Sunday, June 05, 2011

Glen struggle to find meaning in the Rule of Three.

Glenurquhart 3 Tayforth 0 (Sutherland)
Glenurquhart 3 Skye 0 (North League Div 2)
Kinlochshiel 3 Glenurquhart 0 (Camanachd)

Ah the Rule of Three. If you don’t know about it then let the Wing Centre enlighten you. It is the idea that things which come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. It is certainly familiar to those who have studied the ancient art of rhetoric- and usually dismissed without a second thought until three results like those noted at the head of the column come along. You know the sort of thing- you are waiting for half an hour for a bus and then three come along at once, though if you live in the Glen there are sometimes occasions when a bus does not arrive at all. It is a formula beloved of politicians and speech writers. Its uses have run the gamut from the American Declaration of Independence “life ,liberty and the pursuit of happiness “ to the more sinister popular appeal of Adolf Hitler’s “Ein Volk , Ein Reich , Ein Fuhrer!”. Indeed it is only in our present day that its use has been somewhat uneven: Obama uses it with eloquence but all that Tony Blair could come up with was “Education, Education, Education” which is either a testament to his lack of imagination or irony of a most sophisticated kind. You must choose- but this is to digress.
Whatever the value of the “rule of three” in the murky world of political intrigue it has never struck the Wing Centre as applying to the world of shinty before. One cannot imagine El Supremo calling the guys together in the changing room at the start of the season and enthusing them with a call to arms along the lines of “One season, one team, one cup”-though it might have been an idea if the power of numbers had struck the backroom boys sooner. It might just have worked too because when you have three results like that on the trot it certainly makes you think –though in this case the third score was neither funny , satisfying nor effective.
However though the proud name of Glenurquhart will not be inscribed on the Camanachd Cup any time soon, all Cups are not lost. Mr. Sutherland’s fine piece of silverware is still a possibility certainly if the side plays reasonably well and the fringe youngsters keep their focus.
The Tayforth result was quite a satisfying one – though Iain Macdonald was a necessity at the back to keep the hems on Tayforth’s Stuart Ferrier who is one of the most skilful, unsung players in the game. As usual-it’s their default position- the Glen started quickly and within five minutes they had put the Tayforth defence under pressure with quick running and snap shooting. The shots though failed to count with a drive from Daniel Mackintosh just flying past the post and another from the lively Ewan Menzies just grazing the bar. Gregor MacCormack was next to shoot but his strike bounced back from the post then Bradley Dixon making a welcome return at wing centre had his strike on target but this ball too was well saved by Tayforth keeper Donald MacInnes .
A drive from Daniel Mackintosh was turned past for a corner in 31 minutes and from the resulting cross the same player fired in a powerful shot which came back off MacInnes and fell into the path of Fraser Heath who made no mistake from inside the D.
The Glen powered on - and though Tayforth broke forward once or twice they were unable to get the score back on even terms and the ref’s half time whistle came just after another Glen attack had ended unsatisfactorily when Iain Macleod‘s attempt from the right had flown across the face of goal with the young forwards being unable to capitalise on the chance.
The second half continued in the same vein with the Glen pressing in on the Tayforth defence where veteran Derry Barton- that man is worth an M.B.E. for services to the sport in hostile territory if any is- having to deal sportingly with a series of ever changing young opponents.
By that time -55 minutes-youngster Fraser Heath had made the game safe with an excellent shot from distance- and that was followed up by a fine attempt from the excellent Daniel Mackintosh whose shot went high. Gregor MacCormack then got on the end of a neat piece of interplay with Ewan Menzies but once again the ball was saved as was a further attempt by Calum Fraser after a neat touch by Mackintosh set up the shot.
Finally two minutes from time Calum Fraser scored a goal he – and the spectators- will long remember. The ball was cut back into his path and without hesitation, deviation or repetition he drifted it into the roof of the net sending the Glen through to the next round of the Sutherland.
The next run out for Hendo’s Heroes was against Skye. Not being stuck on the Island and not having the patience to work out who is or isn’t in the side and why, it must be confessed that it is quite hard to make out this Skye team. They are still in the Sutherland on the back of some impressive results but they obviously have a different side for the cup from what they have on League duty. Glen’s 3-0 result was quite comprehensive – and if it were not for the keeper - called unusually for a modern Skyeman - John Macleod, the score would certainly have been higher.
Glen fielded a changed side from that which won over Tayforth. Rested were Iain Macdonald, Iain Macleod, Gregor MacCormack and Donald Fraser while James Hurwood was out with injury. Into the side making welcome returns were Ross MacDiarmid and Kelvin Mackenzie while Dave Girvan got his first start of the season since picking up a cartilage injury in the opening senior match of the season against Kingussie. Calum Smith who has been with the top team for the last few weeks was needed to fill the full back berth in the absence of MacDonald.
By the time the Wing Centre had made it down to the field the pattern of the game was set-though doubtless the Free Press will have seen it differently. Glen were encamped up at Sandy Whyte’s end and goalie Macleod was busy trying to turn the tables on the Glen by putting in the best performance between the sticks by a visiting goalie since wee Archie from Cabers had a daft day four years ago. Daniel Mackintosh had a series of early attempts saved, before Macleod had a particularly superb stop from young Dan but the rebounding ball went unpunished. Equally unlucky was Ewan Menzies when after a lovely run he found his shot smothered and the ball ran out for a corner. From the resulting hit Menzies found the ball popping up of his boots on to the club of the incoming Billy Urquhart who finished off the move with a tremendous first time drive past Macleod into the net for the Glen’s opener.
At the other end Garry Mackintosh had to look lively at his near post on a couple of occasions but the majority of the Skye attacks were thwarted by a most capable defence with Calum Smith playing coolly at full back, hitting long when he could, working the ball out to slip it wide otherwise. Macleod finished the half as he started it with another superb save in 42 minutes this time from a fierce drive from youngster Ewan Lloyd.
The second half promised more Glen frustration as Macleod opened the second period with a tremendous save from Billy Urquhart. A second save moments from the same player was every bit as good with the rebound picked up and fired just past by Kelvin Mackenzie who had moved into the front line after an impressive first half at wing centre. Macleod next denied Ewan Menzies before Glen made it 2-0 after some lovely interplay. David Girvan knocked the ball forward up the middle; it was knocked out wide left for Daniel Mackintosh to cut it back across the D, wrong footing the Skye defence and into the path of Billy Urquhart who quickly controlled it and drilled it home for his and the Glen’s second.
David Girvan then had his attempt on goal saved by Macleod before the Glen finally sealed the game with a goal of the topmost quality.
It came after a passage of intricate play which saw Billy Urquhart touch the ball into Kelvin Mackenzie who laid it back into the path of Calum Fraser and he finished off the move with a devastating drive past Macleod which would have been the goal of the season if Billy Urquhart hadn’t scored that very goal in the first half.
The scoring might have been over but the Glen were still hunting goals particularly when Mackenzie burst away from his marker to latch on to a through ball from Ross MacDiarmid but his shot went agonisingly wide. Cameron Maclennan was next with a chance but his under -hit shot was once again stopped by Macleod and Calum Fraser was unable to convert the rebound. With that ref Jock Matheson blew the full time whistle and the Glen sideliners were left wondering where the real Skye team was. No doubt they will be lying low until the Sutherland semi.
So to the Camanachd Cup. The score above tells the story: assorted witnesses tell the rest-lots of possession, enough pressure, chances wasted-always in with a shout until we weren’t. If that disses ‘Shiel, then read their side of the story in the WHFP on Thursday.
More interesting was the discovery in the Sutherland Cup match collection of a small round hard piece of rubberised plastic material with a hole in the middle which obviously had some sort of technological origin. Now being the possessor of an expensive public education which would allow him to converse fluently with the citizens of ancient Rome but leaves him a stranger to things industrial and technological, the Wing Centre was puzzled for a time. On holding it up to the light, he discovered that it bore the logo “Vacca” and this led after a little bit of sleuthing on the internet to the discovery that it was in fact a 3/4" Vacca Tap Washer (sold in a Flat Pack of 10) which retailed at £3. Interesting or perhaps scarily significant? But who on earth would have one of these in a pocket? The Wing Centre awaits the appearance in the collection bag of its 9 companions (3x3).

Enjoy the three pictures.
They are:
The Dressing Room after the Sutherland.
Glen mount an attack against Skye.
Calum and Billy leave the field in the company of Macleod the Goalie.

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