Friday, May 06, 2011

Have Hendo’s Heroes finally turned the corner?

Hendo’s Heroes 4 Lochalsh, Kintail & Glenshiel Select 1

At 20 past 4 last Saturday afternoon the massed ranks of the black and red faithful breathed a collective sigh of relief. Finally after a number of stuttery performances and disappointing turnouts the chosen 15 managed to string together some coherent patches of play and claim a victory against a Shiel side which certainly was worth more goals than they actually got. Still, who cares apart from Shiel?
The Wing Centre was a little late in getting down to the match probably due to the fact that it took him longer than anticipated to recover his sense of reality after his experiences at the Camanachd AGM the night before (about which more later) and so he had only just arrived at Blairbeg in time to witness Glen centreman Drew MacLennan try a speculative hit from the halfway line. It went in and the Glen took a useful if fortunate lead.
Shiel fought back fiercely and the contest was at its toughest in the centreline with ,truthfully, honours shared. On the few occasions Shiel did threaten, the presence of Donald Fraser , Iain Macdonald and the evergreen Dave Emery were enough to protect the lead- and then just on 41 minutes Daniel Mackintosh hit a second. The Wing Centre was not looking at the time: he was at the other end of the park congratulating Tony Carroll on his Glen Lotto win.
At the end of the match your trusty narrator asked young Dan about his goal and it was apparently a very fine one indeed, well controlled and skilfully dispatched with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of skill. Other stories contradict that slightly and the picture is painted of a ball hit in on the keeper, then not quite cleared properly. Dan was seemingly quickest to react and he grabbed the goal without fuss. Whatever happened he had to be in the right place – and he can certainly finish.
However just after half time Shiel got back into the match after something of a mix-up in the Glen defence. By chance the ball fell out on the right to Ross Fraser and he fired a shot high into the top corner in what was a fine finish. The tempo of the game was then raised and the Shiel midfield gave it everything to the point of at times being a little too robust but the Glen centres –in particular Calum Fraser –still carrying an injury from the Newtonmore match-refused to buckle and not only held their own but gradually began to get balls up to the Glen forwards who were displaying some imaginative movement. A superb drive by Billy Urquhart flew past the post and then came the double whammy for the visitors. First a slip home by youngster Ewan Lloyd and then a Stuart Morrison snap shot made it 4 and left Shiel feeling very much as Glen’s top team had felt the week before, after somehow losing four to Lovat.
All the guys on duty turned in performances though the presence of Iain Macleod in the middle is certainly missed. Hopefully it won’t be long before he returns.
A good result for then for Hendo and one that gives cause for hope against Glengarry whose ground the Glen are due to visit this weekend in the Sutherland. However, to get an appropriate result everyone will have to first of all turn up and then play at the top of their game.

Top of their game eh? That is more than can be said for everyone at the Camanachd AGM though it was nice to see that loyal servant to shinty Duncan Cameron being rewarded for his services over the years.
In fact Duncan has completed two terms in Shinty’s big office. He was President from 1994 to 2000 and has been involved either as President or as part of the Camanachd Executive with all of modern shinty’s big deals including the inception of the Premier Division , the modernising of the Executive and finally the introduction of summer shinty. He was re-elected in 2008-Hugh Dan should really write the definitive history of this episode- and he was presented with a silver mounted caman as his term ended at the AGM.
Duncan is now replaced in the hot seat by Archie Robertson formerly of Lovat and Glasgow Mid Argyll but since he wasn’t actually in office he was not required to step in to what was the debate of the night. Rolling subs. Yes! Rolling subs? Problem was the Executive changed a rule without going to the AGM for permission.Of corse it wasn't a rule-technically it was only a pilot. No doubt the Executive feel they can do this but it is not really wise not to consult. However it is perfectly easy to understand that from the Executive’s point of view that most times the denizens of shinty’s deep are too conservative and reject what is good for them like cats that won’t swallow their worming tablets.
Of course there are arguments for and against rolling subs: indeed as the bodach said there is much to be said on both sides. However a substantial number of delegates felt that what was in effect a rule change should not have been introduced in the manner it was. When there was a proposal that rolling subs (3 from 5) should be made permanent, Caberfeidh suggested the decision on rolling subs be postponed until next year's AGM as it was too early to say how the pilot is working. The vote for continuing with the pilot was 16-10 in favour but this did not reach the necessary 75% approval.
A crazy scenario was now on the cards. For ten minutes or so it looked as if the second part of the season was going to be played under different rules from the first part, a situation that might have led us to the European Court of Appeal if some team had lost a game under rules different to those by which opponents had won earlier in the season.
Fortunately wiser counsel prevailed and after much debate, it was agreed to continue with the current pilot until the end of the season when an EGM will be required if rolling subs are to continue. Phew! That was a near one.
Otherwise the business was a follows; Calum Duff, Ted MacDonald, Jim Barr and David MacMaster stood for three elected positions. Following a members vote, Calum Duff, Ted MacDonald and Jim Barr were elected.
Jim’s election as Director was the end of all Glen success on the night because the proposal that an amendment asking that if rolling subs are allowed, then no substitutions should be permitted at a penalty hit was not introduced which is fortunate because that now means that Big Ron will be back on every Glen team sheet to sink any pens we get. Kind of pointless though since like Celtic Glen never get any.

The other Glenurquhart suggestion was also bombed out. That was the proposal that the rules around a hit-in (shy) be changed. The idea is that that in order to keep the ball in play for longer, a player should be allowed to strike the ball with the caman over either shoulder, and that the player should have no requirement to stand square on the line, or with both feet on the ground when taking the hit in. Caberfeidh opposed this and said the shy should stay as it is as it is part of the skills of the game. The AGM decided that the current rules should remain – so naturally geometrical nit picking will continue. Who says the Glen are bad losers?*
Certainly not Kyles where the top team went down by 3 goals to 1. Encouraging in a sort of a way though annoying. Without John Barr, Neale Reid, Dave Girvan and Andrew Corrigan the guys delivered a creditable performance with Kyles keeper Kenny Macdonald being tested and as usual coming up with the goods on a number of occasions. Grant Irvine’s strike was cancelled by a fine goal from arran- he always does well at Kyles- and then before half time two strikes from Kyles via Dunky Kerr and Grant Irvine again made it difficult for Glen. Truthfully the Glenners had a bit of an edge in the second half but they were unable to finish. Neither were Kyles though it took a penalty save from Stuart Mackintosh to keep the second half sheet clean. Not bad for a guy who was gigging at the Mull Music festival the night before and was heading back over the western ocean in a speedboat immediately after the match for another musical rendition (see pic). Now if only someone were making a film about shinty and the dedication of its participants that one would be up there with Niall McPhee’s marathon journeys and Dallas Young’s helicopter. Or maybe Dallas was in a film?
The other pic? The sun shone and the sign started working.

*The Wing Centre is grateful to the Skye Camanachd website for their briefing on the fate of the amendments.By this stage he had lost the will to take notes.

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