Pre-season friendlies start in earnest

Inveraray goalkeeper Scott MacLachlan makes a save from Oban Camanachd's Daniel MacVicar during the pre-season friendly at Oban's community 3G pitch last Saturday.

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Pre-season friendlies – Saturday  February 4
A NUMBER of pre-season games beat the wet weather on Saturday February 4.

Aberdour 1
Glasgow Mid Argyll 0
Marine Harvest South Division 1 side Aberdour fought off a second half onslaught from Marine Harvest Premiership new-boys Glasgow Mid Argyll to win 1-0 in their friendly match at Silversands.
Angus Thorburn gave Aberdour the lead with a well-taken goal mid-way through the first half.
GMA launched wave after wave of attack on the Aberdour goal in a bid to get back on level terms but they found the Aberdour defence to be well organised and when they did get a shot at goal, Aberdour goalie Tom Bowerman was in inspired form.
The match was played in difficult weather conditions and was cut short to avoid further damage to the pitch, especially around the goal-mouth areas.

Aberdour 2
Glasgow Mid Argyll 1
Aberdour’s second team beat the Glasgow Mid Argyll seconds 2-1 in their 11.30am throw up at Silversands.
Both Aberdour goals came in the opening 10 minutes, with Craig Girvan and Brian Toal on target.
Former Kilmallie player Seb MacMillan got the GMA goal in the second half.

Caberfeidh 6
Glenurquhart 2
Marine Harvest National Division side Caberfeidh beat Glenurquhart from the Marine Harvest Premiership 6-2 in their 2pm throw-up at Castle Leod.
It was a first game back in a Caberfeidh shirt for Kevin Bartlett after his stint with Lovat. And Bartlett made a telling contribution, as the Scotland international scored four times, with Gavin Mclauchlan getting the other two.
‘Cabers’, who also had former Beauly player Ryan MacKay in their side, led 5-2 at the interval, but a half-time tactical switch, which saw ‘Glen’s’ Connor Golabek mark danger-man Kevin Bartlett, made for a more even second half.  Neale Reid and Daniel MacKintosh scored for a depleted Glenurquhart squad which was minus a number of recognised players who were suffering from a sickness bug. John Barr, Euan Lloyd and injured keeper Stuart MacKintosh were also absent and Gary MacKintosh deputised in goal.
Caberfeidh had goal-keeping problems of their own, with regular keeper Ewan Pilcher missing.

Fort William P
Kyles Athletic P
The Drew Ferguson Memorial Trophy match between Fort William and Kyles Athletic was postponed as the heavy rain left An Aird unplayable. This was a second successive postponement for the Fort after their meeting with Aberdour was called off a week earlier.

Glenurquhart 8
Caberfeidh 0
The Glenurquhart second team were too strong for their Caberfeidh counterparts, winning 8-0 at Blairbeg.
Calum Miller scored five, Finlay Ralston bagged a brace and Ewan Carroll got the other goal. Glenurquhart Ladies player Hazel Hunter played 45 minutes for the home side.

Inverness P
Kinlochshiel P
Inverness called off their friendly against Kinlochshiel which was to have been played on the Bught Park outside pitch. The sides had met at the same venue seven days earlier when ’Shiel were 8-0 winners.

Lochaber 2
Newtonmore 3
Newtonmore reserves edged out Lochaber reserves 3-2 in their match at Spean Bridge.
Lochaber’s Lachlan Campbell has retired from first team duty but he is on hand to help out the colts and he netted from the penalty spot for the home side with Stuart Matheson getting the other.
Orsten Gardner, who is back in the Newtonmore fold as part of their reserve management team, scored first for the visitors and a John MacKenzie double gave them the win.

Lochside Rovers 2
Oban Lorn 1
Lochside Rovers beat Oban Lorn 2-1 in their 12.30pm throw-up at Oban High School’s 3G pitch.
The match was originally scheduled for Ganavan but a water-logged pitch led to a change of venue.
Lochside took an early  lead through new signing from Glenorchy Calum Kirsop, who took advantage of a re-bound to score.
It was the only goal of a keenly-contested first half.
Michael McQueen scored what was to prove to be a vital second for Lochside after the re-start, beating the impressive Duncan Blainey in the Oban Lorn goal.
Former Lochside Rovers player Drew Walker halved the deficit but Lochside saw out the remainder of the game, played in wet conditions, to win 2-1.

Newtonmore 5
Lochaber 1
Newtonmore beat Lochaber 5-1 in their all-Marine Harvest Premiership 1pm friendly at the Eilan.
On a cold, wet day, Iain Robinson scored twice for Paul John MacKintosh’s side with Conor Jones, Paul MacArthur and Norman Campbell getting the others.
Ryan Johnstone got the Lochaber goal.  Deek Cameron was the match referee.

Oban Camanachd 1
Inveraray 2
As with the Lochside Rovers game, the 2pm throw-up between Oban Camanachd and Inveraray was switched to Oban High School’s 3G pitch.
Oban Camanachd were without Gary McKerracher, Scott MacMillan and Matt Rippon, who has rejoined the club. There was a place for Connor Howe, who is back following a spell abroad, and youngsters Daniel MacCuish and Evan MacLellan, both aged 17, who played well.
There are changes at Inveraray this season with Andrew McMurdo and David Robertson stepping down from first team action.
The match was played 10-a-side in three, 30-minute sessions to allow both coaches time to work with their players.
Allan MacDonald put Inveraray ahead after five minutes with a 20-yard snap-shot.
Oban Camanachd had a chance to level from the penalty spot but Scott MacLachlan in the Inveraray goal made a fine save from Andrew MacCuish’s spot-hit.
Lewis MacNicol made it 2-0 when he scored direct from a shy on 22 minutes.
Oban Camanachd played well for the remainder of the game and they created a number of chances, only to find keeper Scott MacLachlan in great form.
All Oban Camanachd had to show for their efforts was an Aidan MacIntyre goal which made it 2-1 with 10 minutes to go.

Fort William Ladies 3
Lochaber Ladies 4
With an Aird unplayable 24 hours earlier, an improvement in the weather allowed the Fort William and Lochaber Ladies teams to take the field for a 2pm throw-up on Sunday February 5.
Both sides will play in Marine Harvest National Division 1 next season and two goals from Stephanie Walsh and strikes from Sarah Davie and Kirsty Delaney gave Lochaber the win. Ashleigh Fraser scored twice for Fort William and Zoe Smith got the other.
Neither side was more than a goal ahead throughout the game and Kirsty Delaney’s winner came just a couple of minutes from time.
Kayleigh Woods in the Fort William goal was player of the match.
Jack Asher Sixes
Strathclyde Police won the Jack Asher Sixes at the Garscube Sports Complex on Saturday January 28.
After a competitive tournament, Strathclyde Police defeated the 1990s Glasgow University side 3-2 in the final to secure the trophy.
The event remembers Jack Asher who was a Glasgow University honorary president, former club captain (1958–59)  and a renowned shinty player and referee.
Dropkick Murphy Sixes
Edinburgh University won the 2017 Dropkick Murphy Sixes, hosted by Edinburgh University Shinty Club at Musselburgh on Saturday February 4.
Edinburgh beat holders Tayforth 2-1 in the final, with Newtonmore’s Duncan Gorman and Skye Camanachd’s James Pringle getting the goals.
The winning Edinburgh squad also included Alex Dunnings from Oban, Calum Grant from Kingussie and Lochcarron’s Niall Arnott.
Aberdour took the ladies title, beating Strathclyde in the final.
Teams travelled from as far afield as Caithness and the English Shinty Association to take part in the popular event.
Shinty action    this Saturday
The pre-season friendlies continue on Saturday February 11.
Oban Camanachd host Kyles Athletic at Ganavan; Lochside Rovers take on Kyles Athletic’s second team at the same venue whilst Oban Celtic face Glasgow Mid Argyll at Mossfield.
Skye Camanachd and Lovat meet at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree, for the George Michie Memorial Cup, whilst Kilmallie are off to the Bught Park to play Inverness. Lochaber and Fort William second teams are scheduled to meet at Spean Bridge to contest the Glen Mhor Cup although a venue switch to An Aird is possible.
Dallas Young takes Kingussie to Castle Leod to play Caberfeidh, whilst the Skye colts are off to Lochcarron. There should also be an interesting contest at Blairbeg where Glenurquhart welcome Beauly.

In last week’s Oban Times, we previewed the opening day’s fixtures in both the Marine Harvest Premiership and National Division.
This week we look at the opening matches in the North and South Divisions.
Marine Harvest North Division 1
League champions Newtonmore reserves begin the defence of their title with a trip to Braeview Park to play the Beauly reserves in this eight team division.
Newly-promoted Aberdeen University are the only non-reserve team in this league and they are also on the road as they open with a match against Kingussie colts at the Dell.
Fort William and Skye Camanachd second teams meet at An Aird and there is also a reserve match at Blairbeg where Kinlochshiel are Glenurquhart’s opponents.
Marine Harvest South Division 1
Lochside Rovers and Aberdour finished the 2016 shinty season in the league’s top three positions, with Aberdour a point better off in second place, so there will be plenty at stake when the sides meet on the opening day of the 2017 shinty season.
Col Glen, who finished fifth last year, have home advantage against newly-promoted Tayforth.
Kilmory also make the step up from Marine Harvest South Division 2. They open with an away game with Taynuilt.
Kyles Athletic seconds take on Glenorchy at Tighnabruaich.
Ballachulish have no fixture in this nine-team division.
Marine Harvest North Division 2
Lovat seconds, relegated from North 1 last season, open with a game against Boleskine at Balgate.
The Caberfeidh and Lochaber second teams finished third and fourth places respectively so their clash at Castle Leod will be a close encounter.
Glengarry welcome Lewis Camanachd to Craigard in what is a return to his previous club for Lewis boss Duncan MacIntyre.
The Strathglass second team are back in the league and they make the short journey to the Bught Park to play their Inverness counter-parts.
Strathspey Camanachd and the Kilmallie second team will play at Grantown Grammar School.
Lochcarron finished second in the league at the end of last season and are without a fixture on the opening day of the season in this 11-team league.
Marine Harvest South Division 2
With Tayforth and Kilmory promoted from last year’s Marine Harvest South Division 2, Oban Lorn, who finished third in 2016, make the journey to Strachurmore to play the returning Strachur side, back in the league after a 12-month absence.
With their first teams meeting at the Winterton, the Bute and Inveraray second teams do battle at the Meadows.
The Aberdour and Glasgow Mid Argyll second teams start with a league meeting at Silversands having met at the same venue in a pre-season match which the home side won 2-1.
Dunoon have no fixture in this seven-team league.
Cameron Sutherland moves to Lochside
Highly-rated goalie Cameron Sutherland has joined Lochside Rovers from Ballachulish.
Sutherland was a star performed for Balla’ in the National Division last season and his performances earned him a call up to the Scotland U17 squad which toured Ireland.
He missed the weekend win over Oban Lorn, so Beano Logan played in goal. He’s likely to provide competition for Oban Camanachd goalie Gavin Stobbart.
MacCorquodale makes Oban     Lorn switch
Ewan MacCorquodale will play his shinty at Oban Lorn this coming season.
Defender MacCorquodale was hampered by a back injury at Oban Celtic last season but his experience will make him a valuable addition to the Oban Lorn squad.
Having already added Andrew Hunt, Fulton Ronald and 18-year-old Scotland U17 cap Ross MacMillan to his squad, Oban Celtic boss Kenny Wotherspoon will feel he has adequate cover.
Nineteen players all took part in Oban Celtic’s 4-0 win over Taynuilt a fortnight ago, with a further ten players unavailable, so Kenny has a sizeable squad at his disposal for the season ahead.
McIntyre back       in the fold
Kilmallie have been boosted by Peter McIntyre’s return after a spell abroad.
McIntyre was a first team regular with Kilmallie before playing for Inveraray in the Marine Harvest Premiership. He relocated to Australia for two years but his recent return is a boost to Mark MacPherson’s attacking options as Kilmallie step back into shinty’s top flight.
Fraser Macmillan makes         Taynuilt return
Fraser Macmillan has returned to Marine Harvest South Division 1 side Taynuilt for the 2017 season.
Macmillan had a good 2016 season for Oban Celtic, in which the club won Marine Harvest South Division 1 promotion, but work commitments mean he would be unable to feature in most of their away games in the Marine Harvest National Division.
GMA Ladies seek new boss
Glasgow Mid Argyll Shinty Ladies have invited applications for the position of first team manager for the 2017 shinty season.
GMA were Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup and Marine Harvest National Division 1 winners in 2014 and 2015 but lost out to Lochaber and Skye Camanachd last season.
The club is seeking a new manager who will develop the team further and inspire the players to future success.
Any interested applicants are invited to email details of their experience and how they feel they can contribute to the club and its development to club secretary Norman MacMillan at
Gary’s the     Caman Man
Former Scotland and Fort William player Gary Innes has made a worthy addition to the shinty songbook with his new single ‘The Caman Man’ which has already taken the download chart by storm.
The song was launched on Radio nan Gaidheal’s Siubhal gu Seachd show where host Derek ‘Pluto’ Murray gave it its first national broadcast.
Gary Innes started to write the lyrics in the form of a poem in 2014 after hanging up his caman following an illustrious career which included two man of the match performance in Fort William’s Camanachd Cup successes in 2005 and 2010.  The new song is accompanied by a superb video put together by Norman Strachan who films each week for the Camanachd Association YouTube channel.
Gary said: ‘I’ve been completely blown away by the response to ‘The Caman Man’ which has now reached out to more than half a million people on Facebook.
‘Shinty was such a huge part of my life growing up and I’ve always felt, in many ways, the music and the sport have complimented each other, so it has been very special to combine the two once more.’
The single is available on ITunes and is included in Gary’s new, recently released album entitled ERA.
Skye Camanachd awards night
Skye Camanachd will hold an awards presentation and ceilidh and supper night at the Skye Camanachd Clubhouse on Saturday February 11.
The 2016 club player of the year awards, including Caman DR and the Angus Murchison trophy, will be presented.
Skye Camanachd are also working on plans for a formal event at the end of the 2017 shinty season year to celebrate the club’s 125th anniversary.