Friday, March 21, 2014

Playing for the Jersey

Saturday was sponsors day at Drum. Both sides picked up their new kit with sponsors’ names emblazoned thereon. The senior squad and Captain Eddie Tembo received their new jerseys from Mr Donnie Macphee of Nodram who has moved his sponsorship this year from the second side to the top team.
The second team jersey sponsor is Cobb's, the bakery company based in the Glen - and second team Captain Bradley Dickson is pictured here picking up the jersey from Mr Gary Clark of Cobbs.

 Glenurquhart 0 Kyles Athletic 0 (Orion Group Premier League)
If you want to have the honest truth-on the basis of the Glen’s second half performance this was a point lost which did not need to be. To be fair though if you turned up at the match, switched to Drum because of the fact Tighnabruaich was unplayable, and you realised that Glen were three short of their recognised first team defence - the injured Andy Corrigan and Ally Mackintosh with John Barr a last minute absentee because of work requirements - then you might have settled at the outset for a solitary point.  Indeed in the early exchanges Kyles looked more competent: they seemed to stop and move the ball more competently. Glen though had a clear early chance when Ewan Brady moved the ball up to James Macpherson but he was blocked from a clear chance. In 25 minutes from a foul Ewan Brady  set up Lewis Maclennan and his long shot was palmed out by veteran Kyles keeper Kenny Macdonald.
Kyles then had a clear chance to go ahead with Roddie Macdonald apparently clean through in front of goal. Glen keeper Stuart Mackintosh had other ideas though and he came swiftly off his line to avert the danger and clear the ball to safety.
The half closed with a Lewis Maclennan attempt which flew harmlessly across the face of the Kyles goal. It was an end to what had been in fact a pretty even first half though what did surprise the Glen regulars above all was the fact that the Kyles forwards did not in any way look sharp against the Glen defence in which youngster Euan Lloyd and Michael Brady were able to deal with everything that was thrown at them. The non stop running of buckshee Fraser Heath certainly did help because he did not permit the Tighnabruaich men any spare time to dwell on the ball. Two years ago Heath was man of the match in the MacAulay final: his contribution so far this season has been invaluable.
The problem with second halves is that the Wing Centre is out of the picture as far as taking notes is concerned since he goes round trying to get the public to part with a collection.  That inevitably means he hardly gets a chance to view the game at all. For what it’s worth his view was that for the first 35 minutes of the half Glen had the upper hand in play and territory and all they actually needed was a goal. A glorious chance to grab one was created when Neale Reid managed to put Lewis Maclennan in the clear but his shot, excellently struck though it was missed the target by a whisper and saved Kyles’ blushes.
As always Kyles came back strongly – and they shaded the last 15 minutes though they too were unable to penetrate though keeper Stuart Mackintosh made the fans’ hearts skip a beat when he knocked a ball by for a corner rather closer to the post than this spectator would like to have seen.
A word in parting about the refereeing: Billy Wotherspoon can be annoying in his insistence on perfect shies and booking players for swearing. However if these are offences as far as the rules are concerned, it’s up to guys not to do them.
However, as far as back pushes and fouls were concerned he got the vast majority right and by putting guys in the book -  Iain Macdonald for hand ball and Lewis Maclennan for an intimidatory swing - he kept a tight grip on the game and allowed the stick players to flourish. The only hope is that other referees are as tough on spoiling tactics throughout the rest of the fixtures in this, the tightest of leagues.

 Glenurquhart 0 Skye 3 (Marine Harvest North Division 1)
The usual nice crowd of islanders came ashore at Drum to view this fixture which, if truth be told, the Glen supporters were a little concerned about.
Why? The demands of Premier shinty meant that 3 of the better bairns –James Hurwood, Euan Lloyd and Jack Hosie were down to be included against Kyles. In the end however Hosie turned out against Skye though the pattern of the game was such he got little chance to shine.
Skye have some fine athletes in their team but how demeaning it must be for them not to be playing at the top level. Will Cowie, Jordan Murchison, Neil MacVicar, Shockie Maclennan , Stevie Morrison and Gilleasbuig Macdonald are all quality performers but they are going to need to hit the net more regularly if they are to move up to the next league - always, that is, supposing that they actually want to.
The game was really all about Skye pressure and Glen defending. Danny Morrison opened the scoring in 5 minutes with a powerful shot from distance and then for most of the half full back Donald Fraser and defenders Paul Mackintosh , Ross MacAulay and Brad Dickson worked like fury to keep the Skye men at bay. To be fair keeper David MacFadyen was also called into action especially when he had to face up to and subsequently save a Jordan Murchison penalty.
At the other end Glen did occasionally pose a threat goal threat but on the few occasions that Dan Mackintosh , Cairn Urquhart, Jack Hosie and Raymond Robertson had possession, they were outmuscled by the Skye defence and were unable to make the ball stick up field long enough to do any damage.
Eventually the pressure had to tell and so it was that after some neat lead up play from Danny Morrison who fed the ball to Shockie MacLennan the Skyemen doubled their advantage in the 77th minute. Finally Skye substitute Kenny MacLeod rounded off the scoring with a fine effort from 20 yards on 85 minutes.
In sum then, a good effort from the Glen defence with top marks for Donald Fraser in particular: the inequalities inherent in this league are becoming clearer by the week.
This week a trip to Kingussie is on the cards for the top side while the reserves are due to face Strathglass at Drum. The weather though may decide otherwise.
As was the case last week, the photos come courtesy of Sheena Lloyd. Sorry about that pic, Lewis tumblr hit counter
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