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The Camanachd Association has announced Cottages.com is the new sponsor of the MacTavish Cup.
Camanachd Association president Keith Loades joined Stuart Walkden, owner acquisition manager, and Mark Whitehouse, area manager, both of Cottages.com, at River Lodge, Inverness, to make the draw on Monday February 12.
The Cottages.com MacTavish Cup first round draw is:
Caberfeidh v Strathglass
Lovat v Kingussie
Kinlochshiel v Inverness
Beauly v Lochaber
Newtonmore v Kilmallie
Byes: Skye Camanachd, Fort William and Glenurquhart.
Keith Loades said: ‘The sport of shinty has once again attracted another company of outstanding quality as the sponsor of one of our major competitions and we look forward to working with cottages.com.’
Stuart Walkden added: ‘We are delighted to be title sponsors of the Cottages.com MacTavish Cup.
‘We are thrilled to support such an historic sport and an historic competition that is intrinsically involved with local communities.’
The Cottages.com MacTavish Cup first round ties will be played on Saturday March 31.
Board says no to sin bins
The Camanachd Association board has opted not to introduce 10-minute sin bins and three-point cautionable offences for the 2018 shinty season.
Several clubs voiced their opposition to the move and the board recognised that whilst there was merit in the proposal, it was also aware greater clarity on the implications and management for players, coaches and officials was needed.
As well as thanking member clubs and associations for their in-depth feedback, the board noted their intention to set up a working group to examine all options to enhance player discipline.
The working group will include representation from member clubs and officials and they it will report back to the Camanachd Association board by July.
The board has approved changes to Byelaw 2 concerning the wearing of helmets and all youth clubs will be encouraged to comply with the new rules by the start of season 2018.
However, in recognition of potential difficulties in meeting the required faceguard standard, the byelaw will not be rigorously applied until July 1.
Failure to play a scheduled fixture in Marine Harvest North and South Division 2, other than by reason of postponement, shall result in the match being declared won by the team not responsible for the failure and that team will get two points.
The offending team will get one point deducted.
There will also be a reminder issued to clubs regarding the payment of referee expenses when a game has been postponed.
League fixture list released
The 2018 shinty season draft fixture list has been released.
Changes and referee appointments will be in final fixture list which will be distributed to clubs on Friday February 16.
Marine Harvest champions Kinlochshiel begin their bid for a second successive title at home to Glenurquhart on Saturday March 3.
Oban Camanachd’s opening fixture is a home meeting with newly-promoted Skye Camanachd.
Fellow new boys Caberfeidh head for the Dell to take on Kingussie.
Lovat open against Newtonmore at Balgate, whilst Lochaber welcome Kyles Athletic to Spean Bridge.
The following week sees Kinlochshiel travel to Castle Leod to play Caberfeidh.
Oban Camanachd are also on the road as they visit Drumnadrochit to face Glenurquhart.
Skye and Newtonmore host Lovat and Lochaber respectively, whilst Kingussie and Kyles Athletic meet.
Week three of shinty’s top flight pits Lovat against Kinlochshiel at Balgate.
Oban Camanachd take on Newtonmore at Mossfield, whilst Kingussie play Glenurquhart at The Dell.
Caberfeidh welcome Kyles Athletic to Castle Leod.
It is Lochaber’s designated ‘free Saturday’ so Skye Camanachd also do not have a fixture.
Marine Harvest National Division
The Fort William squad start their push for promotion back to shinty’s top flight against Beauly at An Aird on Saturday March 3.
Kilmallie also have designs on a promotion spot and they have home advantage against Oban Celtic.
Glasgow Mid Argyll, relegated from the Premiership at the end of last season, have a tricky opener against Inveraray at Yoker.
Inverness and Strathglass, who finished in the division’s bottom two places at the end of last season, meet at The Bught Park.
A week later, Oban Celtic play their first home match of the competitive season with Inverness the visitors.
Fort William travel south to play Inveraray at the Winterton.
Kilmallie are off to Beauly whilst Strathglass meet Glasgow Mid Argyll at Cannich.
The third round of National Division fixtures has Fort William at home to Glasgow Mid Argyll and Kilmallie at home to Inverness.
Oban Celtic will play host to Inveraray whilst Strathglass make the short trip to Strathglass.
There is also plenty to look forward to in the regional leagues.
Marine Harvest North Division 1
Champions Newtonmore reserves open with a match against Aberdeen University at The Eilan. The students were one of Newtonmore’s biggest challengers last season, so this is a tasty opening day fixture.
The Kingussie seconds are off to Craigard to play newly-promoted Glengarry.
There is a reserve west coast derby as Skye Camanachd and Kinlochshiel meet at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.
The Glenurquhart and Fort William second teams play at Blairbeg.
The second week of the shinty season sees Newtonmore reserves head for An Aird to play Fort William reserves.
Glengarry and the Skye colts are in action at Craigard, whilst the Kingussie seconds and their Glenurquhart counterparts play at Blairbeg.
Aberdeen University head for Kirkton to play Kinlochshiel’s second team.
Marine Harvest South Division 1
Lochside Rovers open the defence of their Marine Harvest South Division 1 title against Taynuilt at Taynuilt Sports Field.
Ballachulish are off to The Winterton where newly-promoted Inveraray seconds are the opposition.
Two title contenders meet at Silversands where Aberdour play Bute.
Kyles Athletic and Kilmory meet, whist Tayforth have home advantage against Col Glen.
Lochside Rovers play their first home match of their league campaign on the second Saturday of the season with Bute again on their travels.
Taynuilt are at home again with the Inveraray second team visiting Taynuilt Sports Field.
Kilmory meet Ballachulish at MacRae Park, whilst Col Glen welcome the Kyles Athletic colts.
Aberdour take on Tayforth at Silversands.
Marine Harvest North Division 2
The Lochaber second team, who finished second in the division last season, open with a trip to Braeview Park to play the Beauly second team.
Boleskine have recruited several new players during the close season and their first league match is at home to Lochcarron.
The Caberfeidh colts await Lewis Camanachd at Castle Leod.
The Inverness seconds make the short journey to Cannich to take on the Strathglass second team.
The Kilmallie seconds open with a trip to Grantown Grammar School to face Strathspey Camanachd.
Lovat do not have an opening day fixture in this 11-team league.
Lovat seconds, relegated from Marine Harvest North Division 1 at the end of last season, open their league campaign on the second Saturday of the new season against Strathspey Camanachd at Balgate.
The Lochaber colts host their Caberfeidh counterparts at Spean Bridge.
Lochcarron are at home against Lewis Camanachd.
The Kilmallie and Beauly second teams meet at Canal Parks, whilst Boleskine play host to the Strathglass reserves.
The Inverness seconds have no fixture.
Marine Harvest South Division 2
The Oban Celtic second team, returning to league action after a number of years, open at home to Bute’s second team.
Strachur welcome the Glasgow Mid Argyll second team to Strachurmore, whilst Glenorchy, relegated at the end of last season, meet the Aberdour seconds at Mart Park.
The Bute second team are on the road again on the second week of the season when they play Glenorchy at Mart Park.
Oban Celtic visit Strachurmore to play Strachur whilst the Glasgow Mid Argyll and Aberdour reserves take the field at Yoker.
Some matches beat the elements on Saturday February 10.
Fort William 1
Fort William and Lovat were to play at An Aird but an unplayable pitch saw the match switched to Balgate.
Callum Cruden was missing for Lovat, whilst Fort William travelled without Bryan Simpson.
Lovat started with Marc Kelly and Chris Johnston at wing back, whilst Craig Mainland and the excellent Scott MacKenzie flanked full centre Danny Kelly in midfield.
Fort William had Jack Fraser at full forward and Padraig McNeil at wing centre.
Play flowed from end to end before Lovat took the lead on 10 minutes. Craig Mainland pushed forward from midfield and his strike flew over keeper Paul MacKay and into the net.
The hosts doubled their lead late in the first half. The ball broke to Marc MacLachlan on the right of the ‘D’ and he sent a powerful shot into the net to make it 2-0 at the break.
Lovat extended their lead on the hour. Greg Matheson fought for possession and his shot was well saved by Paul MacKay. But the ball rebounded to Marc MacLachlan who leathered the ball into the net.
Fort William, with Victor Smith and Grant Disher given first team debuts, had chances in the game and, with five minutes remaining, Calum Shepherd pulled a goal back with a low strike to make it 3-1.
Lovat restored their three-goal cushion a minute later. Greg Matheson went wide to gather the ball. Matheson initially shielded the ball and looked for a pass. However, with no obvious options, he turned and thundered a shot goalwards which went across keeper MacKay into the far corner of the net.
It was a superb strike and Lovat manager Fraser Gallacher will have been pleased with how well Greg Matheson and Marc MacLachlan linked up in attack.
Referee Archie Ritchie’s final whistle signalled a 4-1 Lovat win.
Ballachulish 3 Strathspey Camanachd 1
Ballachulish and Strathspey Camanachd were scheduled to play at Jubilee Park, but the weather meant the match was switched to the astro pitch in Kinlochleven.
Goals from Duncan MacDonald, Scott Henderson and Lewis Bryson gave Ballachulish a 3-1 win, with Chris Cameron bagging the Strathspey goal.
There was also a meeting between the club’s youth sides at the same venue earlier in the day.
Strathspey were 2-1 winners, with Struan Ross and Jack Nelson cancelling out Ross MacLean’s effort.
Kingussie won 3-2 on penalties
Kingussie and Caberfeidh played their annual match for the William MacPherson Plate in memory of Bill MacPherson, a significant figure for both clubs.
The game went ahead at Dunbarry at 1.30pm, with Caberfeidh going into the match as holders.
Two Scottish internationals were to the fore as Lee Bain for Kingussie and Kevin Bartlett for Caberfeidh made it 1-1 at full time.
There was plenty of excitement in the resultant penalty shoot-out.
The sides were level at two goals apiece after the first ten penalties.
Kingussie’s Savio Genini and Roddy Young both missed the target with their penalties before Lee Bain’s effort was saved by Caberfeidh keeper Ewan Pilcher.
Alexander Michie and Kieran MacPherson both netted for Kingussie and Caberfeidh also scored twice, but Kingussie goalie Craig Dawson saved from Kevin Bartlett, Craig Morrison and Blair Morrison.
At 2-2, the shoot-out went to sudden death.
This time Savio Genini scored for Kingussie, whilst Craig Dawson made his fourth penalty save to deny Craig Morrison and give Kingussie victory.
Beauly 2 Glenurquhart 1
A water-logged pitch at Blairbeg meant the meeting between the Glenurquhart and Beauly first teams was transferred to Braeview Park.
A debut goal from Callum Flynn gave Beauly the lead.
Connor Golabeck drew Glenurquhart level but Jack MacDonald scored what proved to be the winner for Alan MacRae’s Beauly side to notch an impressive 2-1 win against top flight opposition.
The Glenurquhart and Beauly second teams lined up at the astro pitch at Drumnadrochit.
Callum Flynn scored twice in the second half for Beauly, but goals from TJ Van Loom, Ben Hosie and Callum Miller gave Glenurquhart a 3-2 win.
Aberdour 0 Kyles
A more experienced visiting Kyles Athletic side were 4-0 winners in their 1pm throw-up against Aberdour at Silversands.
Roddy MacDonald and Sandy MacKenzie both scored twice for Kyles.
Kyles’ new signing Neil MacVicar from Skye played the final 25 minutes of the match in the forward line.
The Badenoch reserve team derby between Newtonmore and Kingussie was scheduled for The Eilan but an unplayable field led to a Friday switch to Dunbarry with an 11.30am throw-up, ahead of Kingussie’s senior meeting with Caberfeidh.
A 9am Saturday morning pitch inspection ruled the pitch could take two games and, in the end, it was honours even as the sides drew two each.
Russell Menzies and a first goal in Kingussie colours for Sandy Elrick counted for Kingussie.
However, Craig MacLeod and Chris Sellar for Newtonmore made it 2-2 and ensured a share of the spoils.
This was a well-contested match between two impressive young sides.
Oban Camanachd P
Oban Celtic P
Shinty supporters in Oban were left frustrated as the derby meeting between Oban Camanachd and Oban Celtic was called off on Saturday morning as Mossfield was unplayable.
Lochside Rovers P
Marine Harvest South Division 1 champions Lochside Rovers were to host Glengarry, newly-promoted to Marine Harvest North Division 1 after winning the North 2 title. However, the game was called off on Thursday when it became clear Ganavan would not be playable.
Skye Camanachd P
With Cannich hit hard by frost, there was no option but to call off the clash between Strathglass and Skye Camanachd.
Skye Camanachd P
Lewis Camanachd P
There was disappointment for the Skye Camanachd second team and Lewis Camanachd when their meeting at Pairc nan Laoch was postponed as the Portree pitch was unplayable.
With it being 100 years since the end of World War 1, the teams will try to contest the John ‘Kaid’ MacLean Cup later in the season.
The clash between Marine Harvest National Division side Inveraray and Marine Harvest Premiership champions Kinlochshiel was called off as The Winterton was unplayable.
This was Kinlochshiel’s second cancellation in successive weeks.
Glasgow Mid Argyll P
Heavy overnight rain led to the cancellation of the 2.30pm start between the Glasgow Mid Argyll and Newtonmore first teams at Yoker.
Col Glen P
Taynuilt and Col Glen were to contest the Jake Matheson Cup at Taynuilt Sports Field.
However, it was too wet for the game to go ahead at either club’s pitch so new Col Glen boss Ronnie MacVicar will have to wait for his first game in charge.
This weekend’s fixtures
The penultimate round of pre-season friendly matches takes place on Saturday February 17.
Oban Camanachd and Kyles Athletic want to arrange a pre-season meeting, but with Tighnabruaich and Mossfield both unavailable, the final details have yet to be confirmed.
Oban Celtic play Glengarry at Mossfield with a 2pm throw-up.
Marine Harvest South Division 1 champions Lochside Rovers welcome their Marine Harvest North Division 1 counterparts Newtonmore seconds to Ganavan. Throw-up is at 1pm.
Strathglass and Lochaber contest the Murdo MacKenzie Memorial Cup at Cannich, whilst Skye Camanachd and Fort William meet at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.
The Kilmallie squad head for Blairbeg to play Glenurquhart, whilst the Lochaber second team and the Fort William second team take the field at Spean Bridge.
Kingussie and Kinlochshiel play at The Dell and Taynuilt are off to face Inverness at The Bught Park.
The Lovat and Glasgow Mid Argyll first teams, second teams and ladies teams all do battle at Balgate.
Tayforth and Inveraray clash at Levenhall Links and Ballachulish and the Kilmallie second team meet at Jubilee Park.
Col Glen host Bute, Aberdour and Aberdeen University have a 1pm throw-up at Silversands and the Caberfeidh and Kingussie colts are in action at Castle Leod.
Elrick swaps Beauly for Kingussie
Sandy Elrick has left Beauly and will play for Kingussie in the 2018 shinty season.
Elrick was a regular in the Beauly first team last season and his performances earned a call up to the Scotland U17 squad which toured Ireland in the summer.
He was listed in one of the Kingussie squads for the Liz Young Sixes and scored for the Kingussie seconds last weekend.