face of goal but the incoming Calum Fraser was unable to make his shot count.
Glen went ahead however in 11 minutes when Gregor McCormack got on a ball fired up from midfield and his snap shot off his toes came back off the Aberdeen keeper. The rebound was swiftly dispatched by Glen’s Ewan Menzies who was following up closely hoping to profit from the second phase.
Glen continued the pressure and Mackenzie had a drive which flew wide while Daniel Mackintosh saw his attempt fly back off the post. Aberdeen too had their moments and Glen had a let off in 30 minutes when keeper Garry Mackintosh got his club in the way of a net-bound drive and was relieved to see it fly past for a corner. It was Glen however who took the opportunity to double their lead in 36 minutes when Ewan Menzies won the ball out wide on the right and sent it across the face of goal where it was finished off sweetly by youngster Ewan Lloyd.
Glen piled on the pressure and Menzies next came close with a shot which popped over the bar-however with injuries beginning to hamper a number of Glen youngsters particularly James Hurwood in midfield, the tide began to turn in Aberdeen’s favour and in a spell of intense pressure they were thwarted by a great save with his feet by Garry Mackintosh while youngster Daniel Mackintosh who had to be pulled back to cover the gaps left by injury found himself in ref Deek Cameron’s book because of an unsatisfactory challenge.
The second half continued in much the same manner but it has to be said that Aberdeen were much more in this stage of the match though they were unable to make the pressure count. Glen had to shuffle the pack somewhat in the latter stages and in particular Ewan Menzies who had been cruelly denied when an early second half drive came back off the bar had to dig in at wing centre while Daniel Mackintosh also had to do a shift at the back. Youngster Jack Hosie however came on up front as did Rory Maclean and both showed nice touches and a little more experience might have seen Maclean grab a goal after he had got on to a shy from Mackenzie but it was not to be. Hosie however brought a save out of the Aberdeen keeper which cost the students a corner, the result of which was that a chance fell to Gregor McCormack and he fired the ball home for the Glen’s third and ultimately winning goal.
A good result then but one which has warning bells on it – looking at the results, other ties may be more testing since Kingussie and Kilmallie are beginning to look as if they mean business in this competition. A good draw would do no harm. A word too about the inspirational part played in midfield by Iain Macleod. He simply drove his wing centres on in both halves: many times it looked as if the youngsters were out on their feet but MacLeod’s constant encouragement kept them up to the mark. That sort of spirit is priceless as is the skill, strength and determination of defenders like Iain Macdonald and Gary Smith. Quite often the Wing Centre gives praise –rightly so- to the youngsters. Last week’s win was due to the old guys all of whom have had a mention.
Perhaps if the day belongs to anyone it should belong to Gary Smith who not only played effectively and well at buckshee but also received a presentation at the end of the match for his 20+ years of service to the club.
And this of course brings us to the Gala Day at the Loch Ness Inn which turned out to be a rip roaring success with fun for all the family and some delightfully humiliating treatment for Garry “Mac” Mackintosh who was put in the stocks and assaulted with wet sponges. Mr Reid despite his advanced age attempted to ride the bucking bronco and indeed attracted a great deal of money by way of side bets as to how long he would remain glued to the fearsome beast. Waste of time! Micro-seconds but then as everyone at the Club should have known shinty’s elder statesman cannot sit still for a second: he was always like that, even in school.

The highlight of the afternoon was of course the gruesome eating competition in which Neale Reid, Stuart Reid Andrew Corrigan and EJ Tembo attempted to speed eat a very pleasant trifle made by the super chefs at the Inn. Only problem was that halfway through the cream and custard morphed into mince and tatties , the combination of which –especially the mince and the custard- caused nausea to rise in the more refined Reid palates while young Cork, raised on protein pellets and scratch grain in the manner of many other up the Glenners, could not cope either. This left the field free for EJ to take the biscuit, so to speak though even he had to admit he was sorely tested at times. A great day for all then – and thanks to Isla Urquhart and the finance committee for all their enthusiasm and energy which made the day such a success.
The MacAulay? Not much to write home about. Two early goals for the visitors. Then Lewis Maclennan scored to make it 2-1. Glen go in at the interval somehow still in with a chance.
In the second half Glen did a bit more for a time in an attempt to get level and there was a claim for a penalty after king’s keeper Borthwick stopped a shot with his foot. If it had been given it would have been harsh. Then Kingussie scored two more –via Craig Dawson and then in 63mins Ross’s second. From that point on Glen started preparing for the Gala apparently.
If you were to interview Ronald he would say the Glen did not compete: he would not be quite right. There was a spell at the start of the second half when the chance was there to give Kingussie a scare. Glen didn’t take that chance which really puts us back to the little homily at the top where all this started. With a Dad’s Army defence of old guys and kids at the back (Lee Bain excepted) Kingussie need to be played properly if a win is wanted: Glen did not to do it on Saturday but doubtless somebody else will.
Never mind –enjoy the pics instead.

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