Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Name Game

Glenurquhart 1 Skye 4 (North Division 2)
Kinlochshiel 2 Glenurquhart 3 (Premier Division)

It had to come to this. When you give the Treasurer too much of his own way then he starts thinking the primary function of the Club is as a money-making enterprise and not as a sports club to enable the youngsters of the parish to practise the noble though culturally threatened art of shinty. You have to suppose that he’s been put wrong at the thought of the expense of travelling down to Oban for a cup final. Whatever- when the Wing Centre came across him last week he was at his desk surrounded by bits of paper covered with minute, strangely artistic, columns of figures.
“You’re at the Books, I see, Treasurer,” said the Wing Centre, and he spoke with a tone of reverence and respect that had you heard him would have explained why the word starts with a capital. “I thought you would be using a computer spread sheet by now- one of these Excel things”
The look the Treasurer gave was withering-but it was clear that he had something on his mind that he wished to share with a wider audience.
“The only way I can see that we’ll get enough money to get to Oban is if we rename the stadium” “How do you mean?”
“You approach a sponsor- and sell him the right to rename the stadium.”
“You mean like that Ross County guy Macgregor did? He’s calling Victoria Park the Global Energy stadium now.”
“That’s roughly the sort of thing I was thinking about. Though he was pretty stupid about it as far as I can see. He already owns the Club but then he goes and sells the name to himself which seems to me a waste of an asset. He should have sold it to another company and increased the return.”
“But you can’t do that in shinty, Treasurer. It’s not part of the tradition of the sport.”
“Rubbish it’s already happening. Take Skye for instance. They call their ground “The Park of Heroes” and as you know everyone in Shinty thought they were being rather too presumptuous but then Ross Cowie told me they had done a deal with Cadbury’s and they were getting money for the name –they even managed to convince Cadbury’s to let them use the Gaelic form “Pairc nan Laoch” on politically correct grounds in keeping with Highland Council’s Gaelic Plan.”
“You have to hand it to them. They’re pretty glic the Sgiathanaich”
“Not quite so smart as Kingussie. That John Robertson did a fancy deal with Dell Computers and seemingly Kingussie are getting a fortune on a weekly basis. They charge a big price at the gate to get in there but that’s only so they are able to produce a convincing story about where the money is coming from to HMRC, what with Danny Alexander living nearby.”
“So what would we call Blairbeg? The Bellfry, after Alan Bell?” said the Wing Centre not without his tongue in his cheek.
“I doubt if Alan would be willing to pay on his own for all the boys to go to Oban to the MacAulay.” “So what do you think then?”
“I’m not 100% sure yet. We really need the finance committee to meet to consider all the possibilities. If Fraser Campbell would come up with the spondulicks we could go with “The Cobbery” or we could call it “Sustainable Park” after Druim Ba Sustainable Energy who already sponsor us. There’s a big game on today at “The Sustainable”- that has a sort of ring to it or even “The Nodram”…….. And so he chuntered on alive to the possibilities of profit, a true child of the austerity .

By that time however the Wing Centre had walked off down the road to the chip shop outside of which he found a stained and crumpled copy of the West Highland Free Press which by that time in the week had already fulfilled its secondary purpose as a receptacle for deep fried oblong pieces of potato. (see the pic)
Therein he read about the Glen’s two most recent games; he had attended one of them but on reading the report he came to the conclusion that he apparently hadn’t. He had to go back to his notebook to check up - and discovered that he had actually been present.
 What did he see?
He saw a Skye team that looked slick and moved the ball about very quickly and they went ahead in 7 minutes with a neatly taken goal from Jordan Murchison. Glen came back into the game but then the Wing Centre thought about it for a sec.
  It was unfortunate that Glen were very short due to guys having other commitments, injuries or first team duties. Drew Maclennan, Calum Smith, Calum Miller, Gary Mackintosh, Ewan Fraser, Duncan Fraser, Ewan Menzies and Kelvin Mackenzie were all unavailable.
Skye came strong with their first team game being postponed due to Inverness first team failing to raise a team. Then it all came clear. Skye had a more experienced team –so the focus had to be on how the Glen boys did. Cameron Maclennan did well in goals and young Euan Lloyd had a difficult task against Jordan Murchison who has a superb first touch. Euan however stuck to the task and actually came through strongly.
 As the first period went on Glen began to post more of a threat up front particularly through excellent touch play from Jack and Ben Hosie. Shots from each of them were on target as was an attempt by Daniel Mackintosh. Then a drive by Iain Macleod fizzed past with the Skye goalie looking more than flustered. Then when a direct strike from Ben Hosie came back out off the keeper two minutes before half time, Calum Fraser was on hand to knock it home to level the score.
  Skye went on to score two quick goals in the second half in 51 and 52 minutes- one by Ally Macdonald and the other a good strike by Murchison – and that convinced the Glen there was nothing to be gained from the match and Manager Iain Macleod took himself off to let young Rory Maclean have a shottie on the field – and so they Glen saw out time though an injury to full back Donald Fraser meant that a late chance fell to Skye forward Will Cowie in 81 minutes.
 This Skye combo were a slick outfit and well deserved their win but to look on the positive side, the Glen youngsters played well. James Hurwood in particular fought hard for the whole game as did Jack Hosie. He never gave up on any ball and worked hard right to the end of the game. He is currently Glen Second’s top scorer and at 16 years old that is impressive. What was pleasing about the whole squad was that all they showed great character and fight even when they knew they were up against it. That has to be a good thing.

Meanwhile up at Kirkton the top side took both points which has to be a good thing since ‘Shiel have proved to be awkward opponents ever since they fluked a Balliemore win against the Glen 5 years ago.
 As usual the black and reds started with five players short of a full squad but when Neale Reid rattled home the opener after a neat pass from David Smart then the Glen text-messages home started to become more positive. Though spirits flagged when Keith Macrae bagged the equaliser, they rose again when Neale Reid got a second.
A Fraser Heath strike at the start of the second half made the Glen secure- but it’s worth underlining how the goal came about. The under-17 international picked up the ball on the left, slipped it into the path of Reid and when his screamer came back off keeper Graham Kennedy, the young man kept his head to ram home the rebound.
 Game over- except for two things-Shiel keeper Graham Kennedy picked up a red card for his part in an incident with one of the Glen forwards. You have to feel for him since he will miss ‘Shiel’s upcoming Camanachd semi against Inveraray.

 The other “thing” was an own goal from Andrew Corrigan who mis-hit a clearance into his own net to give Shiel some false hope that they would pinch a point.

Next match - Glen go up against Kyles. No pressure then! As if. The kids? Versus Fort William. Away. No pictures except the scrunched up WHFP….. . There is one of Mr Reid on his way to Kyles - the headline on his paper might be a hint that a name deal is on the way. The last one ?
Some clown in a lorry drove off the A82 and because he could not be bothered to reverse, he simply did a U-turn on the pitch.Would you believe it! The pictures are proof.

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