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After winter weather wrecked the opening day of the new shinty season, the fixture card was almost completed on Saturday March 10.
Marine Harvest Premiership
Oban Camanachd 1
Lorne Dickie scored five minutes from time to give Oban Camanachd a 1-1 draw with Glenurquhart at Blairbeg.
Glenurquhart defender Lachie Smith sat this one out as he served the final game of a four-match suspension.
Manager Ian MacLeod made four changes to the side which lost to Kinlochshiel a week earlier, with Andrew Corrigan, Finlay Ralston, Ben Hosie and Cameron MacKintosh included, whilst David MacLennan had recovered from a knee injury sustained in the previous week’s game.
With Scott McKillop injured and Scott MacMillan suspended, Oban Camanachd manager Ian Hay made changes at the back with Daniel Cameron, Matt Rippon, Willie Neilson and youngster Daniel Sloss forming a new back-four.
Garry Lord returned from holiday and joined David Lafferty and Keith MacMillan on the bench.
There was also a change in goal where Cameron Sutherland took over from the injured Gavin Stobbart. Evan MacLellan would have started, but pulled out 24 hours before the game after hurting his back at work.
Both teams started well with their respective keepers called into action.
Cameron Sutherland made a great save with the side of his stick to keep out a waist-high shot and prevent Glenurquhart going in front.
At the other end, Daniel MacVicar and Craig MacDougall sent efforts just the wrong side of the post, while Stuart MacKintosh saved well with his hand from Aidan MacIntyre.
The Oban side had a chance to go in front after 38 minutes when referee John Angus Gillies awarded them a penalty. Glenurquhart defender Ally MacKintosh was penalised for stopping the ball with his feet inside the ‘D’ just after he had dropped his stick.
Malcolm Clark stepped up to take the spot-hit but he topped the ball and the chance was gone and Glenurquhart were awarded a free-hit. The home side broke the deadlock on 49 minutes. A fine strike from Michael Fraser produced an equally fine save from Cameron Sutherland but, with the ball still in mid-flight at the ‘D’, Daniel MacKintosh stretched to lob the ball with his back to goal and it went over the Oban keeper and into the net to make it 1-1.
Glenurquhart then enjoyed a good period of play including two clear-cut opportunities from Fraser Heath which Cameron Sutherland kept out with tremendous saves.
At the other end, Stuart MacKintosh also had some good stops to deny Daniel MacVicar and Lorne Dickie.
The pitch became heavy, not helped by the earlier game, and the midfield got congested.
Andrew MacCuish was solid in the centre line for Oban Camanachd. He lined up against David MacLennan and both players were booked following one midfield tussle which ended in a melee with the Glenurquhart man perhaps fortunate the penalty wasn’t more severe.
Oban Camanachd finally drew level with five minutes remaining. Malcolm Clark made amends for his earlier penalty miss when he played a perfect pass from a free-hit to Lorne Dickie wide on the left and he hammered a 20-yard drive in to the top the right hand corner of the net to make it 1-1.
The Oban side created three more chances during the closing stages but Stuart MacKintosh – twice with his feet and once with his stick – was equal to their efforts.
This was a good and very competitive match throughout and Glenurquhart held on to get their first point on the board so they will go into Saturday’s trip to Kingussie with confidence.
Oban Camanachd didn’t make the most of their chances and there are two new concerns for manager Ian Hay as Aidan MacIntyre left the field with a knee injury which is going to require at least a fortnight’s rest whilst Lorne Dickie’s groin injury, suffered just before he scored, will also lead to a spell on the sidelines.
Both players will miss Saturday’s meeting with Newtonmore with Cameron Sutherland likely to remain between the sticks with Gavin Stobbart still injured. Scott MacMillan will return from suspension though.
Kinlochshiel stay top of the table courtesy of their 5-3 win over Caberfeidh at Castle Leod.
This was a first Premiership match for Caberfeidh, who had Fraser MacArthur suspended, and it was against the champions who were without injured captain Paul MacRae.
John MacRae gave Kinlochshiel the lead after five minutes when his shot from the right squeezed past the keeper at his right post.
Craig Morrison equalised on 22 minutes. Blair Morrison sent a free-hit from left midfield into the danger area and Craig Morrison got onto the ball at the back post to fire past goalie Scott Kennedy, beating the keeper on his left side.
Kinlochshiel regained the lead on 30 minutes when they were awarded a penalty. Jordan Fraser crashed the ball high over the keeper’s left shoulder to make it 2-1.
Duncan ‘DA’ MacRae made it 3-1 on 40 minutes when his low shot from the left deceived the keeper and the visitors took their two-goal advantage into the break.
Jordan Fraser added a fourth on 59 minutes when he ran forward to get onto a low John MacRae cross from the right, scoring from just inside the ‘D’.
Keith MacRae followed up his two goals a week earlier when he made it 5-1 on 63 minutes. MacRae knocked the ball home from a tight angle at the back post following a corner from the right.
Caberfeidh rallied though and Kevin Bartlett pulled a goal back on 76 minutes. Bartlett’s low shot from the right went across the keeper and into the far corner of the net.
Craig Morrison made it 5-3 on 90 minutes when he scored a re-bound after Scott Kennedy had saved, but Kinlochshiel took the points.
Kyles Athletic 4
With on-going pitch improvements continuing at Tighnabruaich, Kyles Athletic will play their early season home matches at Dunoon Stadium.
For Kingussie, this meant a return to the scene of their 2006 Camanachd Cup win.
Kyles Athletic manager James Perlich included Neil MacVicar, signed from Skye in the close season, and he started on the bench. Forward Sandy MacKenzie was banned. Kingussie boss John Gibson has been boosted with the news Fraser Munro and Louis Munro have returned to his squad. The former missed out through injury though, whilst the latter was included.
Kyles took the lead on 12 minutes when Dunkie Kerr scored. They would net twice more before the interval through Scott MacDonald on 20 minutes and Roddy MacDonald seven minutes later.
Kingussie enjoyed a period of pressure at the start of the second half and hit the post following one attack.
Kyles put Neil MacVicar on at wing back for a competitive debut in place of Rupert Williamson and he played well, making a good, solid start to his Kyles’ career.
Thomas Whyte made it 4-0 on 65 minutes. Dunkie Kerr missed from the spot during the second half.
Skye Camanachd 2
Lovat came from a goal down to beat Skye Camanachd 4-2 at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.
Skye manager John MacLeod had a full squad to choose from and Ruaraidh MacLeod was given a first premiership start.
Lovat manager Fraser Gallacher was without Callum Cruden who served the final match of a three-game ban following his red card in last season’s Camanachd Cup final. Injury ruled out Martin Mainland and Duncan Davidson, whilst Thomas Fraser was a late call-off so manager Gallacher joined Bailey MacKay on the bench.
Skye, on their return to the top flight after a season in the National Division, could hardly have got off to a better start. Danny Morrison won the throw- up and the ball was played wide on the left to Will Cowie. Cowie sent a low, tantalising ball across the face of the goal and James Pringle ran in at the back post to send the ball past Stuart MacDonald’s left foot and into the net.
It didn’t take Lovat long to level though with Lewis Tawse making it 1-1 after nine minutes. The goal came after the visitors had forced three successive corners on their right side.
Greg Matheson gave Lovat the lead on 23 minutes, with the goal again coming following a corner.
Lovat, who lost defender Drew Howie for a spell with a cut head, punished a poor ball out of the Skye defence and Lewis Tawse scored to make it 3-1 with 35 minutes gone.
Skye were left to reflect on what could have been during the first 45 minutes with Jordan Murchison blasting an effort off the bar and Ruaraidh MacLeod clipping the far post after a great run inside from the left.
Skye knew they needed to score next and Jordan Murchison did just that with a powerful finish on 72 minutes.
There was to be no come-back though and Greg Matheson took advantage of another defensive slip to make it 4-2 after 86 minutes.
Lovat weren’t at their best but manager Fraser Gallacher was happy with the win. Skye have plenty to build on but they will be frustrated they don’t have a match this coming week as it is Lochaber’s ‘free Saturday’.
Newtonmore will have to wait another week before they get their season under way as snow on the pitch led to the postponement of their meeting with Lochaber at The Eilan.
New Lochaber boss Neil MacDonald will need to wait until Saturday March 24 before he sees his team in action. His team have their nominated ‘free Saturday’ this weekend so they will be hopeful their trip to Glenurquhart a week later goes ahead.
Marine Harvest National Division
Fort William 2
Inveraray and Fort William, two of the division’s title contenders, met at The Winterton.
Inveraray’s Allan MacDonald was banned and Garry MacPherson and Ally MacDonald were working, so boss Ruaraidh Graham called Robert Wood into the squad.
Fort William co-managers Victor Smith and Adam Robertson suffered a blow with the news that talisman Bryan Simpson is unlikely to be available this season.
Fort William got off to a great start and were ahead within a couple of minutes from the throw-up. Jack Fraser played the ball wide to Lewis Clark who squared it to Arran MacPhee at the edge of the box and he struck a shot high to the keeper’s right to make it 1-0.
It got even better for the visitors on eight minutes when Graham Campbell added a second. Arran MacPhee picked the ball up from the half forward position and ran through into the ‘D’ before laying the ball off to Campbell who struck a shot low into the bottom corner of the net.
The rest of the game was a hard-fought affair in terrible conditions. The constant rain led to scrappy play at times and the pitch really cut up as the match went on.
Fort William were delighted to head home with both points, getting their title push off to a great start.
Oban Celtic 6
Oban Celtic got their National Division campaign up and running with a solid 6-0 win over Inverness at Mossfield.
With Oban Celtic scoring 29 goals in three pre-season games, confidence was high in the home camp. Rory Bruce was missing as he is still recovering from a shoulder injury, whilst Robert Alexander will miss a chunk of the season as he travels around Australia. Ian MacFarlane started in goal whilst Neil Carmichael, Lee Askew and Dylan Cooke formed a strong bench.
Inverness, now managed Callum McLeod, were without defender Arran MacMaster who had a one-game suspension carried forward from the end of last season.
Inverness started well, boosted by a strong wind in their favour, and forced a couple of early corners but the home defence dealt with them comfortably.
Oban Celtic sparked into life, taking the lead after six minutes. Some good link-up play culminated in Ross MacMillan firing a shot low, hard past Inverness keeper Allan MacLeod.
Celtic added a second on 19 minutes. Daniel Madej and Daniel MacMillan combined to set up Andy MacDonald who fired past the away keeper to make it 2-0.
Ross MacMillan was causing the Inverness defence all kinds of problems and he was involved in Celtic’s third on 25 minutes when he floated the ball in to Andy MacDonald who nipped in behind his marker Drew MacNeil to tuck away his second goal of the game with the Inverness defence claiming offside.
The home fans didn’t have long to wait before celebrating their side’s fourth which came when captain Daniel Madej added his name to the scoresheet four minutes later, scoring following an impressive solo run.
With the outcome all but decided, Oban Celtic manager Kenny Wotherspoon decided to take off the impressive Ross MacMillan, replacing him with Neil Carmichael with 36 minutes on the clock. With no further scoring, the Oban side took their 4-0 advantage into the break.
There were more changes at half-time but the home side continued to press in the early stages of the second period, forcing keeper Allan MacLeod into some good saves.
When Inverness did press, Michael MacKinnon was on hand to keep danger man James Cameron relatively quiet.
Oban Celtic passed up some good chances to increase their lead, however, they added a fifth when Andy MacDonald completed his hat-trick with another hotly disputed goal. Inverness’ claims of offside were again waved away by the goal judge and referee Lachie Wood.
Oban Celtic added a sixth on the stroke of full time when come-back man Lee Askew rifled a shot into the top corner of the net from a tight angle.
Oban Celtic could hardly have wished for a better start to the season and Lewis MacPhee had a fine game for the hosts.
Next up is another home match against Inveraray this Saturday, whilst Inverness have a tricky trip to Kilmallie.
Kilmallie made a winning start to their league campaign, beating Beauly 3-0 at Braeview Park.
Beauly boss Alan MacRae is without Sandy Elrick, who has moved to Kingussie.
Kilmallie manager Mark MacPherson was without Craig MacIsaac, Martin Stewart and Michael Rodger, who all missed this one through suspension.
Kilmallie forward Daniel Stewart made a scoring start to the new season, netting the only goal of the first half after 31 minutes.
Innes Blackhall made it 2-0 on 55 minutes and Bryan MacKay added a third 10 minutes later for a good opening game victory.
Glasgow Mid Argyll P
The match between Strathglass and Glasgow Mid Argyll at Cannich was postponed following the death of Strathglass stalwart and chieftain Johnny Fraser.
Marine Harvest North Division 1
Fort William 1
Champions Newtonmore reserves opened with a hard- fought 2-1 victory over Fort William reserves at An Aird.
It was a cold but mostly dry day at An Aird with a strong wind towards the town end which Newtonmore choose to take from the start.
Fort William fielded a young team and Newtonmore also included youngsters. With Newtonmore’s first team match postponed, Norman Campbell was called in to play full back, with attacker Iain Robinson also included. This helped cover some absentees who were struck down by a sickness bug which affected the club.
The game started evenly but, after just a couple of minutes, a lapse by young Newtonmore keeper Callum Grover saw Greg Kelly score.
Newtonmore boasted an impressive forward line on paper but despite some excellent build-up play, they failed to hit the target on several occasions. Big swings and snatched efforts were at the route of their wastefulness.
Fort William were limited to a few chances, with the excellent Norman Campbell and Stuart Mitchell mopping up at the back.
When Fort William did find the target, Callum Grover made an excellent save to keep the score 1-0.
Newtonmore drew level five minutes before half-time when former Aberdeen University and Boleskine player Ewen Fraser reacted well to score from a re-bound.
Unfortunately for Fort William, the wind died down in the second half and Newtonmore, with Scott Chisholm outstanding in the centre line, went on to dominate the game.
However, Newtonmore continued to pass up chances in front of goal and, when they did get shots on target, they found young Fort William keeper Stuart Disher in tremendous form, making several fantastic saves with his feet.
It was now one-way traffic towards the home goal and, with 10 minutes remaining, Norman Campbell was switched to full forward. Campbell hit a rocket shot which was blocked by a Fort William defender who threw his body at the ball. Fort William were giving their all and defending stoutly.
Newtonmore then forced a series of corners which were all cleared by the Fort William defence.
The winning goal came with just a minute remaining. Ewen Fraser hit a goal-bound shot but the ball took a deflection on its way past the excellent Fort William keeper Stuart Disher to give Newtonmore a 2-1 lead which they held until the final whistle.
Fort William will feel their defensive performance and overall effort meant they deserved more from the game, whilst Newtonmore will be glad to return home with both points after squandering so many chances.
An unplayable field on Friday evening led to the meeting between the Kingussie and Glenurquhart seconds being transferred from The Dell to Blairbeg with a noon throw-up.
Cairn Urquhart gave Glenurquhart the lead on 10 minutes, but Chris Holleysong levelled four minutes later.
It looked as if the sides would go into the break level until Michael Slimon put Kingussie in front with three first half minutes remaining.
Kevin Thain added a third Kingussie goal on 72 minutes before Russell Menzies made it 4-1 with 10 minutes to go.
Skye Camanachd 0
Glengarry beat the Skye Camanachd reserves 1-0 at Craigard.
This was Glengarry’s first game back in North 1 after winning the North 2 title last season.
Steven Morrison made his Skye return at full forward after injury ruled him out of the 2017 campaign.
The hosts played with the wind in the first half and Nick Dalgety gave them the lead after 10 minutes.
Skye’s Ross Gordon and Angie MacDonald had chances in the second half, whilst Glengarry, with Steven Cameron excellent in midfield, twice had the ball in the net but both efforts were ruled out for earlier infringements.
Skye, who looked rusty, had keeper Ryan Morrison to thank for a couple of good stops.
Aberdeen University 7
Aberdeen University, who are looking to go one better than last year’s second place finish, beat a young Kinlochshiel colts side 7-0 in their 1.30pm throw up at Kirkton.
It was a long trek from east to west for the students but it didn’t seem to bother them as Stuart Cameron scored in the opening minute.
Former Lochcarron player Gregor Cushnie fired home on 15 and 32 minutes to make it 3-0.
Kinnon Dear added a fourth four minutes later and Stuart Cameron got his second with five first half minutes remaining.
The Aberdeen side could have been further ahead but for a first half penalty saved by veteran home goalie Graham Kennedy.
There was no further scoring until Gregor Cushnie completed his hat-trick on 80 minutes with Stuart Cameron doing likewise 60 seconds later to round off the 7-0 win.
Kinlochshiel included Ewan Falconer on his return to the side.
Marine Harvest South Division 1
Lochside Rovers 0
Two of the Marine Harvest South Division 1 title heavyweights clashed at Ganavan where two late goals gave Bute a 2-0 win over Lochside Rovers.
John MacCallum and Ian McDonald took over at Bute during the close season and they had just 12 players – but a strong 12 – for this game, with another 12 travelling with their second team.
There have been changes at Lochside with Steven Sloss no longer playing and Daniel Sloss, Evan MacLellan and Craig MacDougall moving up to the Oban Camanachd squad, but Chrissie MacMillan was available for this one as work commitments meant he couldn’t travel to Blairbeg with Oban Camanachd. David Lafferty and Keith MacMillan were with the senior side.
A great shot from Michael MacQueen was superbly tipped over the top by Bute goalie Kevin Queen who also did well to turn over a Chrissie MacMillan effort from midfield with the ball dipping just under the bar before the keeper’s intervention.
The first goal was always going to be crucial and it came on 82 minutes. Robert Walker, who had always looked dangerous but had been well-policed by Josh Rippon, found just enough space to get onto a ball to the back post and crashed a shot into the top corner of the net to make it 1-0.
Lochside had to go for a leveller but they were picked off a minute from time when Ian McDonald finished well from outside the ‘D’, sending the ball high into the corner of the net.
Bute did enough to win, evidenced by the fact keeper Brian MacCallum was probably Lochside’s best player. John MacCallum was influential in the Bute midfield and the islanders showed they will be a formidable outfit in the league this season.
There were also positives for Lochside, with boss Gareth Evans putting together a good defence with Craig Kilpatrick doing well at the back.
Taynuilt beat the Inveraray second team 3-1 at The Taynuilt Sports Field.
Taynuilt were five players short through injury but they looked bigger and stronger than their opponents throughout.
2017 South Division 2 winners Inveraray travelled without player of the year Lewis Cameron and top scorer David Robertson which meant a young forward line of 15 year old Calum MacDonald and Campbell Watt, supported by 13 year old Coll Mackay. 17 year old defender Kieran Kirkhope returned to the game after recovering from an ACL operation.
Taynuilt started strongly and had Inveraray under pressure. Both keepers then made good saves with one Beano Logan stop from ex-Kilmory player Rhys Williams catching the eye as the Taynuilt goalie turned the ball over the bar.
Inveraray player/manager Graham MacPherson also tipped one over at the other end.
Taynuilt suffered a blow when they lost forward Ewan MacCorquodale with a pulled hamstring; adding to their long injury list.
However the hosts went on to score twice, late in the first half, to take the initiative.
Taynuilt eventually broke down the Inveraray defence, benefiting from a ‘un-deliberate kick’ with Mark Bergant scoring from close range to make it 1-0 with 37 minutes gone.
Gerry Kilmurray then made it 2-0 with a low volley from a tight angle just 5 minutes later to give the hosts a deserved interval lead.
With his side two goals down, Graham MacPherson took himself out of goals to add some experience to the forward line and 16 year old Gregor Mather took over between the Inveraray posts.
And it was Graham MacPherson’s through ball that picked out the run from David MacPherson and he fired past the on-rushing keeper to make it 2-1.
The game was finely balanced until Taynuilt restored their two-goal advantage when Scott Dempster netted on 82 minutes following a well worked free-hit.
Best of the home team were youngsters Blair MacFarlane and Zander Kilmurray. Inveraray were well served by their young players who gave a good account of themselves.
The game between Aberdour and Tayforth passed a Friday evening pitch inspection.
However, heavy overnight rain left Silversands unplayable so the game was switched to Levenhall Links.
Throw-up was brought forward to noon.
Adam MacVay scored for Tayforth, but Andrew Fraser and David MacKenzie gave Aberdour a 2-1 win.
Col Glen 2
Kyles Athletic 3
Col Glen and the Kyles Athletic second team served up a five-goal derby thriller at Otter Ferry.
Donnie McDermid gave Col Glen the lead on 12 minutes, but Ross MacRae levelled on 20 minutes.
Luke Thornton, who signed for Kyles from Glasgow Mid Argyll during the close season, gave his side the lead again on 25 minutes and they went into the break in front.
Willie MacVicar drew Col Glen level when he made it 2-2 after 55 minutes.
It stayed that way until 10 minutes from time when Kyle McMartin grabbed the winner for the Tighnabruaich side.
Kilmory’s match with Ballachulish was postponed on Saturday morning as MacRae Park was unplayable.
Marine Harvest North Division 2
The Lochaber second team, who finished second in the division last season, opened with a match against the Caberfeidh second team, who finished a place below, at Spean Bridge.
Caberfeidh took the points though after a Stuart Kryzanowski hat-trick and strikes from Ruaraidh MacKinnon and Alan Ross cancelled out Pat Toal’s goal for Lochaber.
Lewis Camanachd 0
Murdo John Fraser’s reign as Lochcarron boss started with a 3-0 win against Lewis Camanachd in their 1.30pm throw-up at Battery Park.
Liam Arnott put Lochcarron ahead after eight minutes.
Lochcarron sealed the win with late goals from Michael MacKinnon on 74 minutes and Lance MacCuish five minutes from time.
Strathspey Camanachd 1
Darren Urquhart’s second season as Lovat second team manager started with a win as his side beat Strathspey Camanachd 2-1 at Balgate.
Strathspey took the lead with Donald Colville scoring after five minutes.
Raymond Rennie drew Lovat level on the hour and Ryan Ferguson, who is unable to commit to first team shinty this season, scored what proved to be the winner on 70 minutes.
The game between the Kilmallie colts and the Beauly colts was postponed on Friday evening as Canal Parks was waterlogged.
Boleskine’s meeting with the Strathglass second team at Smith Park was called off following the passing of Strathglass stalwart Johnny Fraser.
Drew McNeil’s Inverness second team were the team without a match in this 11-team league.
Marine Harvest South Division 2
Glenorchy, relegated from Marine Harvest South Division 1 last season, got off to a good start with a 4-2 win over the Bute seconds at Mart Park.
Bute second team captain Neil McKirdy missed out as he served the second game of a two-match ban carried forward from last season.
Kieran MacKay scored twice for the home side, with Conor Sartain and Murray MacKay getting the others. Stuart Stirling and Steven Dunn netted for Bute.
Oban Celtic A
Strachur, who are amongst the division’s title favourites, welcomed the Oban Celtic second team to Strachurmore.
This was the Oban Celtic second team’s return to league action for the first time since the 1999 / 2000 season and they trailed 3-0 in the match with Ian Wilson and an Ian MacLennan double counting for Strachur.
However, with worsening weather conditions, referee Ted McDonald was left with little choice but to abandon the game.
Glasgow Mid Argyll P
The clash between Glasgow Mid Argyll and Aberdour’s second teams will be re-arranged as Yoker was waterlogged.
Marine Harvest National Division 1
Fort William 1
Lochaber were 6-1 derby winners in their noon throw-up against Fort William at Spean Bridge.
Kirsty Delaney scored four times whilst Natalie MacDonald and Rebecca Masson were also on target for Lochaber.
It’s been a tough start to the season for Fort William who have faced Skye and Lochaber, who finished in the division’s top two places last season.
Strathspey Camanachd 0
There was another derby as Strathspey Camanachd and Badenoch met in a 1pm throw-up at Grantown Grammar School. Badenoch won 3-0, with Zoe Reid (2) and Mairi Stewart on target.
The games between Aberdour and Skye and Glasgow Mid Argyll and Ardnamurchan were postponed because of unplayable pitches.