Thursday, October 01, 2015

One last performance on shinty’s big stage from Old Vic

By rights it should have been Gordie Mackinnon that the “D” was congratulating .
Gordie was retiring-not a word you would normally associate with him- but at 40 he decided that enough shinty was enough shinty and indeed at the end of this game he was warmly applauded off the park by team-mates opponents and spectators alike. He had a fine game, worked hard and certainly did not look either off the pace or out of place. That said Fort William had come to Drum more than a little short of players in certain departments- and this was not helped when youngster Dean Williamson took a nasty knock on the foot and had to depart for Raigmore. Fortunately later reports indicated that Dean- who had scored the golden goal for Lochaber High School in the Great Glen Sixes (Schools Under 17 Competition only a few days earlier – had not suffered a break to his foot though it was clear that the knock will leave him with some heavy bruising.
Anyway here is a pic-with permission from the Fort William Club- that shows Gordie leaving Blairbeg for the final time. Thanks to them for that.
But what of the headline at the top of the column? Well with the Glen 3-0 up and the game more or less dead, Victor Smith-once upon a time described in the press as portly-obviously got fed up watching and decided to participate.
So he subbed his daughter Zoe-you could not make this up- and the Wing Centre hopes that Mrs Smith gave Vic an earful when he confessed to what he had done when he came home after the match.
Vic then came on at wing-forward or full forward- the nimble vet was buzzing about so much it was hard to tell where he was actually positioned -and before you knew it he back flicked a ball that took Glen keeper Stuart Mackintosh all of his years and quick reflexes to keep out of the net.
After that attempt the portly one was a little puffed and came to the side of the post, where goal judge Billy let him have a drink out of the Glen water bottle, something no Newtonmore player would ever be allowed to do. That is except Norman Campbell who once worked in the Glen putting a road in for wind turbines(not such an acceptable occupation in the Glen now) and as far as the Wing Centre knows no-one in the Glen apart from Andrew Iain or DP would be brave enough to stop Norman taking said drink and it has to be said they were not there at the time.
Anyway back to our hero.
“There’s goals in me yet,” said Vic. The thing with Vic is you never know if he is joking or being deadly serious. Sometimes he is both.
“Well keep them for another day, when people will appreciate them and they will do your team some good.” said the Wing Centre who had finished doing the collection by that time and had nothing left to do but annoy both sides by giving as he would see it valuable advice which might affect the course of the game.
Mistake. He should have said nothing. Certainly, Vic said nothing but you could see he took the comment as a challenge and before you know it he had chased a ball out the wing towards the A82 and fired it into the net from an outrageous angle. Not for the first time did the old entertainer steal the show but if he had listened to his own coaching advice he should have squared the ball to young Astie or one of the other lads up front.
Anyway for the next six or so minutes Vic kept circling the edge of the “D” like----what?  A lion hunting down its prey? Perhaps not- maybe like an old Balmacaan farm cat looking for an arthritic mouse in a bale of hay. Whatever he was like, you were only glad that his centreline were not able to get the ball up to him often enough for him to do himself a mischief…
And the Glen, the ostensible winners of this contest?
Well they opened as if they were going to rack up a record score. The first goal was a thing of beauty- a pass down the wing from Iain Macleod, James “Frostie” Macpherson pushes it to Neale Reid who sends it back out to Conor Golabek and his finish zipped in at the post for the opener inside 6 minutes.

A few more flurries round the goal brought some excellent stops out of Fort keeper Paul Mackay while other attempts ended high over the bar and bouncing among the cars in the shop car park.

 It was while retrieving one of these misplaced efforts that the Wing Centre missed out on the second goal which came about from a strike by James Macpherson. It was at this point-15 minutes- that the match was halted to allow treatment to the already mentioned Dean Williamson who took a knock trying to block the shot.
After that the game went to sleep. The Glen overplayed the ball at times, generally lost their shape in the centre of the field and were unable to add to their total until late in the game when a nice shy from Eddie Tembo was pulled down by Neale Reid and volleyed home in fine style.

Then as we know-it was all about the old stager himself.

No not these old stagers-or old stags perhaps - who've been locked together in perpetual combat since at least the millennium. Notice how they push and pull jerseys without a care in the world. Good on them.
The real old stager is of course Vic!!
What happened before then?  There has been –not to put too fine a point upon it- a bit of a gap since the previous piece. Newtonmore came to Blairbeg and left with four goals and both points after a week’s delay caused by the fact the pitch had been rendered unplayable by the tug of war at the Games. A screamer from Glen Mackintosh, another from Fraser Mackintosh and two from Norman Campbell. Glen struggled to cause Mike Ritchie problems but then Newtonmore did pay the Glen the compliment of playing their youngest fittest defenders against our forward line and they probably had to.
Then the Crofters only went and won the Camanachd Cup. There is nothing else for a Glenner to say at this point but…..well done. No pics for you guys though unless you send one with Mary Ann, Ron Millican, Jimmy Gallagher and Big Finlay with the cup. Don’t worry  Glenners –it will never happen!
Even the Beauly guys couldn't believe it when they were told about it.

Thanks to Donald Cameron for his pictures.

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