Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Footnotes to the Season

For a while now in the Glen it seems that the shinty season has been over though the team has seemed not to realise this and carried on winning anyhow. Half the time the full squad hasn’t been available. You wonder how focused the side might have been had they anything to actually play for, like Newtonmore who are coming here this week. Why they are coming here when the pitch is still in a state of recovery from the Games and we have no matches scheduled for most of September this scribe does not know. It’s unusual too in that it does not fit the usual back to back pattern of fixtures which has become so familiar of late.  Oh well never mind.

What has actually happened since a certain date in June is that the Glen have  won a pile of matches  and  drawn one - and of the ones the Wing Centre has seen the only one he can be bothered to recall with any real clarity is the one that happened this past Friday at Balgate, though the earlier encounter which took place the week before also sticks in the mind.
The two games were chalk and cheese: on the first Saturday Lovat were dominant in the middle and had the bulk of the possession yet for some reason - you realise just how reliant they are on Greg - they could not score or even test Smack1 (Yep-somehow he got his place back after Fadgies2 Inveraray display - though maybe Fadgie was working). Glen had in fact more and better chances but James Macpherson, Ally Mackintosh and Fraser Heath all contrived not to score them. Meanwhile Lovat’s Ryan Ferguson came running through on several occasions and just when he should have shot for goal contrived to pass it wide out of the danger zone to the consternation of the Lovat fans and the bemusement of the Glenners young and old.

“He must have less confidence in his shooting than we have in John Barr’s,” said the old Glenner.
“But John Barr’s3 not playing,” said the young Glenner.
“That’s what I mean,” said the Old Glenner somewhat cryptically. Anyway in the second part of the game Lovat scored a scrappy goal through Lewis Tawse 4  but not long afterwards Macpherson had a shot that was saved by Lovat keeper Stuart Macdonald 5 only for the ball to fall to Glen’s Iain Macleod and he dropped his hands down the club and first timed the ball into the net. It was the best goal to come from that side of the Glen since Dunc Fraser6 first timed a corner home against Beauly earlier in some other season.

In the end the teams shared the points and although Lovat were without Lorne Mackay and Greg Matheson, the Glen were missing John Barr, Andy Corrigan Neale Reid and Ewan Brady, the latter two because they had been speaking to refs when they should have been listening or something like that.
The most exciting thing about the game was the fact that the collection was very good and thanks must be offered not only to our own people but also the Lovat folk because they were generous.
Anyway six days passed and the Glen went over to play Lovat at Balgate on the Friday night. Naturally Fadgie was back in goal and what an excellent closely contested game it was. Indeed it was only spoiled for the Wing Centre by the fact that he got a tick in his calf when he crossed the long grass from the road where he had parked his car.
Like the usual Lovat defence the tick was tenacious and took some time to be dislodged with a tweezers – but, surprisingly,  the Lovat defence was more easily penetrated this time because Neale Reid, back from suspension, opened the scoring in the second half after a really fine passage of play: then Ewan Brady, also back in the side, fired in a second and although Ryan Ferguson managed to pull one back as the fading light confused Fadgie, Neale Reid was still able to notch another before the end.

This game tells Lovat quite a lot about what they have to do in order to beat Kyles in the upcoming Camanachd Cup. In a sentence they need to get Greg Matheson back fit for the fray. Lorne Mackay would also be useful but Fraser Gallagher would be even more valuable. Otherwise the look of their subs bench is long on experience but probably ,as the picture shows, short of pace.
However,it was a pleasant evening and the game drew an excellent crowd which has got to be a good thing.

Nothing has been said about the Lochaber games or the Kingussie games except that for this pundit at least back to back fixtures are not really appropriate. Let’s leave it at that and hope the Camanachd are able to look at such things a little more carefully in the season to come.

What else has happened? Not really very much of note for the second team except that Michael Fraser fired in a hat-trick against Lovat seconds and now appears to be the top scorer for this season in the second string.

A series of poor results before that against Strathglass and against Kingussie mean that there is now no hope of winning North Division 1 – not that that was ever realistic. The thing that does disappoint however is that manager Chris Surtees has had to patch together teams in order to compete at all just as we have arrived at the business end of the season. Still the youngsters who have turned out have put in plenty effort on the field and the Lovat result was a boost.
Then came the Glen Games and a tractor push which took the lads from Corriemony down to Blairbeg and once round the track all for the sake of cash to keep the side solvent. A pic or two is included as a record of the event. Iain Macleod organised the event while Mr Chairman drove the tractor and provided a manic edge to the whole afternoon.

The Club also ran a bar in the Hall on games day with Louisa Urquhart in charge of business while Helen Maclennan, Laura Stoddart and Laura Quinn were kept on their toes dealing with the orders.

The actual bar itself - put together by the four Bs (Bobo Morrison, Billy Macleod, Billy Reid - also known as Mr - and Bill Urquhart) also looked fantastic and thanks are due to them for their efforts.

 For the first time ever, the “D” while it doesn’t aspire to the style of Samuel Pepys’ diary, has included some footnotes if only because yours truly has managed to learn how to do superscript!!

The first two pics are from Neil Paterson while the rest are from Sheena Lloyd. Thanks to both. 

1 Smack – Stuart Mackintosh former Glenurquhart goalie, now third in line behind Fadgie and the Ralston boy. He does not appear to smoke.

2 Fadgie- David MacFadyen – would be Glen’s first choice goalie if he did not have to work on the occasional Saturday. Is a physio so he can sort his own injuries. He does not smoke either.

3 John Barr- shinty player who was brought up in Abriachan. The only other Glen player who does not smoke.

4 Lewis Tawse- a Lovat shinty player. One of the 11 Lovat players who do not smoke. Has a remarkable geometric hairstyle. If he really wants to be cool, perhaps he should smoke.

5 Stuart Macdonald- another Lovat shinty player. He is the only one who does smoke.
6Dunc Fraser- a Glen shinty player who scored a great goal. We don’t know if he smokes or not because we have not seen him for the month of August

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