Ancient Rivals meet again
The papers called it a double
celebration for the Glen. Maybe it was but these were two games which, given
the clear application of common sense, should not both have gone ahead on the
same pitch. The Wing Centre for one is happy that Blairbeg was not the venue of
choice for the two games though it could have coped with one. Still as the
Chairman would say, it was what it was.
Strathglass 1 Glenurquhart 4 (The Ali
The first game was the for Ali Ban
and the result was a comfortable 4-1 win which came about through first half
goals at the top end of the field, the surface of which was at the start of the
match in much better condition. Once again,
the key to Glen success in this period was the fast and mobile forward line
comprising Cairn Urquhart, Jack Hosie, Daniel Mackintosh and holding the complete
unit together Raymond Robertson. The Strathglass defence were
older and stronger and, to be fair to them, they obviously had to call some lads
out of retirement to get a team together at all. However, in that first period
the Glen front men supplied well by a centreline in which James Hurwood was outstanding,
created a series of chances and within half an hour Glen were three up courtesy of two fine
strikes from Raymond Robertson and a single from Daniel Mackintosh. While all
the forwards played well in this period Robertson was the pick of the bunch ;
he works hard, hits the ball well and most importantly keeps the tempo of the
game turned up which is always required if a team is going to overcome its
Strathglass worked hard in the second
half to get themselves back in the game and were immediately rewarded when
youngster Lawrence Jones scored a nice goal. For the next period of the game,
the Glen defence had to weather some heavy pressure and although they stood up to it manfully
there were times when they found it
difficult to clear their lines quickly Glen were fortunate to have Paul
Mackintosh at the back as the last line of defence along with keeper David
Macfadyen. Eventually matters turned round and when the manager Iain Macleod
brought on youngsters Lachie Smith and Liam Robertson things took a turn for
the better and a late goal from Liam Robertson put the icing on the cake.
Credit has to go to the Strathglass defenders though both Raymond Fraser and keeper
Ivor Macleod because they both held back the swing at times when a Glen
youngster was caught on the wrong side. Well done to them both and to the other
Strath players who kept the contest sporting when the underfoot conditions
could have easily caused possible injuries with youngsters slipping and sliding
in front of swinging camans.
Certainly there were many positives
to come out of the game but replicating this result against the standard of
side the Glen seconds will face this season will not be easy. However that’s
for time to tell-in the meantime James Hurwood was awarded the Russell Cameron
Memorial trophy for man of the match.
Strathglass 0 Glenurquhart 6 (The
Winning a Macdonald Cup is always an
achievement but this result will not tell the Glen a great deal about how
fitted they are for Premier competition for the simple fact is that Strath are
two divisions below the Glenners in shinty’s pecking order. However it was important
that Glen won well and although the condition of the pitch could have been a
leveller in the end it did nothing except prevent both sides from playing fluent
From the outset Glen were on top and
with Strathglass full back Donald Fraser clearly short of full fitness due to
the recurrence of a long term groin injury, it was only a matter of time before
the visitors made the breakthrough. That came in the 16th minute
when James “Frosty” Macpherson fired home at the second attempt after David
Smart had set him up from a free hit.
Next a neat interchange of passes between
Macpherson and Lewis Maclennan left Neale Reid with a clean strike from distance
to double the Glen’s advantage. Just
before half time team
captain Eddie Tembo was taken
off with a cut above the eye, which although producing a lot of blood turned
out to be quite minor. He was replaced in the centre line by Ewan
Brady and Glen continued
to press hard but resolute Strathglass defending from Scott Douglas and George
Phimister in particular, kept Glenurquhart at bay until the break.
Shortly after the restart however Lewis
Maclennan made it 3-0 when he outrageously first-timed the ball home from an
acute angle. Glen then had a further period of
pressure but it was another 20 minutes before the 4th goal via an
excellent finish by Neale
was then pulled back to defence with
Fraser Heath moving up front and he grabbed the 5th in 76 minutes. Glen managers Billy Maclean and
Davie Menzies then used the last 15 minutes to try
out a few other positional changes and the final goal came from Ewan Brady in 89 minutes
meaning that Glass hearts were well and truly broken on the day.
The Glen management were pleased enough
with the result and the performance on a difficult surface. In general the
forwards played well.
David Smart had an excellent first half and both Neale Reid and
Lewis Maclennan looked very sharp. The centreline was
strong throughout and the defence though rarely really threatened, did what they had to do. Particularly pleasing was another solid performance from Mike Brady, and Euan
Lloyd also did well
though he needs to execute his tackles with more precision. What this result
means in wider terms though is unclear though the return of John Barr at full
back gave a solidity to the side that was not apparent last week.
Glen full centre Arran Macdonald was awarded
the Shewglie trophy for man of the match: his quick hands and clean hitting on
a tricky pitch caught the eye of former Lochcarron full back Alan Mackenzie who
was charged with picking the man of the match. That no easy task on a day when
there was a number of contenders for the prize. Still Arran was well worth the trophy
which he last won back in 2007.
Strathglass? They will come back.
Josh Fraser is an excellent young talent and if only he had been one of the
Glen Frasers he would have been in the Glen top team. Michael Stokes played
well as did his brother Robbie until he took an unfortunate knock in the mouth.
Darren Reid is a player too as is Donald Fraser even though he was at half
pace. George Phimister is always hard to beat and Robert Geddes is still
defying old father time. Good on him.
Most of the pictures are from Neil Paterson (www.neilgpaterson.com/ ) to
whom the D is always grateful. The rest-Brad and Dunc, James and both team pics -are from the Treasurer who has his Canon digital Ixus in his pocket.
The first thing that showed
it was going to be a reasonable day was the fact that the sign “was going”
again as we say in the Glen. Having been unlit and increasingly unloved over
the last few months, all of a sudden the sign was cheery once again, providing
information about games and times and generally making all Glenners, young and
old, feel that an important corner had been turned. Soon no doubt it will be
conveying Birthday Wishes to all and sundry-especially sundry-thanking our
sponsors and even wishing the tug-o war team well, such is the feeling of
generosity and general bonhomie that a working sign brings in its wake.
Naturally enough it pointed
out the times for the two friendlies: the away game against Boleskine and then
the other home tie with the Isle of Skye.
Boleskine 0 Glenurquhart 6
Historically, the Glen have
struggled a little against the lads from the far side of the Loch. This time it
was different though the state of the pitch made it difficult for the Glen
forwards to play the kind of simple give and go shinty that suits the mobile
Glen front men. Despite the tricky underfoot conditions the forwards started
well and were quickly into a rhythm which was sufficient to keep Boleskine
under more or less permanent pressure.
With James Hurwood attacking from wing
centre the front four of Jack Hosie, Cairn Urquhart, Daniel Mackintosh and
Raymond Robertson overran the opposition and inside half an hour were 3-0 up
The first two goals came from the excellent Raymond Robertson with the second
being a particularly well worked attempt thanks to neat interplay between James
Hurwood, Jack Hosie and Daniel Mackintosh. This set up Robertson to finish from
about 14 yards. Jack Hosie soon added number three.
this point manager Iain Macleod rang the changes to bring on the Glen’s young
subs Liam Robertson, Lachie Smith, Ryan Porter, Jamie Maclennan and Cameron
Maclennan and they started the first period of the second half as well. An
injury to Ewan “Boo-boo” Fraser was a disappointment and when the youngsters also
started to tire a little on the heavy pitch the manager reinstated the original
line-up in time to add further goals with Daniel Mackintosh netting one and
Cairn Urquhart two.
summing up the performance a special mention must be made of half-back Paul Mackintosh .He had a solid game, and
while the side will be up against it this season on many occasions, his experience , determination and motivation
will set the tone for the season.
was a friendly certainly and the Glen can take some heart from the fact that in
the end they racked up a reasonable tally of goals. Greater conclusions than
those are impossible to draw given that Skye were missing an important player
or two particularly Stevie Morrison who tweaked a muscle a few days before the
match and had to pull out. Glen too were without John Barr, Andrew Corrigan,
Ally Mackintosh and Dixie Maclennan which is basically the whole first choice
defence but Skye though they looked smart enough at times and moved the ball
well were unable to make any headway
though Jordan Murchison had a couple of opportunities to do better than he did.
Glen opened with a goal in the first minute when Neale Reid got free on the
left and fired a low rocket in on Skye keeper Jamie Gannon. He saved it well
with his feet but in doing so allowed the ball to rebound out high enough for
Lewis Maclennan to take it in the air above his head and smash it home for the
rest of the first half was a disappointment to the Glen because though they forced
keeper Gannon into making at least three worthwhile saves the forwards were
unable to add to their tally and beyond that the whole atmosphere of the game
began to flag.
second half picked up though and the Glen doubled their lead more or less right
away when Neale Reid slipped an early ball through to Lewis Maclennan who
played it back for James Macpherson and his drive took a deflection into the
net off a Skye defender. Reid then burst through the Skye defence to fire home
number three. Lewis Maclennan was then tripped in the box for a penalty which
he converted himself to make it four and finally nice play from David Smart and
Maclennan set up Reid free on the right with enough space and time to smash
home the fifth and final goal.
it was a good performance from the Glen with David Smart and Neil Reid looking
especially sharp. Michael Brady debuted well and youngster Euan Lloyd had a
good run out in defence. Arran Macdonald also put in a solid performance as did
Eddie Tembo and Ewan Brady though sterner tests lie ahead. For Skye Allan
Mackinnon did well as did Gilleasbuig MacDonald though his travel arrangements
on the day were complicated enough to warrant a whole Burt Bacharach number to
himself as well as a special page on the Skye website. Whatever else it’s good
to see Gilleasbuig back with a full set of fingers again and able to swing a
club freely. Long may he continue to do
pictures are obviously one of the sign and of course of the lads during the
game. It’s a new camera phone and it does what it wants. Be patient- Neil Paterson
is bound to turn up one day!
it was time to watch Geordie take the nets down and then head off home to see
how the rest of the weekend’s friendlies went. The only worry was the fact that
the men from Strathglass put four goals past Oban Celtic. It may be ominous –
and then again it may not. According to the sign if we are to believe it, it’s
the Macdonald Cup/Ali Ban double header on Saturday at Cannich and as always the
Glasaich are sure to be up for it. Let’s hope the weather is not too bad.
The past is another country; shinty was different then.
The fixtures are out ,
the cup draws have been made and before
we know it shinty’s phoney war will be over and the Glen will be back at the
business end of their camans once more-provided, that is, that the weather
holds. You have to say that the whole Glen has been lucky so far-the pitch
looks in fine condition after Mr Reid has rolled it twice and cut the top
corner near the bowling green.
It is quite hard to remember that a few years
ago just after the trees had been taken off Herd’s Hill and with a collapsed
drain on Balmacaan Farm, the pitch at Blairbeg was completely out of commission
and the Glen had to play for a full season on the outside pitch at the Bught.
Long may the Jetstream park itself somewhere else!!
At a time of the year when
there is little shinty related to do except draw the lotto numbers and watch
the training, the Wing Centre was alerted to a programme on BBC Alba which
touched on the indigenous sport. Filmed back in 1978 at a time when the
Highland Constabulary still thought they could catch the killer of Renee Macrae
the programme featured Newtonmore just as it lost a filling station and gained
a by-pass with the creation of the new A9. It must have been very interesting
for folks in the village to see all those who are gone- the Wing Centre did not
recognise many of them with the exception of the late Jock Paul Mackintosh and
Sandy Russell- but what did strike him was just how great the change has been
in the portrayal of shinty on the media. That change has certainly been for the
better. The Newtonmore side of the 1970s were the best side of their day and
their Kingussie opponents were on the cusp of becoming the most successful
shinty side in history yet from the tiny snippet of the game that was shown the
impression was given of a sport dominated by violence and absence of skill. A
game of shinty between two of the best sides in the sport was patronisingly
edited down to conform to a stereotype which probably persists in some uneducated
parts of the Highlands and beyond still. What was especially sad was that the
legendary Findlay J who was doing the voiceover- doubtless he had no control of
the script-using that distinctive antique Hebridean accent, allowed himself to
characterise shinty as a “form of warfare” and Mr Cameraman lingered on some
dubious swinging by Davie Thompson, a punch from Ian Bain while Rab Muir and
Kenny Mackintosh were filmed doing a Keystone Cops routine over a stick.
Meanwhile ref Brian Watts was involved in an argument with a spectator while
the boss of Tulloch Homes, big George Fraser battered the Kingussie keeper over
the line into the net. The rest of the game was left on the cutting room
floor-in those days literally: shinty-and the Highlands- was ill served by such
coverage. Has it improved? Massively but
then again it could hardly have been worse.
Of interest too was the Newtonmore
Shinty Club Committee meeting. Again the TV Agenda was skewed to focus on
compensation to a player for losing his front teeth in a match. Of course that
did occasionally happen as it still in the modern game –though gum shields and
face guards have made the sport much safer-but the Wing Centre has been
involved in shinty committees over many years and they have always dealt with
much more complex issues such the provision of team development opportunities,
sourcing equipment, transport, pitch maintenance and improvement. Admittedly
the film did look at the new pitch that was being created on the Eilean though
why that was not filmed being discussed in the Committee meeting only the
producer knows. Newtonmore Shinty Club was at the forefront of shinty’s
facilities revolution and the club was stuffed with able articulate guys like
John Mackenzie, John and George Fraser yet they were never asked for an
opinion. Pity. Even more’s the pity that the programme was called “Shinty Town”
when the subject was so poorly dealt with.
Afterwards, one was left with
the sense that one had been watching a programme as remote from our present day
experience as it would have been had it focused on the lives of a tribe of
Indians living in the Amazon jungle. Perhaps not, but one hopes things worked
out well for the lad Kirk who like so many small time filling station owners in the Highlands was summarily
shafted by a big oil company.
Also approved by the
Committee was the removal of the “solar panel” which worked the sign so well for
a year or two. Now the sign will run off a cable which has been run underground
to the pavilion and is powered by an exercise bicycle in the wee fitness suite
which is to be found in the said pavilion. The Pavilion too has had its
lighting restored and the photo included here has already been featured on the
Club website, as has of course the congratulations to the P7 and under
youngsters for winning the Inverness
Area C C
tournament at the start of February and as a result they have progressed
to the national final in Fort William.
That takes us neatly on to
the cup draws which everyone knows by now. Glen have a trip to Skye in the
MacTavish while in the Sutherland Iain Macleod’s lads face GMA at Drum and in
the Strathdearn they face Lochaber also in Drum. Well done to the WAGs and also
to the Camanachd Association for getting City Provost Alex Graham into the
picture for the draw.
Next up – a home friendly
with Skye while the seconds seek out Boleskine on the Farr side of the loch.
These games will both be testers. So far, from what the Wing Centre has seen
the guys have been doing well in training-last Saturday saw a successful full
sided work out between two full Glen sides at Blairbeg – but only time will
tell how that will transfer to the actual game on the day.
Photographs ? The Pavilion at
night all lit up ;
: the guys in the practice then doing stretches and of course the
Primary 7s. Enjoy.
Back in the Glen where the
Loch Ness Monster builds the quaintness factor into village life, the Shinty
Committee is much exercised with enlarging their sponsor base – and a quick
look at the new website will reveal that much has been done - Nodram, Cobbs,
The Loch Ness Inn and HIS all appear as main funders and that fact will no
doubt be celebrated on the new club jerseys which will be unveiled before too
long. The Committee are also greatly
exercised with the creation of a “rebound wall” for player development and with
any luck it will be ready in the near future. It is for those who are not well
versed in these things the equivalent of the old gable end of the stone cottage
against which the young player of yore used to hone his skills. The only difference
will be that the surface of the newly created wall will be too smooth for
authenticity in comparison with that of the old rubble built cottage.
Personally the Wing Centre would also like to see the inclusion right at the
top of the wall off a wee window to encourage accuracy of shooting though sadly
that did not meet with the agreement of the rest of the committee.