Friday, May 20, 2011

Glen victors in the battle of the Glens

Glenurquhart 3 Glengarry 2
Glenurquhart 1 Glenorchy 0

A double header with all of Scotland’s shinty playing Glens meeting on the same field for the first time ever to see which Glen was best. Truly an historic day!
The first game started off at 12.30 and saw a repeat of the previous week’s match against our neighbours to the south- Glengarry – and it wasn’t long before Glengarry took last week’s advice from the Wing Centre to heart and opened the scoring through Ewan Brady. It was a long shot from all of thirty yards and the flight of the ball deceived home keeper Garry Mackintosh. There were barely two minutes on the clock: it looked like a long afternoon was in prospect.
Yet, Somehow despite this firecracker start the atmosphere at this local derby was different from that of the previous week – and the Wing Centre spent a pleasant time chatting on the road side of the pitch with Newtonmore’s Glen Tonkin who was on his way through to Fort William for his side’s second team match. Glen was most concerned with the fact that The Garry were in the lead- and he let it be known that he would prefer it if they were beaten. When a lad called Glen tells you he wants to see the Glen beat another Glen then you know that it is time to move on and describe the action. Which was difficult because there wasn’t very much of it- and what was more as the game reached the halfway mark, much of the attention of both players and spectators was taken up by the string of fire engines and rescue vehicles racing past, sirens blaring on the A82.
Still despite everything this was a more determined Glen side and what is more Iain Macleod was back in harness for the first time in a fortnight and his wise head certainly paid off when in 40 minutes a ball played down the left wing by Ewan Menzies found him out on the edge of the D. He cut the ball back, Liam Girvan played it across and full forward Calum Miller fired it past Gordy Macdonald in the Garry goal to bring the game level.
The second half continued nip and tuck with the Garry still showing a keen appetite for the fray – and justice was probably done when, after a little carelessness at the back Arran Clark was allowed a free shot in 62 minutes which put Garry 2-1 up.
If the score had remained at that, probably no-one in the Glen except Hendo would have bothered much. But that Hendo! He keeps pushing the boys on and this paid off in 75 minutes when a long ball from the Glen’s Andrew Macdonald got into the same flight groove as Brady’s first half drive with the same end result-a goal.
Then in 82 minutes came the goal which made the whole afternoon worthwhile. With Glen in the ascendency full forward Calum Miller , who had run tirelessly all afternoon chased a ball he had no right to catch, rode two tackles and running beyond keeper Macdonald one handed the ball into the net from the tightest of angles with the precision of a snooker player potting a difficult red.
There was not enough time for the Garry to mount a fight back and so the points, valuable and sadly doing Newtonmore a favour, went to the Red and Blacks.
As a result of what was happening on the A82-it was clear to see that no traffic was passing through the village from the west- the Glenorchy match was held back for half an hour to allow the visiting team as well as Ref Charles Young (Ballachulish) to arrive. This they eventually did after a diversion through Borlum Farm and the game got underway at 3.30 pm.
By this time however there was a rumour going round the ground that there had been a fatality in the accident- and the folks on the side-lines were naturally hoping it was not someone they knew.
Despite the rather muted atmosphere, Glen started strongly and it looked as if with their whirlwind start they would soon rack up a decent score, Ruaraidh Cameron had an early chance but his shot flew over the bar. Then a long shy by Paul Mackintosh set up a chance but Neale Reid’s drive went past the post. An attempt by David Smart was next but again the shot was wide while Calum MacAulay’s snap shot was snuffed out by Glenorchy keeper Andrew Smith.
On 25 minutes MacAulay played Cameron through in front of goals and though he controlled the ball nicely his shot went agonisingly past the post. At the other end Glen keeper Stuart Mackintosh had little to do but tidy up though he had to look smart to deal with an attempt at goal from Kieran Mackay. The presence of John Barr at the back and the pace of Andrew Corrigan however meant that Glenorchy never really threatened although there were concerns that the lack of goals was allowing the Argyllshire lads to settle into a game pattern – and to be fair Ewan Murray and Grant Macpherson were beginning to get a handle on the Glen forwards and were looking as if they were rather enjoying doing so.
The half time score of 0-0 was rather more than a travesty but if you don’t score…….. then you don’t score….. and the spectators begin to worry that you will continue not to score.
Fortunately just after halftime the Glen did score but it was as a result of a penalty which emanated from an unfortunate kick by the Glenorchy keeper. Neale Reid stepped up to take the penalty- and scored: the process needs no further elaboration. It went in. Good enough.
And so the game continued. Glen pressing hard, missing chances, hitting the ball high and wide and miles over the bar but without Lewis Maclennan side-lined with a bad back then perhaps …….
In the end one was enough but by that time the news had broken that the victim of the accident was Evan Girvan from Glenmoriston, a young man who had been to school in the Glen, had loads of friends in the Glen and had relatives in both Glen teams.
All of a sudden, the shinty didn’t seem so important any more. We took down the nets and the advertising boards. Then we went home.

The picture is of two goal hero,Calum Miller.

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