Friday, July 19, 2013

Home Truths.

What the Wing Centre likes about Drumnadrochit is that it does its own thing. Just at the point when everyone in Scotland thinks tennis is the new zumba- and that kids will be led to fitness through mass participation in it-the Glen gets rid of its tennis court by turning it into a play park and widening the shinty pitch. Not before time- and probably just in time. That thought- and a few more besides-occurred to the Wing Centre as he walked into Blairbeg for the start of the Glen v Newtonmore Premier match on Saturday.
It has been the practice in the last week or so for the Wing Centre to start his piece with a list of absentees without whom the result would have been so much better-but there are only so many times the pony can do his one trick without it becoming boring so no more whinging.
Glen are disappointingly out of all the cups while the Badenoch big boys are still in with a shout of a treble and by the end of the day you could see why.
Glen started well-this is written so often that by now the machine creates the words via predictive text- and in 14 minutes after a good deal of pressure Fraser Heath pounced on a rebound from a Neale Reid shot and the Glen were 1-0 up and reasonable value for that.
The Newtonmore front men are all good players and they kept plugging away but John Barr, Ally Mackintosh, the returning Andrew Corrigan and Ross MacAulay, making his first appearance for the top side this season, all looked alert- that is until the 34 minute when Fraser Mackintosh was allowed to bump a grounder through a ruck of players to square the match. Two minutes later alertness was still absent when youngster Chris Sellar got away on the right and all of a sudden from a side who were fighting to get back in the game ‘More had a 2-1 lead at half time out of maybe four attempts at goal.
The second half truthfully maintained the tempo of the first. It was a hard fought competitive match with a great deal of skill at all levels. Ewan Brady in particular showed superb stick touches though at times he lost out in the physical challenges with bigger heavier Newtonmore defenders. Glen’s attacking was probably helped by the absence of the injured Norman Campbell at full back – which meant that Steven Macdonald had to stay on the ‘dust and ‘More lacked his skills at buckshee, though the boy who played there did well enough.
Danny Macrae grabbed his customary strike ten minutes or so into the second half but the Glen came back with a goal from Neale Reid. Glen then tried to force the matter at the shop end to get back into the game but despite have a good spell of play were unable to penetrate. Then at the other end in 68 minutes they conceded a free hit and Fraser Mackintosh was somehow able to muscle his way inside his marker to nick number 4.
Glen continued to try to turn the game moving John Barr up to full-back and manager Drew MacNeill came on at full back for the last quarter but it proved to no avail- and it was more who finished strongly as the Glen centreline of Eddie Tembo, Arran Macdonald and Dixie Maclennan who had been splendid throughout finally began to tire.
A much better performance then than against Fort William with all the side really making an effort to compete and in the end beaten by a side that can finish. The Wing Centre has in the past been less than generous to Newtonmore sort of writing them off as a route 1 side though there is nothing wrong with whatever works. That was not true on Saturday when Danny Macrae, Fraser Mackintosh, Glen Mackintosh Chris Sellar and latterly John Mackenzie were all trying to work the angles and create good opportunities much more than they did the last time the teams played and certainly much more than they did against Lovat in the TV match. They really ought to have the season sewn up and if the Wing Centre was a betting man he would back them for the rest of the trophies.

On the same day at an earlier point Iain Macleod took his side off to Skye in North Division 3 and went down by 2 goals to 1 which is, as always, close but no cigar. The Skye website has a report on the match- and it seems the Glenners did all right at least in the first half. Multi-purpose player Jordan Murchison, coming back from injury, got the opening goal in the second half but only after Ben Hosie had to go off injured earlier in the match. Ben has being doing well and it is to be hoped he will recover quickly: Glen can certainly do without another lad crocked in this “Annus Horribilis”
In the second half Glen were under some pressure and Dunc Fraser picked up a yellow for some unorthodox defensive behaviour towards Ally MacCrimmon the Skye sub. In the end MacCrimmon doubled the Skye lead though Bradley Dixon had time to convert a cross ball from a corner into a Glen goal in the very last minute.
A disappointing day then – and one which both sides were looking to turn around with a double home fixture against Lochaber in the Premier and Aberdeen University in North 3. An important double homer at a pivotal point in the season for both sides.

Which is why when the advertising boards were being put away at Blairbeg, the Wing Centre and the Treasurer (who had a very good collection from the various tourists who had stopped in on the way from Monster Exhibition to Castle) were disconcerted to meet a number of the other Glenners approaching the pavilion store looking thunderous. It clearly had nothing to do with the game because ref Graham Cameron had done all right and Newtonmore were just about  worth their win.
“The Camanachd have only gone and changed the fixture for next week,” said the Chairman.
“B#*#*#*s! We’ve got Billy’s daughter’s wedding on-he fixed it based on the Camanachd’s own schedule and not only that the Club have arranged to run the bar. At least the second team boys will be here to set up the bar after their game with Aberdeen Uni.”
‘’’Fraid not. That game is changed as well”
“Because they can change anything they like-but it’s all down to getting Fort William a heap of home fixtures before An Aird is shut for a month to get ready for the Camanachd Final”
“So instead of getting two home games at a crucial stage in the season that we might reasonably hope to win-we’re given the more difficult task of going away at the last minute. Meanwhile Fort William who managed to not play Lochaber in the famous Sunday fixture are getting a run of home fixtures out of sequence. Not really a level playing field eh?”
“They could always have defaulted to the Black Parks for home games, couldn’t they?” said the Treasurer. “That’s near enough level but what really annoys me is that we are missing out on another potential big collection like we got last week, “he continued, .” The place was crammed with tourists-and we’ll miss out on a big take. That’s the bit I find particularly galling. There will be no one at Fort William. Last time we were there for a cup game they even had to ask us to chip in to pay the ref- and that was after the collection”
The Chairman looked sharply at the Treasurer but found no trace of irony in his features.
“The Camanachd don’t think of that. They just want An Aird polished up for the telly.”
“If An Aird needs six weeks to be polished up for the telly, then perhaps it should not be on the telly in the first place.”
“It’s Billy who worries me. He might take the hump with the club”
“Not Billy. But it’s unfair on him to have this dumped on him at the last minute just because An Aird is a mess.”
“We’ll cope like we always have done. Shinty will survive despite the Camanachd.”
“Should we ask Kingussie to change the second game?”
“We will not ask Kingussie for anything-and that’s all there is to it.”
The Wing Centre who quite likes Kingussie as an example of an old Scottish Burgh which serves no useful function, rather like the feather in a clan chief’s bonnet, looked as if he was about to say something to the Chairman, then thought the better of it.
“We’ll write a letter to the Camanachd Association.” said the Chairman. “That’ll put the wind up them.”
“Why don’t you copy it to Archie as well and Donald Stewart if you want wind to be put up someone.” said the Wing Centre.
“Don’t be stupid.  That will just annoy everyone- and the next time Jim goes into Alton Towers they will catch him and lock him up in the basement- and everyone will think he just hasn’t come back from the States. I think the best thing we can do is book a bus for Kingussie-that is if we can get one that hasn’t been reserved for cruise-line passengers from Invergordon.”
And that is where the Wing Centre left matters….

The pictures of the game are from Donald Cameron (1,2 & 5)and Tina Marshall (3 & 4). Thanks to them both.
Tina's stuff can be found at while Donald's pics are here

tumblr hit counter
hit counter

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fadgy goes Radge- and then Glen go quietly

It is difficult to know where to begin, except to note that with the hot weather this village is beginning to smell like it is in Spain. The bins at the shop are honking and there is a drain halfway up Balmacaan Road that smells somewhat Latino as well. There is also a very positive result to report from a second team game or two- one being a narrow loss away against Lovat and the other a nice 4-1 home victory against Fort William. Both of these results were obtained against the odds- at least 12 recognised players were unavailable for the Fort game and about 8 were absent against Lovat which tells us that a large player pool is required to float summer shinty successfully. Certainly work ,holidays and other activities play their part but the killer for the Glen this season has been the long term  injuries to key senior players that would have bolstered the backbone of our seconds and been able to step up to fill senior gaps when required-so hats off to Davie Girvan, Paul Mackintosh and Calum Fraser. Glenners did not really appreciate you until you’d gone.
Even reduced to a crowd of youngsters the Glen did well against Fort seconds. Right from the off in the first half they controlled in the middle of the park. As a result of some neat interplay a very good Glen took the lead through a good strike from Ben Hosie. Domination continued and deservedly Glen went two nil up through Calum Smith, who had taken to the field even though he was carrying a shoulder injury.  Despite the pain and his unaccustomed position up front Smith played some lovely balls through into spaces for the other forwards to feed off, but this time shot himself high into the net, The defence of Donald Fraser, Duncan Fraser, Rory Maclean and Drew Maclennan dealt with the Fort's attacks very well in the first half and David MacFadyen in goals too had a couple of nice saves dealing with things well. Cairn Urquhart then put the Glen 3 nil ahead with an excellent strike from distance and at this stage of the game it looked very possible that the Glen would rattle up a big score. Unfortunately the red and blacks lost a bad goal just before half time when MacFadyen let a free hit run into his net but in actual fact it had taken a slight deflection on the way off Donald Fraser so the goal stood.

MacFadyen was not pleased to say the least and let both his goalposts and the referee know the extent of his displeasure.
The second half was somewhat of an anti-climax however and sadly even ominously in the light of what was to happen in another game later in the afternoon, Fort William got back into the game and began to create chances. However this Glen side defended well and did not allow them to score. Calum Smith dropped back into defence to help shut the door and manager Iain Macleod brought on James Macpherson at full forward for the last fifteen minutes. His first attempt on target brought him into the Glen’s “Hall of Fame” because he hit the shop with his attempt. He now ranks alongside Lewis, Arran and Donald Paul in his ability to strike Drum’s one genuine piece of ‘60s urban architecture. However a few moments later James controlled a cross field ball from Daniel Mackintosh and fired home a fine goal low into the net past Garry MacKay in the Fort goals. With only 10 minutes to go, this lifted the game beyond Fort William and the Glen gratefully picked up both points.

Credit too to the Fort lads who played well - they had 7 under 17s in the squad- which should bode well for the future. Of the other players Sean Cameron and Johnny Cameron both put in good shifts and Peter Woods certainly drove his men on all afternoon.

 After all that the Camanachd Cup tie was a real downer.  Fort William were not expected to win and after the way they have been playing this season you would not ever have bet on them beating the Glen at Drum- nor should they have. Ok so Glen were down four players- Andrew Corrigan and Ruaraidh Cameron at work while David Smart and Lewis Maclennan were suspended. Add to that the three lads mentioned at the top of the article and obvious replacements like Andrew Macdonald and Stuart Reid out with injuries then you could argue that Glen were caught in the perfect storm. But Andy Murray has taught us not to make excuses for failure but to cry instead- and grown men would weep to see the amount of territorial possession and pressure the Glen had in the first half of the game without really troubling Paul Mackay in the Fort William goals. A string of early corners came over- Ewan Brady had a shot on target, Dixie Maclennan had one over the bar. Mackay batted three away then Neale Reid had a sharp strike that came back out- but at no point were the Glen forwards able to cash in on the rebound balls.
One glorious chance was taken away when Dixie Maclennan went past Neil Robertson and squared the ball to Neale Reid who was alone in front of goal. Robertson was lying on the ground and the game was stopped for a head-knock (it wasn’t as far as the Wing Centre could see) and the resulting throw up was taken over at the bowling green side whereas the ball had actually stopped on the edge of the D. However the Fort defenders were smart enough to move it out there and the danger was past. Dixie was then booked for taking a ball in the air rather harshly and Stevie Stewart came through the back of Brady’s leg and roused the ire of the crowd but not of the ref. Some older Glenners though, it must be admitted, have a different view of this and feel that young Ewan put his foot in front of the stick.
The Wing Centre does not agree but the ref – and the older Glenners are entitled to their own opinions. He obviously thought it was a head knock and the rules are clear enough on that. Otherwise the ref had a good game: he didn’t listen to the sideline gaffers and was his own man. Even so, Glen should have made more of their pressure. The best Fort men were those you would expect - Gary Innes and Gordy Mackinnon.
Gordy is a super player with a great attitude- and he worked hard all afternoon chasing everything that was remotely in play.
As for Gary Innes- when the ball went up to the shop end he seemed to be always on hand to make a bad situation for the Glen worse- and he was to carry this bad habit on into the second half.
Glen had the most of the second half too but then in the 82nd minute after a Glen attack had been repulsed Fort moved up to the top end and a shot from Daniel Stewart came back off Stuart Mackintosh into the path of Gary Innes and he put the Fort one-up. Sickener but always bound to occur if you don’t finish off teams when you have the chance. Two minutes later with the Glen still trying to believe what had happened careless defending allowed Ryan Campbell to finish off the Glen’s interest in the Camanachd for yet another year.

All that was left was to be noble in defeat, make up excuses and live with losing. It is not a very nice feeling. Anyway we are in good company being out of the Cup- the Lovats, the Beaulys, Kinlochshiel and the Cabers are all left to ponder on learning curves and cup failure. Hmm…..
Gary Innes makes a rare appearance for Fort and wins them the game: Kyles can hardly buy a goal- and then knock in 7; Ronald comes back from Wimbledon and beats Kinlochshiel all on his own with a walking stick. Looks to the Wing Centre that the result of the day was the Cabers’ one.
Any sensible betting man would back ‘More for the double no matter who they draw in the semi: you can have that tip for free. Pity Glen play them on Saturday.
Iain Macleod’s squad is off to play Skye. With two sets of the Skyvers playing at home they will probably be up against it.
The pictures are all from Neil Paterson  (
except for the snap of Drew looking for the Camanachd Cup in the grass. That comes from Donald Cameron. His photos of the match are at
The link isn't live so you will have to copy and paste it into Google though other search engines are allowed. Picture 3 shows two of the lads who missed out because of injury-Stuart Reid and Andrew Macdonald.
Clearly there are other pictures one cannot use-the snap of John Barr doing a wheelie in Lewiston on his motorbike. Firstly how come John has the energy to do that after a match when he really should be exhausted- and secondly the young lady on the back , Ms Iona Maclean may well have been delighted to have picked up a job in Aberdeen but that is no reason to be seen in the company of Mr Barr. At least she was wearing a crash-helmet and given that her dad, former Glen manager ,Billy Maclean is out of the country this weekend there is a fair chance that the D will have another post up by the time he gets back and he will never learn what Iona has been up to. Nice one Iona-stringing along J B and your dad. Class!

tumblr hit counter
hit counter

Scottish Blogs