Friday, September 08, 2017

Travelling on the train facing backwards

If you have ever tried to book seat no 51 on a train and you look it up on the website it can’t really tell you if you’ve got your back to the engine or not because-and here’s the obvious part-they don’t know how the carriage is to be coupled up to the train. It might be this way or that way-there’s no back or front to a railway carriage. Except there is, as you quickly find out if the seat no 51 you have booked happens to have its back to the engine and you prefer to look at the rain whilst facing forward. Anyway travelling on a train facing backwards is just about how it feels to support Glenurquhart in the Premiership this season with the additional delight of realising that the experienced crew have all clocked off their shifts or been sacked sometime in the middle of the journey and left the locomotive heading where….?
We will find out soon enough but some of the kids who have come on to the train are pretty good although they have had to grow up pretty fast. 
At one point earlier in the season this Glen side were good enough to beat Lovat 5-0 and now that same Lovat squad have slipped almost unnoticed into the Camanachd Cup final where, with a bit of improved commitment and self-belief from two more of their forwards, they could almost justify a new pavilion.
If the Wing-Centre was ever a betting man, he would not bet on this game. He won’t have to watch it however because on that very afternoon the Glen will be staging their own big day out when they play in a fixture which predates even the Camanachd Cup- the challenge match with Strathglass and that must always take precedence.
If truth be told the game that disappointed most was the 4-3 away loss to Lovat back in July. Glen rode their luck most of the first half but then thanks to an excellent strike from youngster Oliver Black and two from Frostie Macpherson-the second one is candidate for goal of the season- we were going in to the last 10 minutes ahead. Then John Barr was sent off for a second yellow based on a foul which the referee imagined rather than saw.

With the Glen reduced to 11 men, Lovat pressed on and scored twice, the second coming with the final hit of the game. Apart from making a comment about the over enthusiastic celebrations from some of the tenants of Macshimi there is plenty more which could be written about that game but it’s pointless:
our situation is not due to that occasion but to a number of other matches which we have lost by the odd goal.
There were plenty points to be had but they weren’t picked up when they should have been. A crazy 3-2 loss to Lochaber at home when Glen were 2-0 ahead at one stage was another self-inflicted wound. However as well as self-inflicted wounds there were many others which were not: knee injuries to Jamie Maclennan, John Peteranna and Ewan Carroll played havoc with the second team and so these players were unable to step up.
Then there were suspensions -on the back of some (though not always) dodgy bookings which left the Glen short for crucial games. A serious injury to Euan Lloyd –and other less explainable absences have not helped but it has been the loss of John Barr -as well as the fact that he has at times this season struggled with injury -which has undone the Glen.

With the exception of Ronald Ross, there was hardly a player in the country who could get past him when he was in his prime: he has also been an exceptional servant to the game. Captain of his club and his country John has talked youngsters through matches for a decade-he has been one of the most consistently focused and effective players in the entire sport over that time. Apart from Ronald, perhaps Dannie Macrae and John Stewart are the two other players who had the physical power to stand shoulder to shoulder with John. Of the recent crop of forwards certainly only ‘Shiel’s John Macrae has the physical strength to compete with him throughout the full 90 minutes.

Here we are then- not in a cup final (though both sides did make semis this season) and in a parlous position re points. Yet on the upside there are youngsters coming through despite it all. Despite it all in fact says it all. This is possibly however a debate which can be had at a better time.
There have been downs clearly but there have been ups. Thank goodness for our girls’ squad because both Hazel Hunter and Ishbel Barr have bailed out the second team. Indeed Hazel has also been on hand to bail out the top squad if needed.

Whatever happens by the time the season closes –win or lose, up or down-the Glen will keep on keeping on. Always.

Thanks to Sheena Lloyd for all pics – also thanks to Neil Paterson for the snap of John as winning Scotland captain.

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