Saturday, March 09, 2013

More or Less

The Wing Centre likes a good quiz. This was one however in which he was a reluctant contestant.
“Do you know what the speed limit is?” said the question master.
“I do indeed, “said the Wing Centre. “It is a zone, defined by signposts, in which the speed of a vehicle should not exceed the numbers indicated on the aforesaid signs”
The quizmaster held up a hairdryer type of gadget: and peered at what seemed to be a screen on the back of it.
“30 miles per hour: that’s the speed limit, Sir”
The sudden formality of tone should have been a warning- but some adults, like some children, don’t always pick up on the social clues implicit in speech.
“I’ll grant you that 30 miles per hour is generally a speed limit in urban areas, “said the Wing Centre, “but here in the Glen the limit is 50 from beyond Dr Douglas’s house up to and beyond the Milton Road end. It is certainly 30 in the village but if you drive up West Lewiston or in front of Balnain School then twenty ‘s plenty.”
“Do you know what speed you were driving at?”
Now that is a clincher.  If you say yes- and give an answer which is not recognised as the one wanted, then you are in trouble.
“Could I have a minute to think about that, constable?”
So then the Wing Centre sat in silence for five minutes or so, then took out his phone to phone a friend to tell him he was held up and would be later than expected.
When he had finished the call he said “Constable, on reflection I was going at 33 maybe at most 34 miles per hour”
This let the quizmaster back into the debate.
“You were going at 42 miles per hour. I cannot ignore that”
“I’ve been at the shinty in Newtonmore, constable, and I’m going round to see some friends. I find it hard to accept your figure.”
Now there was a time when all policemen were Skye supporters and loved shinty - they even had a Gaelic motto on the side of their vehicles. That old Gaelic motto has now been swept away and been replaced by one from a completely dead language. “Semper vigilo”: it must mean “never in the village”. Oh for the happy days when Carl from Kingussie or big Norman from Dunvegan walked the mean streets of Old Balmacaan. Now you cannot even be sure of being stopped by a Leodhasach in a diced cap: the quizmaster sounded to highland ears as if he came from either Inveraray or Dunoon.
“Is this your own car?”
Not wishing to get into the intricacies of vehicle finance and at what point ownership passes from the garage or the hp company to the actual vehicle keeper, it seemed prudent to say yes.
Undergoing an incident debriefing with the Good Lady later, she having found the pink slip in the wallet, the weakness in the Wing Centre’s responses became clear.
“You gave too much information, “said she. “A policeman out working on a Saturday evening wants simple answers – like” yes” or “no”. It means he doesn’t have to write stuff down.  Simplicity in all things - especially to do with the law. In your case “Less really is More”

Which is when you think of it is not what happened in the game down on the Eilean between the Champs and the Glen. In life, ‘More really are Mor, especially in defence where Norman Campbell, Steven Macdonald and Rory Kennedy kept a tight hold of matters until the very late stages of the game. By that time in their heads they no doubt thought it was won.
The Glen cause was not helped by the absence of five players, especially with Andrew Corrigan and Ally Mackintosh missing from defence. The absence of Dixie Maclennan from the centreline was a late blow while James Macpherson and Ruaraidh Cameron being out, restricted options up front. That having been said Glen opened smartly enough and had their first shot on target within 5 minutes when Billy Urquhart made keeper Mike Ritchie look lively.
However, Newtonmore soon had the edge after that and though the Glen defence played well enough the centreline found difficulty in getting the ball up to the front guys. No sooner had it gone over the centreline than the big hitting Newtonmore defence fired it back downfield. The key man to the Wing Centre’s mind was Steven Macdonald: he is an excellent competitor and formidable hitter of a ball-always he does the simple stuff well. He can possibly be tested on better pitches by players who move the ball quickly and don’t give him a chance to get into the tackle but then again that really didn’t happen on Saturday. Encouragingly in the early stages keeper Stuart Mackintosh had not much serious stuff to do though there was the usual surfeit of clearing up work on hand: he coped with it extremely well.
The ‘More forwards however were wasteful and a number of shots went wide. Most blatantly, Glen Mackintosh blazed his strike high over the bar when he really had time enough to get it on target. To be fair, he got very little change out of Glen wingback Paul Mackintosh who had been due to play for the Drum seconds until the Friday night when his cousin Ally had to pull out with the flu.
‘More opened the scoring in the 31st minute in a simple move that Glen might have thwarted had they kept their focus. A shy by Paul MacArthur, who played soundly all afternoon, found Fraser Mackintosh on the goal side of the Glen buckshee back and he powered through more or less unchallenged to fire a low shot into the net.
At the other end Neale Reid got in a strike but defender Rory Kennedy put his body in the way of the shot. Reid worked hard all day but he found it hard to handle not only the pace but the blocking ability of Rory Kennedy who was smart enough to obstruct his runs for space at every opportunity.
By this stage of the first half Newtonmore looked on top but they failed to find the net- and so the story ran on deep into the second half with by that time Glen under sustained pressure from which they conceded a series of corners. The longer the match went on the more the unease grew within the ‘More fans that Glen might just sneak an equaliser in their few forays up to the other end, especially with Stuart Mackintosh in superb shot stopping form as he turned away strikes from Danny Macrae and  John Mackenzie.
That hope ebbed away however when with only 13 minutes of the match left to go, a free hit from Eddie Tembo failed to penetrate the home defence and was returned into the Glen backline where it was allowed to run through. A neat interchange between John Mackenzie and Fraser Mackintosh followed which culminated in a second goal for the home side.
Minutes later Tembo made amends when this time his free hit-Glen were beginning to penetrate a little more often -cleared the Newtonmore defence and was blasted home by Lewis Maclennan who had been sent forward to rescue something from set-pieces.
Mackenzie however restored the two goal cushion when he battered home the ball from close in but Glen had the determination to nab another goal from yet another free hit when Neale Reid slipped the ball to Ewan Brady who finished well despite pressure from the ‘More defence.
That was the end of the days scoring. Paul John will want to get onto his defence for losing goals to two set pieces. Otherwise it was a game from which Glen just might have taken a point but truthfully, if they had done so it would not have been a deserved one. On this showing ‘More look formidable, though no more so than last year: but then what does the Wing Centre know. He didn’t even know the speed limit.
In the other game, Glen went down 5-0 with four of the strikes being in the first half. Suffice to say that some of the lads played well and some did not do as well as they might have hoped. Newtonmore though, egged on by Cameron Binnie in the centreline and Calum Stewart up front clearly have strength in depth.
The pictures come courtesy of an old friend of the “D”, Dave Fallows of Newtonmore. If you really want to know what happened in the game, it might be a good idea to checkout his stuff in the Strathspey & Badenoch Herald. He also has a website at
The pictures are illustrative of the pressure ‘More put on the Glen defence in the second half, which is just the sort of thing that mischievous Dave would send to the “D”. The one with Glen, Smack and Paul is just one Mackintosh short- why was big Fraser not in the shot. Shinty gold!
Why did the Wing Centre hold on to the post for so long? Well, it was a bad day for Glenners, and not such a great evening for the Wing Centre. But he’s over it now-more or less.
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