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WITH the new shinty season imminent, clubs are making their final preparations ahead of the competitive action.
Only a few pre-season friendly matches beat Storm Doris on Saturday February 25.
Newtonmore were to host Caberfeidh at the Eilan as part of their annual open day.
Inclement weather meant the event was cancelled on the previous Thursday so the teams tried again at Castle Leod with a 1.30pm throw-up. However, a Saturday morning pitch inspection ruled that Cabers’ pitch was also unplayable.
Glasgow Mid Argyll P
Kyles Athletic P
There was to be an all-premiership friendly at Yoker where Glasgow Mid Argyll were to take on Kyles Athletic but again the wet weather left the field flooded.
The MacDonald and Ali Ban Cup matches between the Glenurquhart and Strathglass first and second teams at Blairbeg will be re-scheduled for a later date.
The match between Inverness and Lochaber at the Bught Park was called off.
The meeting between the Inverness second team and Caithness at the Bught Park was postponed.
The BSW Cup clash between Kilmallie and Beauly was called off as Canal Parks was unplayable.
Col Glen P
There was also disappointment for Kilmory and Col Glen as their 1.30pm throw-up at MacRae Park was postponed.
Skye Camanachd 0
Kingussie beat Skye Camanachd 4-0 at the Dell to win The Hoteliers Cup.
Kingussie’s pitch beat the elements, surviving pitch inspections on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Kingussie started with James Hutchison at full back, Lee Bain at buckshee back and Ryan Borthwick at full centre.
Skye’s plans suffered a double blow ahead of throw-up when Steven Morrison and Shockie MacLennan both suffered injuries in the warm up and had to withdraw. Captain Kenny Campbell and Neil MacVicar were back in the side after missing the team’s first two pre-season games. Ally MacDonald went into the full back position.
It was an even start to the game, but Kingussie went in front through Roddy Young. Ryan MacWilliam played a deep shy in on the visiting goal. Skye keeper Iain MacLeod did well to keep the ball out of the net but Roddy Young ran in to score.
James Falconer made it 2-0 when he reacted well to slot the ball low into the net from 15 yards.
Neil Bowman has had the Kingussie players working hard during pre-season and they finished strongly, adding two more goals.
James Falconer’s second was the pick of the afternoon’s strikes. Falconer played the ball to Chris Holleysong on the wing before taking a return pass and finishing well to make it 3-0.
When the ball deflected into the path of Chris Holleysong, he made no mistake, adding goal number four to round off the win.
The Kingussie forwards were inventive which pleased boss Dallas Young although a back muscle injury to Ryan Borthwick and a hamstring injury to Savio Genini will be of concern.
Scotland U21 defender John Gillies was excellent for Skye.
There was a Friday evening call-off for the game between the Kingussie colts and Aberdour at the Dell.
Lochside Rovers P
The meeting between Lochside Rovers and the Inveraray second team was postponed on Thursday evening as the Ganavan pitch in Oban was waterlogged.
Fort William 0
Fort William and Lovat rounded off their pre-season programmes with a game at Balgate.
The fixture was originally scheduled for An Aird but an unplayable field led to a switch of venue and an 11.45am throw- up which Lovat won 4-0.
Lovat were without Greg Matheson, Daniel Grieve and Callum Cruden, whilst Fort William travelled minus Bryan Simpson, Daniel Stewart, Graham Cameron, Mark Grant and Sean Cameron.
Lovat took the lead on 24 minutes when Craig Mainland burst forward from midfield to get on the end of a Lewis Tawse cross from the left to crack the ball home.
Lovat doubled their lead just three minutes later. Lewis Tawse was again the provider with another cross from the left and, when a Fort defender missed a chance to clear the ball, Lorne MacKay popped up on the Lovat right to score. It was a more even second half but two late goals put gloss on the Lovat win. Lorne MacKay, now on the left, made it 3-0 on 78 minutes when he killed the ball with his caman before sending it low past keeper Paul MacKay’s right leg into the net.
Martin Bell rounded off the win on 82 minutes. A ball from the right reached Lorne MacKay and his backhand shot was saved by Paul MacKay, Fort William were unable to clear their lines though and Martin Bell ran in to tap the ball into the net.
It was another high scoring week for Glengarry as they beat Lovat’s second team 7-1 at Balgate.
Raymond Rennie scored the home goal but ’Garry, with Andrew Gilchrist in midfield, were comfortable winners with Nick Dalgety scoring four times and Raymond Robertson, Martin Cameron and Archie Johnstone getting the others.
Oban Celtic P
The Robert Wylie Memorial Cup match between Oban Celtic and Ballachulish was postponed on Friday afternoon as Mossfield was unplayable.
Skye Camanachd 0
Lewis Camanachd 0
A 7am Saturday morning pitch inspection put paid to the John ‘Kaid’ MacLean Cup challenge between Skye Camanachd and Lewis Camanachd at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.
The 2.30pm throw-up between Strachur and Bute at Strachurmore was another match which fell foul of the weather.
Edinburgh University 2
Tayforth beat Edinburgh University 6-2 at Musselburgh.
David Arnott, Ewan Menzies, 2, Finlay Stark, Sean Taylor and Conor Sweeney all scored for Tayforth, whilst Duncan Gorman scored the students’ two goals.
The first Women’s Camanachd Association matches of the new season took place last weekend.
Marine Harvest North Division 2 fixtures were hit by the weather and the game between Lochaber and Lewis Camanachd was an early postponement.
A Sunday morning pitch inspection ruled out the game between Strathglass and Glengarry at Cannich.
The noon meeting between Strathspey and Inverness went ahead though with Strathspey winning a close match 2-1. Jessica Hart scored twice in the second half to put Strathspey 2-0 ahead but Hannah Johnson pulled a goal back for Inverness.
Later in the day, Strathspey Camanachd hosted the Development East fixtures with Badenoch and Strathspey, Strathspey and Tayforth all taking part in evenly contested games.
The opening round of Development West fixtures were postponed as Cannich was unplayable.
Portree and Inverlochy are First Shinty winners
Portree Primary School and Inverlochy Primary School won the Gilmour Sports National First Shinty tournaments in Fort William on Saturday February 25.
The Primary 5 and under tournament took place at Lochaber High School. Twelve teams qualified from their local tournaments and, following the league sections, Inverlochy defeated Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abarin in their semi-final tie, with Balnain beating Rockfield to secure their place in the final. Inverlochy beat Balnain in the final to lift the trophy.
Portree Primary School and Dingwall Primary School won through to the Primary 7 and under final.
This tournament took place at the Nevis Centre and the standard of play was excellent. Dingwall beat a good Glasgow Gaels side 2-1 in the last four with Portree getting past an impressive Inverlochy. Portree took the honours with a final win over Dingwall to re-claim the trophy they won last year.
Bute withdraw from National Division
The Camanachd Association has confirmed Bute have withdrawn their first team from the Marine Harvest National Division and will play in Marine Harvest South Division 1 this coming season.
A statement from the game’s governing body advised member clubs that a request was received from Bute Shinty Club on Saturday February 11 to withdraw their first team from the 2017 Marine Harvest National Division.
Bute requested they be allowed to join Marine Harvest South Division 1 instead and, in the process, maintain their second team in South Division 2.
Bute advised: ‘The players are unable to commit to our first team due to family and work commitments combined with the additional travel involved with the current National League set up.
‘We consider that if we do take part in that league we will be unable to complete the fixture list and will have to withdraw during the season. This would be unfair on the other teams. It would also result in the loss of playing members of our club.’
The Camanachd Association Executive rejected the initial letter and verbally requested the Bute chairman meet with the club’s players and managers to determine if there was any way they could be persuaded to see the National Division through this year.
The chairman reported back that there was next to no appetite for continuing in the National and they would inevitably default, sooner rather than later. Perhaps crucially, he made a plea for continuing with two teams because the younger players would be the ones edged out if they were restricted to South Division 2 only.
The request was further considered by the competitions committee and by the board of directors.
Whilst the game’s byelaws state the Camanachd Association would be minded to refuse such a request, both the competitions committee and the relevant board of directors have most reluctantly agreed to the request to sustain the participation of two teams from Bute.
However, Bute will be deducted eight points when they start in South Division 1 as the relevant byelaw introduced at the start of the 2016 shinty season states where the association agrees to a club’s request for their team to play in a lower league, that team will forfeit 20 per cent of available league points.
Given the short notice, the Camanachd Association does not intend to re-draw the league fixtures.
Where possible, teams in the National Division scheduled to play Bute will play the team which previously had no fixture. Similarly the team in Marine Harvest South Division 1 which had no fixture will be paired with Bute.
2017 Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final venue
The 2017 Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final will take place at the Bught Park, Inverness.
Last year’s final between Newtonmore and Oban Camanachd took place at An Aird, Fort William, with ’More winning 1-0 courtesy of a third-minute Glen MacKintosh goal.
Lovat beat Kyles Athletic at Mossfield in the 2015 final whilst the last final at the Bught Park was in 2014 when Kingussie defeated Glenurquhart 4-0.
This season’s showpiece game has been moved from its recent mid-September slot to Saturday September 30 at the request of BBC Scotland.
Garry Lord injury blow for Oban Camanachd
Oban Camanachd have been dealt an injury blow on the eve of the new shinty season with the news defender Garry Lord has been ruled out of action with a broken leg.
Garry suffered the injury in last weekend’s Murdo MacKenzie Memorial Cup win over Strathglass when a challenge left him in need of a hospital visit.
It was later confirmed he had suffered a break just above the ankle.
With fellow defenders James MacMillan abroad and Ross MacMillan opting to join Oban Celtic, manger Iain Hay has been left short of defensive options so he may have to reshuffle his pack ahead of the season opener away to Kinlochshiel.
MacLean makes Newtonmore switch
David MacLean will play shinty for Marine Harvest Premiership champions Newtonmore this coming season after ending his time with Beauly.
David MacLean was one of the top performers in the Marine Harvest National Division last season. He captained Beauly to Balliemore Cup success and has previously represented Scotland at U21 level.
He is a versatile player and although he mainly featured for Beauly at buckshee back last season, he can also play in midfield and up front where he may start for Newtonmore.
MacLean hadn’t featured in Beauly’s friendly fixtures this year through injury and his departure, coupled with Conor Cormack’s move to Kinlochshiel 12 months earlier, is a blow to Beauly’s Marine Harvest National Division title chances.
Beauly will be managed this term by Alan MacRae, who replaces Stephen MacLean, David MacLean’s father, in the managerial hot-seat.
This season’s televised shinty
Eight shinty matches will be broadcast live during the new shinty season.
The Camanachd Association has reached agreement with both BBC Scotland and BBC Alba to cover the following games:
Saturday June 10: MacTavish Cup Final, Bught Park, Inverness – BBC Alba.
Saturday June 24: Gregor Cameron Consultancy Glasgow Celtic Society Cup Final, Taynuilt Sports Field – BBC Alba.
Friday August 4: Marine Harvest Premiership, Kingussie v Newtonmore, The Dell – BBC Alba. Throw-up – 6pm.
Saturday August 12: Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Semi Final, venue to be confirmed – BBC Alba.
Saturday August 19: Artemis Macaulay Cup Final, Mossfield – BBC2 Scotland.
Saturday August 26: Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Semi Final, venue to be confirmed – BBC Alba.
Saturday September 30: Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final, Bught Park, Inverness – BBC2 Scotland
Saturday October 21: Marine Harvest shinty/hurling international, Scotland v Ireland, Bught Park, Inverness – BBC2 Scotland.
Camanachd Association president Jim Barr said: ‘We value our partnerships with BBC ALBA and BBC Scotland and appreciate the service they provide in bringing shinty to a much wider audience. We look forward to sharing this with spectators present on the day and those tuning in remotely.’
The countdown is on to the new shinty season which begins on this Saturday, March 4.
Marine Harvest Premiership
Newtonmore v Lovat
Champions Newtonmore open their bid for an eighth successive league title against Lovat at the Eilan.
’More boss Paul John MacKintosh will be without defender Michael Russell for the start of the season. Russell’s work took him to Poland in September but he could be back in the fold by the middle of April. The ‘More defence will be further hit as Scotland defender Andy MacKintosh is banned for the Lovat match as his booking against Skye in the team’s final match of last season triggers a one match ban for passing through the disciplinary points threshold. Evan Menzies will also miss the opening games of the season as he is carrying out a full scale renovation on a house bought at the end of last year. Menzies and Russell are both maintaining their fitness though so both should be ready for action as soon as their availability allows. Another forward, Calum Stewart, returns from a spell abroad and the big news at the Eilan is the signing of David MacLean from Beauly. Paul John MacKintosh’s trusted lieutenant Iain MacKintosh has stepped down. Senior player Norman Campbell will be a sounding board for MacKintosh whilst Grant Munro will continue to play his role as one of the backroom staff.
Rory Kennedy will captain Newtonmore for the 2017 shinty season.
Lovat were the only team to beat Newtonmore last season, winning their Artemis Macaulay Cup tie at the Eilan after extra-time. Fraser Gallacher could not have been given a tougher start to his competitive tenure as Lovat first team manager. He is without Scotland international Kevin Bartlett who has returned to Caberfeidh and young defender Mark Kelly has a hand injury. Euan Ferguson is another absentee as he has relocated to England whilst Scotland U21 defender Michael MacKenzie will concentrate on his trial biking activities. Craig Mainland is fit after recovering from a serious shoulder injury. Scotland U17 player Scott MacKenzie established himself as a first team regular at the end of last season whilst Gallacher will hope his captain Greg Matheson has put last season’s injury woes behind him.
Graham Cameron is the match official for this game.
Kinlochshiel and Oban Camanachd were two of Newtonmore’s main challengers last season and they meet at Kirkton.
Johnston Gill is back in the Kinlochshiel hot-seat, taking over from Colin Fraser. He will be assisted by Doe MacRae. ’Shiel are minus John Don MacKenzie and Duncan ‘Ach’ MacRae who have joined GMA.
’Shiel don’t have the biggest squad so some of their promising youngsters will get the chance to stake a first team claim. It’s a big season for ’Shiel as they look to build on last year’s successes, whilst there is also the possibility of the club moving to their new pitch at Balmacara during the season.
Oban Camanachd boss Iain Hay is without 2016 captain James MacMillan who has moved abroad, whilst fellow defender Garry Lord is also out with a broken leg. Promising young defender Ross MacMillan has joined Oban Celtic whilst David Lafferty has been hampered by a serious knee injury.
Matt Rippon has rejoined the club and has been scoring goals during the pre-season. Connor Howe is also back following a spell in the States. Youth players Evan MacLellan, Lewis Buchanan and Daniel MacCuish have all taken their chance to shine during Oban Camanachd’s pre-season friendlies.
Deek Cameron is the match referee for this one.
Lochaber v Kyles Athletic
Lochaber and Kyles Athletic cross camans at Spean Bridge.
Lochaber boss Ally Ferguson starts this term without seasoned campaigners Neil MacDonald and Lachlan Campbell who both retired from first team duty at the end of last season. Forward Ben Dalgety is also unlikely to be available but Zandz Ferguson should feature more than he did last season whilst Jack Dignan continues to make progress on his return from injury.
Kyles Athletic are another top flight club under new management. Long-term coach James Perlich is now in charge, taking over from Norman MacDonald. Kyles stalwart Kenny MacDonald will continue as part of the management team. Kyles were the only team to take league points off Newtonmore last season, drawing both their games.
Archie Ritchie takes charge of proceedings at Spean Bridge.
Kilmallie v Glenurquhart
Last year’s Marine Harvest National Division champions Kilmallie welcome Glenurquhart to Canal Parks.
It’s a case of one in and one out for Kilmallie boss Mark MacPherson. Forward Peter McIntyre has returned from a stint at Inveraray, followed by a spell abroad.
Scotland international Liam MacDonald will be sidelined for the early part of the season at least, hoping that a period of rest will cure a persistent knee problem. Otherwise, MacPherson will rely on the squad which did the National Division and Balliemore Cup double last season.
Iain MacLeod replaces co-managers Billy MacLean and Dave Menzies at Glenurquhart. The Glen have fitness concerns over keeper Stuart MacKintosh who underwent a knee operation towards the end of last season. Club chairman Garry MacKintosh deputised during most of the pre-season. Lewis MacLennan has relocated to the isle of Muck where he is a gamekeeper but he may still feature this year. Ally MacKintosh looks to be fit again but David Smart is still sidelined. Daniel MacKintosh has looked lively in front of goal during pre-season games.
Robert Baxter will referee this encounter.
Glasgow Mid Argyll v
Glasgow Mid Argyll return to the premiership for the first time since 2010 and they play Kingussie at Yoker. GMA boss George Hay has made some additions to his squad with John Don MacKenzie returning after his second spell at Kinlochshiel. MacKenzie’s ’Shiel team-mate Duncan ‘Ach’ MacRae has also signed on at GMA with former Lochside Rovers keeper Robert Dunnings and ex-Glenurquhart defender Stuart Reid making up a quartet of new signings.
This will be Dallas Young’s first competitive match as Kingussie boss after he and his assistant Russell Dallas took over from co-managers Russell Jones and Davie Anderson. The Kings are likely to be without Scotland attacker Thomas Borthwick whilst Fraser Munro won’t be available for the early part of the season at least.
Young will hope new first team captain Ryan Borthwick is fully recovered from the back problems which dogged him last season, especially after he was forced off in last weekend’s friendly match against Skye. Savio Genini is also an injury doubt for this one.
David Mitchell is the man in the middle.
Marine Harvest National Division
Oban Celtic v Fort William
Oban Celtic and Fort William are both new to the Marine Harvest National Division for different reasons. Oban Celtic take their place in the division as Marine Harvest South Division 1 champions whilst Fort William were relegated from the top flight at the end of last season.
Oban Celtic manager Kenny Wotherspoon has made changes to his title winning squad. Ewan MacCorquodale will play his shinty at Oban Lorn this coming season, whilst Fraser Macmillan has returned to Taynuilt.
Ross MacMillan has joined the club from Oban Camanachd whilst former Glenorchy defender Fulton Ronald and experienced Andrew Hunt from Strachur have also signed up.
Fort William co-managers Victor Smith and Adam Robertson have made 2016 club player of the year James Tangney their captain for the 2017 season. They will hope that Arran MacPhee and Jack Fraser have put their injury difficulties behind them, whilst youngsters Seamus Gall and Lachie Shaw could force their way into the first team plans.
Skye Camanachd v
Skye Camanachd begin the season with the visit of Inverness to Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.
Skye, relegated from the premiership at the end of 2016, are under new management with co-managers Willie Cowie and Peter Gordon taking over from John MacLeod. Iain MacLeod will be in goal in place of Jamie Gannon, whilst Shockie MacLennan has also returned to the squad after missing most of last season.
Chris MacLennan will miss the opening couple of months of the season because of university studies. Steven Morrison is a weekend injury doubt for the islanders. He missed the pre-season friendly defeat to Kingussie with a groin strain, whilst Shockie MacLennan has a back problem.
Inverness manager Drew McNeil has added former Taynuilt player Ewan Neilson to his squad. He scored on his debut in a friendly meeting with Newtonmore. Inverness will have to do without the experienced Davie Glass as a booking against Bute in the Highland Capital side’s last game of the season has led to a one-game ban.
Inveraray v Beauly
Inveraray were to open their season with a match against Bute at the Winterton but the Islanders’ decision to drop down a division means Beauly, who were to be the original nine team league’s free team, take their place.
There are changes at Inveraray with veterans David Robertson and Andrew McMurdo stepping down from first team duty. David MacPherson will divide his time between the first and second teams so expect a number of the club’s promising youngsters to burst on to the first team scene.
New Beauly boss Alan MacRae has signed former Glenurquhart and Inverness player Liam Girvan. Ryan MacKay and Kenneth MacKenzie have moved to Caberfeidh and David MacLean will be difficult to replace following his decision to join Newtonmore. Barrie MacDonald is sidelined as he recovers from a knee operation.
Strathglass v Caberfeidh
Strathglass welcome Caberfeidh to Cannich.
Strathglass finished second in Marine Harvest North Division 1 at the end of last season with the Newtonmore reserves topping the league. Strathglass made a case for promotion which was accepted by the Camanachd Association. David Balharry’s side undoubtedly made progress last season and they will be further tested at national level.
Caberfeidh manager Jodi Gorski will have been delighted about Kevin Bartlett’s return to the club, whilst Ryan MacKay and Kenneth MacKenzie are other valuable additions. Brothers Craig Morrison and Blair Morrison will again continue to be key for the Castle Leod side.
Marine Harvest North Division 1
Beauly v Newtonmore
2016 league winners Newtonmore reserves open their league campaign against Beauly reserves at Braeview Park.
First team absences could affect Beauly early in the season whilst Newtonmore, with Orsten Gardner assisting boss Cammy MacDonald, will have a bigger pool at their disposal.
Newtonmore will start as league favourites again, whilst Beauly will look to better last season’s sixth-placed finish.
Fort William v
Fort William and Skye Camanachd colts meet at An Aird.
The Fort will continue to give youth a chance, selecting their promising youngsters as some of last year’s pool are promoted to the first team.
New Skye manager Kenny MacLeod also has a number of promising youngsters to pick from and Ruaraidh MacLeod, Jamie Gillies and Martin Pringle will all get game time.
Kingussie v Aberdeen Uni
The Kingussie seconds play Aberdeen University at the Dell.
Kingussie will again be led by Ally MacLeod and Ronald Ross and, having stepped down from first team duty, Garry Munro could feature in some second string games, as could the returning Martin Dallas.
The students start life in the league having completed a perfect season in North 2 in 2016, taking maximum points from their league games. Boss Jamie Beaton has the same squad available including Alex Duncan who was prolific in front of goal last year.
Glenurquhart v Kinlochshiel
The Glenurquhart second team and the Kinlochshiel second team do battle at Blairbeg.
Glenurquhart manager Chris Surtees has been impressed with the performances of youngsters Finlay Ralston and Ewan Carroll during the pre-season whilst Calum Miller will add experience to the side.
Willie MacRae continues in charge at Kinlochshiel. He will rely on the experience of Neil Fraser and Scot MacLean coupled with Scotland U17 player Jonnie MacAskill and youths WD MacRae and Finlay MacRae.
Marine Harvest South Division 1
Lochside Rovers v Aberdour
Two of the title challengers have an early meeting as Lochside Rovers host Aberdour at Ganavan.
Aberdour finished second in the division last season, a point ahead of third-placed Lochside Rovers.
Lochside have added Scotland U17 keeper Cameron Sutherland to their squad and after he starred for Ballachulish in the National Division last season. Craig MacDougall is also back at the club after playing for Oban Lorn last year.
Aberdour Boss Lisa MacColl has much the same squad to pick from and David McDougall and Ali Abbott, aged 15, have forced their way into the first team reckoning having both played well in defence in the pre-season friendly win over Glasgow Mid Argyll.
Ballachulish v Bute
Ballachulish were to have no fixture until confirmation came through that Bute would drop down to South 1 so Ballachulish will now play the islanders at Jubilee Park.
Donald Wilson and his assistant Malcolm Grant stay on in charge at Ballachulish but highly-rated keeper Cameron Sutherland has moved to Lochside Rovers so the experienced David MacPhee will return in goal.
One concern for Ballachulish is a pre-season knee ligament injury to last year’s captain Eoin Fyfe which will keep him out of the side for some time. Forward Lorne Brown has been named club captain for the year ahead.
It’s been a turbulent few weeks for Bute and they will be pleased to now focus on the on-field action. Their decision to drop down a division means they start their league campaign with an eight point deduction and attacker Ben Clarke will miss the start of the league season through injury.
Kyles Athletic v Glenorchy
The Kyles Athletic second team welcome Glenorchy to Tighnabruaich.
Kyles finished sixth last season, a point ahead of seventh-placed Glenorchy so the signs are this will be a close encounter.
Glenorchy’s Graham Morrice picked up a two-match suspension courtesy of a red card in the goal-less draw against Taynuilt in what was the Mart Park club’s last game of the 2016 season.
Col Glen v Tayforth
Col Glen and newly promoted Tayforth meet at Otter Ferry.
Col Glen will be managed this season by Brian Kennedy and Brian McNaughton, assisted by Ronnie MacVicar. They take over from club stalwart James Edgar who steps down after five years in charge.
Tayforth won promotion after winning Marine Harvest South Division 2 last season. They advertised for a new manager during the close season but have opted to continue with Ewan Menzies and Finlay Stark taking a lead role in their positions as captain and vice captain.
Taynuilt v Kilmory
Taynuilt face Kilmory at Taynuilt Sports Field.
Taynuilt finished fourth in the division last season and Fraser Macmillan has rejoined the club after a spell with Oban Celtic.
Newly-promoted Kilmory pose a real goal threat with 2016 Marine Harvest South Division 2 Player of the Year Hal Jones, Alex Cunningham and Andrew Cunningham sure to test defences in this league.
Marine Harvest North Division 2
Saturday March 4: Caberfeidh v Lochaber – match off due to bereavement.
Glengarry and Lewis Camanachd play at Craigard.
Glengarry pulled off a close season signing coup with Scotland U21 player Nick Dalgety joining from Lochcarron. Dalgety is a trainee gamekeeper at Culachy Estate, near Fort Augustus. ’Garry have a strong squad when they have everyone available with Steven Cameron, Andrew Gilchrist and Raymond Robertson all still involved. Boss Duncan MacIntyre begins his second season in charge at Lewis with a trip to his former club.
He will be without veteran Eoghan Stewart, Seamus Charity and the club’s top scorer Will Church this season. Club player of the year Michael MacLeod will be a key player and it is expected to see more of youngsters Steven Morrison and Scott MacLeod. Throw-up is at 1.30pm.
Lovat v Boleskine
The Lovat seconds play Boleskine at Balgate.
Darren Urquhart takes charge of Lovat after Martin Bell stepped down at the end of last season.
Boleskine also have a change at the top with Graham Black replacing Jamie Matheson. Jamie remains as a player though and the forward could line up against former club Lovat in this game.
Strathspey Camanachd v
Strathspey Camanachd and the Kilmallie second team meet at Grantown Grammar School.
Strathspey Camanachd didn’t have their troubles to seek during the close season when a fire destroyed most of their equipment. The side rallied to replace the kit and they can now concentrate on their league campaign.
The Kilmallie seconds will be keen to get off to a good start as they face the teams which finished in the bottom three positions in the division over the first three weeks of the new season. Home matches with Lewis Camanachd and the Inverness second team follow this one.
Throw-up is at 1.30pm.
Inverness v Strathglass
The newly-reformed Strathglass colts make the relatively short journey to Bught Park to play the Inverness colts.
Allan MacLeod’s philosophy at Inverness will be to continue to introduce young players into the team such as Ross MacKinnon and Finlay Calder who both made their debuts during the pre-season.
Strathglass have restored their second team to competitive action following some increased activity at youth level. Eoghan Stewart, who has joined the club from Lewis Camanachd, will lend some experience to the squad.
Lochcarron are given a free week in this 11-team league. Boss Andrew Slaughter suffered a blow with the news that Nick Dalgety has joined Glengarry.
Matthew Young is an injury doubt after taking a blow to the knee at the pre-season MacKinnon Sixes but Seamus Charity has joined from Lewis Camanachd.
Marine Harvest South Division 2
Strachur v Oban Lorn
Strachur and Oban Lorn are in action at Strachurmore
Strachur make a welcome return to Marine harvest South Division 2 after taking a year away from competitive shinty.
Oban Lorn finished third in this division last season and with the top two – Tayforth and Kilmory – promoted, they should be in the mix at the top of the table. Oban Lorn duo Calum MacLean and Shaun MacIver will sit out the opening day through suspension.
Bute v Inveraray
Bute and Inveraray seconds meet at The Meadows.
Bute finished fifth in the division last season, whilst the Inveraray reserves were relegated after finishing bottom of Marine Harvest South Division 1.
Inveraray will be able to call on the experienced David MacPherson who will assist boss Graham MacPherson throughout the season. The Winterton side have several promising U14 starlets who will get their chance to shine.
Glasgow Mid Argyll
Aberdour and Glasgow Mid Argyll’s second teams meet at Silversands.
The sides met in a pre-season friendly in early February at the same venue.
Aberdour will continue to promote players from their U14 set up into the second team whilst youngster Ross Anderson is sure to be amongst the goals for GMA.
Aberdour finished sixth last year whilst GMA were a couple of places higher. Dunoon are the free team on the opening day of the season in this seven team league. They took part in the Dropkick Murphy Sixes in Musselburgh, where they reached the semi-finals, but the weather hit their other pre-season preparations.
All throws-ups 2.30pm unless stated.