Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Old Macdonald’s Cup, the Ali Ban, the Maclennan Trophy - surely we don’t have to play Premier League matches as well?

“It’s your own fault,” said herself. “Provoking them like that.”
The Wing Centre was nonplussed for a bit. It was hard to recall whom he had not provoked which meant that there were more than a small number of candidates who might have been irritated by something he had said, done or even worn.
His vacant look prompted some elucidation.

“Kinlochshiel. You’ve annoyed them. They played out of their skin and beat us 4-0 in the first Premier Match of the season all because you annoyed them”
This was difficult for the Wing Centre to accept completely. Certainly his poetic effusion might have been misconstrued but at its heart was merely an attempt to immortalise ‘Shiel by putting them in the same poetic frame as the Glen. He would rather have imagined that they would have been pleased- but then again maybe not. People are strange - and West Coasters stranger than most.
“Well anyway, “said he,” the boys played well enough considering… they kept Clann ‘Ic Rath at bay for the whole first half. The score only got worse in the last few minutes and if we had scored the three early chances we were given then…”

“Stop that nonsense,” said she. “And don’t mention the players who are injured or banned or otherwise absent. That’s what we have to deal with. However, I have read that piece by Alasdair Bruce on the Skye website- and according to him without Smack pulling off a pile of saves then we would have lost even more.”
“What on earth makes you read Alasdair Bruce? For a start he’s from Skye and they see things differently there. It’s a Misty Isle for goodness sake - there’s a Celtic Twilight. You only have to watch them at the goal-judging to realise they all live in a parallel universe - and that the rules of physics which apply to this side of the bridge don’t apply in Portnalong or Portree. However, once they get off the Island and come to live among us they become normal.”
“Have you ever considered - and I know it’s difficult for you to take in - that you might be the one living in the parallel universe,” stated herself - and with that she went back to preparing her begonias.
The Wing Centre didn’t spend much time considering what was clearly a preposterous comment but he let his mind wander a little back to the previous week. It had been a good series of outings against Strathglass-the girls winning the Maclennan Trophy, the seconds winning the Ali Ban and finally the Macdonald Cup. Already the trophy cabinet in the Loch Ness Inn was full - even if the Glen were to win anything there might be trouble with where to keep the spoils. Only the Strathdearn or perhaps at a push, the MacTavish would be low enough to fit into what remained of the space left in the cabinet. No point in going for anything else - there is nowhere left to flaunt it.
The Macdonald Cup day with all its intended circus however was a lovely gala day of old fashioned shinty held on a day that was quite pleasant considering.
The girls were first up and according to the rough notes jotted down in the trusty reporter’s notebook the goals came from the following players -Donna Mackenzie (3), Hazel Hunter (3) and Sarah Fountain. Afterwards the trophy was handed over to captain Siobhan Thompson by Helen Maclennan.

The Ali Ban was also a reasonable contest with the Glen comfortably in front grabbing goals from Brad Sneddon (2) and Ben Hosie. Afterwards Iona Smart, a descendent of Ali Ban handed over the player of the match to Ben Hosie and the cup to captain Duncan Fraser.

The main match between the top sides for the cup of the day was also an excellent affair- and neither side seemed to be fazed that they were missing some players who had been transported away to watch a rugby match in Edinburgh by the local High School. Let’s not get started on rugby and its ability to paralyse and otherwise reduce cognitive capacity - but more importantly consider that the city of Inverness has built state of the art rugby facilities for Highland Rugby Club using as part of the funding sportscotland money to create a supposed multi-sport all weather facility which just happens to be too wee for shinty. One shouldn’t get annoyed but if the Council then build a velodrome on top of that, when you consider that Shinty’s Bught Stadium has been waiting for a refurb since the 1950s then……!!
Incoherence rarely strikes the Wing Centre and this bout soon dissipated at the memory of the fine Fraser Heath hat-trick which sealed the Macdonald Cup. Fraser does a lot of things well and he is in fact at this moment the most effective player the Glen has on the pitch. Fast and focused he makes a difference to how we perform- and any lad called Fraser has to be OK.
And so to the Marine Harvest Premier League where the Glen picked up their first point of the season against an Oban Camanachd  side who have quite often in recent  years been a bit of a bogey side for them. Indeed after last weekend’s near total wipe out of the Marine Harvest Premier League Shinty fixtures, it was good to see four Premier matches go ahead with the tightest of these encounters being at Drum.

After an even first half which saw both sides pass up good chances Glen took the lead early in the second half when a nice exchange between Ben Hosie and Mike Fraser saw a shot from the latter blocked by Oban stand-in keeper Cameron Sutherland.

The ball looped up high and first to react was Daniel Mackintosh who improvised an overhead flick which beat the stranded Oban keeper.  Glenurquhart then had further opportunities to extend their lead but were unable to find the net and Oban eventually got on the score sheet after a Malcolm Clark free hit on the left found Lorne Dickie in 83 minutes and his smart angled drive beat Glenurquhart keeper Stuart Mackintosh to give Oban a share of the points which they probably deserved.
Oban moved well and their experience showed in the manner by which they worked nice openings at free hits from which they could certainly have scored. Smack had about four excellent saves as did young Sutherland at the other end. Malcolm Clark topped a penalty too which was another let off, so all in all it was by no means a bad opening day. It was heartening to see a fine display from John Peteranna, Finlay Ralston and especially Cameron Mackintosh who could make a real difference at wing back if he was able to commit. Also excellent were Ally Mackintosh and Mike Fraser but especially so were Fraser Heath and Andrew Corrigan.
 Goodness me, with a bit of good fortune they can all make Glenurquhart Shinty Club great again! Let’s hope so anyway.

Thanks to Neil Paterson for the Macdonald Cup photos and to Sheena Lloyd for the pics v Oban.

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