Wednesday, November 28, 2012


“Ooh, What a night
Late November, back in twenty twelve”
You betcha. That’s the way uh-huh we’d like to remember the annual Glen Dinner Dance if, in fact, we can remember it at all which is not something to take a bet upon. Last Friday night a busload of dedicated Glen revellers sped along the A82 to the Clansman Hotel where they sat down to a delightful repast, according to choice, of :

Scotch Broth/Prawn/Chicken Pate
Toffee Pudding/Pavlova/Dark Choc Truffle.

As per usual the Wing Centre could not quite recall what it was exactly that he had ordered. Doubtless that is a common problem which could easily be solved by either remembering the said order or indeed writing it down and keeping the piece of paper with the info in a safe place. Yes, you can see the problem. A more original solution is to make sure you sit reasonably close to the serving hatch where an eye can be kept on the various serving persons as they leave the kitchen with their plates of scoff. If you fancy say “the beef” as opposed to “the chicken” which you may or may not have actually ordered, it is easy enough to say yes to the passing server who will most likely shout out what is on the plate in the hope of an honest answer. The veracity of the answer is, however, most unlikely to be checked and that way a pleasant evening can be had while the anxiety of worrying about what you might or might not have ordered is therefore removed- as are all feelings of guilt because you may be assured that someone elsewhere will be doing the exact reverse of what you are doing, Thus karma is restored and all is well with the world- or then again perhaps not though, as a tactic, it ranks up at No 5 in the Wing Centre’s samizdat self-help  publication “Social Skills for Young Shinty Players.”
All this is of course by way of digression for the real business of the evening was the dishing out of the annual awards and this quickly got underway-once the venue had been checked for the spy from the Skye Camanachd website who appears to be able to infiltrate any shinty gathering throughout the kingdom however remote. It is difficult however to winkle them out because as the Wing Centre has stated in an earlier article, wherever you go in the Glen or indeed the whole Highlands, there is a Skye person to be found. They have intermarried with the natives and remain as “sleepers” within the general population. Indeed the only group in the Glen that may be regarded as Skye-free are those Mackenzies who hail from that part of Wester Ross which stretches from Lochalsh to Lochbroom- and there are one or two in the Club. Why so? The answer lies in the fact that their ancestors spent the greater part of the Middle Ages extirpating Macleods from the western seaboard so successfully that unless they had moved to Nova Scotia the only native Macleods are now confined to Achiltilbuie and Assynt, where it is hoped they may stay.
As soon as the venue was declared, in as much as it could be, free of the Sgiathanaich, the Chairman rose to his feet, commanded the children to be quiet, and paid tribute to retiring Secretary Hazel Stewart who was giving up the privilege of negotiating  the Camanachd and other Associations forthwith.
 Also honoured were Jan and Alan Bell who after coaching the primary youngsters in the hall, tennis court and field over many years, finally decided to step aside and pass the caman on to a younger generation of coaches.
Young player of the year, for the second year running was Fraser Heath. He has had an excellent season despite a nasty hand injury earlier on. A member of the under 17 London Shield side at the end of last season, he took his place in Ronald Ross’s under-17 squad for Ireland in the summer, moving on to be picked for the under 21s in Ennis in October. Fraser has had an excellent year in Glen colours and has turned out in defence, midfield or attack as required
His performance in the MacAulay Cup final before a nationwide TV audience won him the man of the match award despite several of the goals scored by other players being clear candidates for goal of the season.
Senior team player of the year was David Smart. Dave has had a simply excellent season. Week in week out he has put in the hard graft that is required to win Premier League points and he has shown the vision that sets up chances for others.  He always had a fine touch with the club but these last two seasons he has worked hard at his fitness and the effort has paid off with a winner’s medal in the MacAulay and a call up to the International squad.

Second team player of the year was Drew Maclennan. He too has had an excellent season and also showed a great deal of resilience when he received a nasty mouth injury in the league at Kinlochshiel and as a consequence missed out in the semi of the Sutherland against Newtonmore and the semi of the Strathdearn against Fort William. His return to the fold was greatly welcomed in the last few weeks of the season and he put in the effort v Kingussie in the Sutherland final re-run though he was disappointed as the whole club was to have missed out on the win.
Highlight of the evening was the arrival of the MacAulay Cup winning side who came into the dining room just before the meal was served to display the Cup to the fans, and those who were unable to do so on the day accepted their medals. Amongst those recipients were Andrew Macdonald and the two managers Drew MacNeil and Fraser Mackenzie (Official).
The company then rose and toasted the health of Shinty in general and the MacAulay
Association in particular.
The relevant pictures which are included here were taken by the Wing Centre. Suffice to say that he is no Neil G Paterson and he may have indeed missed out on some of the hot snaps because he had a choice of sitting where he might get a good view of the presentees or where he could be near the hatch to be assured of his choice of food. The food won out as it always would do. Sweetest of the pics is Mr Reid with his flowers-Nice innit.
The tug of war pic? Billy who is at the front of the tuggers became the poster boy of Glen shinty for reasons that need little explanation. His image has become ubiquitous and he certainly sells the brand. He walked round the Games with the Cup and Olympic torch along with the poster boy of a previous generation, Alan Bell – and the pic included here came from the front of the Glen Highland Games Programme in 2012. Billy missed the dance because he was off-shore keeping the UK economy afloat, but he has promised to do the bungee jump. Let’s hope he wears the sponsors’ jersey this time.



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