In with the New-but let's hang on to the Old for a wee bit longer.
It’s not possible to keep walking with your legs cut off, so how can you write about shinty when there isn’t any? With some difficulty! What happens at this time of the year to the Wing Centre is that he begins to fret, to look at old pictures of shinty teams, make lists of the best players he’s ever seen and at one point he even fell to wondering what the inheritance tracks of Ronald Ross might be. Have to say it was not a topic that detained him much. Nor did the thought that he might run an article in which shinty managers were induced to pose in artistic photos with their favourite clubs and their favourite cats-say James Perlich with his Kyles Caman and Tiddles; Norman Macarthur with a Munro special and Smudge; or more appropriately Drew MacNeil, his old battered Tanera and Tigger. Well, it was an idea. In actual fact, for a little while the concept developed a half-life of its own and plans were even made to contact Neil Paterson to take the snaps though when a call to set up the deal was made to Lovat manager Alan Macrae the matter died on the spot. He insisted that any animal involvement had to be either a working Collie or nothing. Nothing it was-(the Club made out of an old whin bush was also not suitable) but there’s a true Crofter for you, though the thought did occur that, given the dog was probably naturally endowed in the Lovat colours of black and white a little bit of corporate branding could have gone on over the hill.
The very mention of Lovat did depress because of the fact that early in December news came through to the Chairman that the MacAulay Association had made the draw for their cup- and apparently the Glen have been drawn away to Lovat. That short trip will at least save us a bus hire but should Glen get through then they are away again to Kingussie. At first the Wing Centre was suspicious about the draw - it appeared to be very similar to one which he was involved in back in 1982- but when he looked again at the files he found he had not kept any record which implies that the cup run was on that occasion somewhat brief.
This year’s draw he has retained as the screensaver on his i-phone replacing Neil Reid’s Usain Bolt celebration when he almost burst the Mossfield net back on that day. Why so? Well first of all you have to be reassured by an organisation which, in this day and age, posts the draw in the form of a hand written work of art. Beyond that it is a work of art which promises either glory or disaster. Time will tell what the outcome will be for the Glen. For that reason it will remain the screensaver until the Lovat match at least.
Back in the Glen and still on the subject of the MacAulay, last week the Chairman splashed out on a trophy cabinet of the highest quality. Top class wood (mahogany from an old table) toughened, indeed probably bullet proof glass , a lock (of which he alone knows the combination - the Wing Centre’s guess is 6-0-2012-but it’s only a guess based on the season’s most significant figures) There are also three moveable shelves. To be fair in order to fill it we had to find an old fishing trophy and the Cup from the Games Tug o’War but the Camanachd Cup will definitely fit in it. It was formally unveiled on the night of Friday 21st December in the presence of the Chairman, Mr Reid and assorted players and officials including one of the managers. As was appropriate the Chairman spoke warmly on the occasion, recalling the glory of the victory and the many wonderful memories which had been stored up thanks to the countless pictures that had been taken on that incomparable day and afterwards. Then he called for a round of drinks to be served to the company and, as has now become customary in the Glen, toasted the health of the MacAulay Association.
The one that particularly caught the eye, particularly now that there is concern about the away match in the cup we hold, occurred in February 1995 when Glen defeated Camanachd Cup holders Kyles Athletic 5-2 at Blairbeg. Everyone in the Glen knows that Kyles got to that final the previous year after squeezing past the Glen at Oban in what was described in the press as “one of their legendary Houdini acts with an extra time win carrying them into the final after Glen had appeared home and dry”
Anyway according to Bill McAllister (Yep-it’s the same guy-no wonder he can write a history column in the Courier: he was probably there))“Glenurquhart ace Davie MacVicar helped end the grip of his brother Ronnie’s Kyles Athletic team on the Camanachd Cup by firing the Glen ahead in five minutes, though Neil Nicholson levelled a minute later. Matthew Sloggie restored the Glen’s lead but Peter Mobeck (how all the young Glen girls swooned at his blonde locks the year before-N.B. Bill did not write that!!) the hero of last June’s final in Inverness levelled by half-time. But Stuart Morrison and Colin Maclean gave Glen a flying start to the second half and Morrison’s last minute goal set the seal on a stirring performance by Glen.”
And the moral of the tale is? For young Beanz, James and Alexander - the old guys could play. For the rest of us who knew that anyway, let’s cherish the MacAulay while we still have it- and so this piece contains some pics of the great day and its aftermath that have not hit the headlines before. The only surprise was that none of the guys made it into the New Year’s Honours list-wonder why?
The focus however is on pictures of the MacAulay and the pleasure it has brought to the Glen and all who live in it. There are snaps of the Primary kids in both Glen schools, along with their teachers. Dolly Fraser , widow of the late Danny Fraser, Shewglie who was instrumental in the rebirth of Glen Shinty in the late 1940s is featured along with former President/Chairman Alan Bell and the staff of the Glenurquhart Care Centre Care . So does Lally English , sister of the late Prof Peter English who was synonymous for so many years with shinty in the Glen. Mrs Josie Mackenzie retired Deputy Head of Glenurquhart High School is also pictured with the trophy as is Vice-Chieftain Ken Fraser and former Club secretary Hazel Stewart. Happy memories to hold on to-events conspired to make us appreciate the day and the victory. Let whoever wins it next enjoy it as much as the Glen did.
The focus however is on pictures of the MacAulay and the pleasure it has brought to the Glen and all who live in it. There are snaps of the Primary kids in both Glen schools, along with their teachers. Dolly Fraser , widow of the late Danny Fraser, Shewglie who was instrumental in the rebirth of Glen Shinty in the late 1940s is featured along with former President/Chairman Alan Bell and the staff of the Glenurquhart Care Centre Care . So does Lally English , sister of the late Prof Peter English who was synonymous for so many years with shinty in the Glen. Mrs Josie Mackenzie retired Deputy Head of Glenurquhart High School is also pictured with the trophy as is Vice-Chairman Ken Fraser and former Club secretary Hazel Stewart. Happy memories to hold on to-events conspired to make us appreciate the day and the victory. Let whoever wins it next enjoy it as much as the Glen did