Monday, October 21, 2013

By Truth , Justice and the Great Glen Way , the Avengers invade Argyll.

After the Camanachd Cup final, which was a bit of an anti-climax for everyone outside of Newtonmore, the Glen had nothing left to do but turn up at Tighnabruaich for the last match of the season. In fact the Wing Centre had made it to An Aird for the final and like everyone else in the north had called the result correctly but he was disappointed that Kyles did not seem to turn up on the day. If fact the best thing about the Camanachd Cup final this year was the amazing Gondola pictures. In the last “D” the Wing Centre slagged off the “Cup up the Ben” shot for being a little too touristy but he likes the Gondola pix and wasn’t Robbie Macleod brave.
However, when the Kyles lads got home after the match they would have reproached themselves for their performance.
Having said that, there was an Albert Smith medal winning performance from Newtonmore captain Jamie Robinson who made up for MacAulay disappointment in Oban two weeks before.
 Glen Mackintosh and Steven Macdonald were also players who caught the eye by putting in superb performances. Steven Macdonald applied himself to subduing Roddy Macdonald and did it so completely that Roddy was limited to a shot or two which flew high over the bar but it was Glen who ran selflessly up front and created stuff as well as bagging a goal. The Wing Centre has watched Glen in action against the Glen many times - if ever there is a player who has a name that will fit in on Loch Ness-side he is the man-and he just keeps on going. He gets knocked down: he gets up; he does not care if his opponents don’t like him; he carries on regardless. You would like him in your team: you would not like him playing against you. He is certainly worth his international cap and if he is in the mood and up for a tussle then the Irish will have their hands full trying to cope with him.

 Kyles Athletic 1 Glenurquhart 1 (Orion Premier League)

 The trip to Tighnabruaich could have been more than a little tricky. After all the Glen travelled without Arran Macdonald, James Macpherson, Lewis Maclennan, Paul Mackintosh and Ewan Brady- but they clearly went down in the mood to enjoy the day. Kyles were also missing players with David Zavaroni and Roddy Macdonald unavailable.
It has to be said that underfoot conditions were not great with a pitch that was absolutely sodden and soft with the grass cutting of the previous week lying on the surface. Bearing this in mind, team positioning given the options which were available was of the utmost importance. The line-up needed a strong defence to dig in for periods, a forward line that would carry a threat with Neale Reid and Fraser Heath tasked with not only spearheading the attack but also making sure that the defenders would have to really work to clear their lines.  The midfield was always going to have a difficult afternoon having to deal with the Dunky Kerr/Robbie Macleod running threat and a lot was asked of Dixie Maclennan and Eddie Tembo in the middle with Liam Girvan also being asked to fulfil a difficult role by stepping in at full centre.
The opening 5-10 minutes was a little rocky with Dunky Kerr twice breaking forward but firing over: on the other wing Eddie Tembo was very quickly able to blunt the threat of Robbie Macleod – and then gradually Glen moved up a gear to post a strong 20-25 minutes from the defence and the midfield.  Neale Reid and Fraser Heath began to get more ball and the red and blacks began to create opportunities with Reid winning most one to ones with Donald Irvine. Indeed Reid got through 3 times on Kenny Macdonald’s goal in this spell with Heath working off him well.
Eventually from a free hit Reid played in Fraser Heath who scored from inside the box giving the Glen a well-deserved lead. Truthfully the Glen should have been further ahead by this stage with Reid putting in an excellent shift at full forward and on a drier surface he would certainly have scored twice
Kyles however never give up and made a renewed effort to get back in the game.  With Dixie Maclennan beginning to tire against the pace of Dunky Kerr, Fraser Heath was brought back to midfield to curb his threat and Maclennan moved up to full forward and Reid was told to play a little deeper. While the Glen were perhaps disappointed not to be further ahead, a 1-0 lead at half time was probably a fair reflection despite the fact that Kenny Macdonald had been the busier goalie.
Kyles went for it at the restart and threw players forward on every piece of possession. Keeper
Stuart Mackintosh had to make one great hand save but at the other end there were also opportunities for Dave Smart, Dixie Maclennan and Neale Reid to make Kyles pay as the Glen counterattacked. Reid in particular was in excellent form collecting possession regularly at half forward and causing problems for Kyles.
Unfortunately, Kyles eventually equalised in 60 minutes through a scrambled effort but the Glen defence had brought this on themselves by failing to clear their lines with any real accuracy and this simply invited Kyles to press home their attacks. Ross MacAulay took a break from the defence with youngster Euan Lloyd going into his position and Billy Urquhart came on and joined the forward line. Lloyd picked up Dunky Kerr and this helped bolster the defence which was beginning to feel the pressure. Glen then picked up the energy level and Heath, Girvan and Tembo got on top across the middle again.
With 15 mins left Glen decided to push for the win so Fraser Heath moved back up front, Dixie Maclennan came off and a rested Ross MacAulay returned to the fray at wing centre. Things looked positive for the remaining time but right at the death Kyles had a shot that went whistling across the face of goals and Glen boss Drew MacNeil along with the travelling support were relieved to hear the final whistle.  Glen certainly had chances to win the match but then again so did Kyles.
On reflection the game was a good one for the Glen boys. It was certainly a hard fought match in difficult conditions which finished off the season on a positive high note. Throughout the match the Glen produced and continued to try to produce skilful phases of flowing shinty. It was a good team effort that required everyone to roll up their sleeves and remain positive about themselves and their team mates. Individually there were some good displays and without the players doing specific training on Wednesday and Friday the result would have been unachievable.   A 1-1 draw was fair enough.

 So then there was the trick of trying to get home from Kyles before the Monday. As may be seen from the pics the young fellows having put the season to bed, were in party mood and in the mood for amateur dramatics. For one thing they all put on fancy dress and must have caused a stir when they erupted from the Kyles changing room.
A small one act play then ensued in which a manager received a red card from a ref and his two goal judges. Hendo played the part of the manager, young Ali Mac the ref while Mr Reid (bottle-stopper specs) and Dodo played the part of the goal judges. Wherever did they get that idea?
Eventually the Wing Centre had it explained to him: Hendo was not playing himself. He was dressed up as a former Glen manager in symbolic battledress and wearing a bathing cap to simulate baldness though why Hendo should want to wear a bathing cap to simulate baldness when he doesn’t actually have much hair is a mystery to all. Mr Reid and Dodo were probably just playing themselves.
Batman reassured the ladies in the chipper in Inveraray that they would be safe now. Having been in character all day he lost his voice before he got home. Spidey had them climbing the walls in Ballachulish: Captain America who’d had an excellent game had lost his vibranium shield by the end of the day but by the skin of the hairs of Odin’s beard they all made it home safely-just.
Enjoy the pics especially the one of the lads in fancy dress.

What else has happened?
Ewan Carroll was recognized for his U14 selection for the North squad, and Euan Lloyd was picked for the U17 North squad.
Meanwhile the kids managed to win their under 14 Division 3 trophy which was very good to see and thanks go out to Stuart Morrison the team coach for all his hard work. Thanks are also due to Davie Stewart, Helen Maclennan and Laura Stoddart and all the other club helpers as well as to Bobo Morrison who is always a willing referee.
Finally the Wing Centre was leafing through the Herald (7/10/2013) when on the business pages he came across a familiar face. Well done to Martin English, a Glenner once and forever, for some years the Managing Director of Keppie Design Ltd which appears to draw up the plans for every public sector building in Scotland and a good many beyond.

Still Martin lives on in the hearts of Glenners as the man who scored the winner on the Eilean back in October 1986 in what was the first victory the Glen had recorded there against Newtonmore since turning senior in 1963.
Of course Glen has won there since - but Mr. English was in there at the start.  Surely he’ll subscribe to the Lotto now.
See if you can match him from  his professional photo to his appearance in the 1986/87pic.
He also appears in the snap from the Newtonmore Veterans' Tournament along with two other Glenners of yore, Davie Bell and Billy Maclean. I bet if they had taken Jamie Bell and wee Billy Macleod along they would have won the trophy.
Neil Paterson ( )is responsible for the photo of Jamie Robinson and the one of Martin and the guys in the Newtonmore Veterans tournament . The Camanachd Association provided the Gondola snap while the rest were sourced in the Glen.

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