Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Month’s a Long Time in Shinty

A whole month has gone past since the last posting- and if it is true to say that a week is a long time in politics then a month is a massively long time in the shinty life of the Glen. Let’s look at what has happened. The senior team first of all took 3 points out of 4 in a golden spell which saw us beat Kingussie (2-1 away) then we took a point at Inveraray (3-3- a bit of a rescue job if truth were told) but since then a 3-0 home defeat to Kyles and then a 5-1 capitulation to Kilmallie at the Canal Park. There will be reasons no doubt and had one actually seen the games it might have been worthwhile taking up a position-but that is now not relevant. We still have to play Glenorchy down in the depths of Argyll. Everyone else has beaten them but because they are now doomed to relegation they are now somewhat ironically beginning to improve; to the Glen they are a massive banana skin which we must avoid slipping on if we are to seek Premier League security. Of course we are up against Inveraray this week at home. Ordinarily one would have been positive about this game but with Inveraray in the Camanachd semi – and one assumes, increasing their training regime- and with most probably Russell Mackinlay being willing to travel since he will want another shot at a Camanachd final then the Wing Centre for one will not be going into Ladbrokes for a punt on a Glen victory. Much of course will depend on who is available and how the side is laid out- and this is no place to speculate.
But what on earth has happened to the Heroes? A win against Kingussie was followed by defeat against Lochaber and Fort William, then a partial recovery against Kilmallie. The big blow was losing out in the Sutherland semi to Kyles and that after putting out both ‘Garry and Newtonmore. Having watched the Sutherland Final in Aberdeen- never bet on Glen making a final is my advice to one and all-it is fair to say that Kyles will be disappointed with their performance and one would have fondly imagined the Glen might have done better. Aye Right- one would have said that until last night’s trip over the hill to Kiltarlity to play Lovat. The result 9-0. Correct! You can look through this blog right back till 2005 and you will not find any mention of a defeat of such magnitude. What happened? Greg Matheson happened that’s what. He scored 6 and Glen did not play so much badly as play without conviction and a competitive edge where it mattered. It is not as though we sent out a bad team: we had one or two missing but there were players with experience on board who might have done better.
However, from the moment Lewis Tawse put them ahead in 12 mins you could see conviction slowly leaking out of the side. Matheson is special talent as far as striking the ball is concerned-he has always scored against Glen sides –and last night there was no answer to him. What makes it more depressing is that Glen have not had a high scoring forward this whole season – and from having had a pile of youngsters coming through in the past year or so, last night’s cupboard seemed particularly bare. That should of course have been no surprise because a casual glance at training would reveal that there are very few youngsters there. One can understand older players with family commitments who have stepped down from the first team taking a relaxed view of training but for the young guys to avoid it on a regular basis reveals that something is missing- and until we find what that missing ingredient is then Sutherland Cups are simply outwith our grasp.
Where does that leave us with a semi final of the Strathdearn to come? Who knows- and yet again that will depend on who is fit and available- though it has to be said this last result is hardly the best preparation for such a big game.
On a sad note the game was prefaced with a minute’s silence to mark both the passing of Pauline, wife of former Glen player Jamie Bell, and Lovat’s Ian Mackenzie who was a mainstay of the black and whites defence in the 1970s and 80s.
To make the piece more positive I have popped in a few pics. One of the weekend’s festivities at Aberdeen where there was a celebration of the Aberdeen University Shinty Club’s 150 years of existence and as one can imagine there was a good Glen contingent present across every era of those represented. Donald Watson provided the two pics-the second of these one of the Uni team of the early 70s. Spot the Glenners! The first picture is I think going to be a shinty classic-the spire of Kings and the indigenous sport.
The picture of Calum Miller against Oban is courtesy of Neil Paterson while
the remaining pics are of the Marine Harvest awards winners- Mike Cameron and Steve Henderson with North Div 2 Managers of the Year trophy from last session, Ewan Brady with the under-14 player of the year trophy, and finally and deservedly Helen Maclennan with the Donella Crawford trophy for Youth and Schools Volunteer of the Year. Well done to all.

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