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Wet weather once again proved a tough opponent, forcing a number of shinty league matches to be postponed on Saturday March 9.
Oban Camanachd 2 Lovat 2
Oban Camanachd twice led against Lovat before having to settle for a point following their 2-2 draw at Mossfield.
Oban Camanachd manager Stephen Sloss was without defender Scott McKillop, who has a knee problem, but Aidan MacIntyre returned and Daniel Madej played in defence. Craig Easton was called up from Lochside and started on the bench.
Andrew MacCuish was carrying a niggling injury so he was also listed as a substitute, whilst Chrissie MacMillan served his one match suspension.
Lovat manager Fraser Gallacher had Callum Cruden free of suspension and he started in defence. Calum MacAulay also returned to take a place on the bench. Martin Mainland was unavailable.
It was a good day in Oban and although the pitch was soft, there was a drying wind and it comfortably passed an 8am inspection.
This was always going to be a close contest between two of the sides likely to feature at the top end of the table come the end of the season.
Oban Camanachd took the lead on 12 minutes. Aidan MacIntyre and Scott MacMillan combined in midfield to find Daniel MacCuish on the left. He played the ball on to Malcolm Clark and his superb cross from the corner was volleyed home first-time by Daniel MacVicar to make it 1-0. The lead up play and execution were a delight to watch.
When the ball broke to an unmarked Daniel MacCuish on 20 minutes, his shot cannoned back off Lovat keeper Stuart MacDonald as the home side looked to increase their lead.
The visitors levelled from a disputed penalty on the half-hour. Daniel Cameron lost his footing and was adjudged to have brought down Marc MacLachlan inside the ‘D’ by referee Ross Brown who waved away the Oban protests. Greg Matheson kept his cool, thumping the penalty over keeper Cameron Sutherland to make it 1-1.
Oban Camanachd replaced Connor Howe and Malcolm Clark with Andrew MacCuish and Craig MacDougall at half-time as they moved from a two-two to a three-one attacking formation.
Scott MacMillan saw a 25-yard shot deflected wide on 60 minutes but Oban Camanachd regained the lead three minutes later. Andrew MacCuish and Daniel MacVicar were involved and although MacCuish’s shot was saved by Stuart MacDonald, Daniel MacCuish slipped the rebound into the net.
Marc MacLachlan drew Lovat level for a second time though a minute later. Fraser Heath played the ball to MacLachlan who bulleted a back-hand effort from the Lovat left across the keeper and just under the bar and into the net to make it 2-2. It was a fantastic finish and MacLachlan’s fourth goal in two games.
The remainder of the game was a midfield battle with both defences on top, although Lovat’s Lewis Tawse almost got on the end of a late free-hit.
In the end the sides had to settle for a point apiece.
The Oban defence was touch-tight throughout and Daniel Sloss had a great game, restricting Lovat danger man Greg Matheson to few opportunities. Lorne Dickie also played well in the middle of the park, displaying good hitting on both sides.
Oban Camanachd showed good discipline, with Garry Lord their only booking, whilst Lovat collected four yellow cards. Oban Camanachd will be concerned over an injury picked up by Craig MacDougall.
Oban Camanachd assistant manager Kenny Wotherspoon was content after the game. He said: ‘It’s a point and it gets our season going. A draw was probably fair. Had we held on for just five minutes after we went 2-1 ahead, it might have been a different outcome but Lovat are a strong unit and they will be up there at the top of the division this season. And we hope to be there too.
‘We should have Gary McKerracher back in training when he returns from holiday which will give us another option in defence, although Chrissie MacMillan and Scott McKillop will both hopefully make this week’s game at Newtonmore. We’re all looking forward to that one.’
Kingussie 1 Lochaber 1
Ben Delaney’s goal a couple of minutes from time earned Lochaber a 1-1 draw against Kingussie as both sides got their seasons under way at the Dell.
Kingussie’s James Falconer sat this one out through suspension.
This was first competitive match in charge for new Lochaber boss Michael Delaney who was able to call on keeper Callum MacDonald who missed most of last season following an accident at work.
Kingussie broke the deadlock on seven minutes. The Lochaber defence failed to deal with a long hit-in from the right and the ball was played down the inside right channel to Roddy Young who fired a great shot into the net to make it 1-0.
It stayed that way until 90 minutes when Martin Johnstone shot goalwards following a hit-in from the Lochaber right. Although Kingussie keeper Craig Dawson made the save, Ben Delaney scrambled the re-bound over the line to earn Lochaber a morale boosting draw.
Caberfeidh 0 Newtonmore 3
Newtonmore bounced back from the previous week’s defeat to Kilmallie with a convincing 3-0 win over Caberfeidh at Castle Leod.
This was Caberfeidh’s first match of the season and they were missing Scotland U21 captain Blair Morrison with a shoulder injury. Robbie Brindle was given a first competitive start after joining the club in the close season from Beauly.
Newtonmore’s Steven Macdonald was free of suspension but didn’t play. Andy MacKintosh started on the bench, whilst Stuart Mitchell was injured. Iain Richardson played in defence and Drew MacDonald was back after missing the Kilmallie defeat.
The weather made it difficult for the players but it was Newtonmore who took the lead almost from the throw-up. The ball came down the wing to Evan Menzies who took the ball out towards the corner on the Newtonmore right before flicking it back infield to the on-rushing Jamie Robinson who ran from the centre line, getting by Calum MacKinnon, before shooting over keeper Ewan Pilcher from close in.
The goal came at a cost though as captain Menzies pulled up after releasing the ball to Robinson and had to be replaced by David MacLean.
Caberfeidh had good possession and played most of the first 15 minutes in the Newtonmore half, however, they struggled to threaten the Newtonmore goal.
Newtonmore then came into the game strongly. David MacLean was making the most of his opportunity in attack as he made it 2-0 on 35 minutes with a low drive from 20 yards.
Fraser MacKintosh added a third on 52 minutes and the visitors could have had more but for some wayward finishing and some good saves from Ewan Pilcher in the Caberfeidh goal who continues to enhance his reputation.
As the match moved into the last quarter, Jamie Robinson and Owen Fraser were well positioned in midfield to mop up the high balls that came out of the Caberfeidh defence.
Kilmallie P Inveraray P
The match between Kilmallie and Inveraray was called off on Saturday morning when Canal Parks was ruled unplayable.
Kinlochshiel P Kyles Athletic P
Kinlochshiel’s match against Kyles Athletic was another Saturday morning postponement as Kirkton was waterlogged.
Mowi National Division
Fort William 5 Oban Celtic 1
Fort William top the National Division after defeating Oban Celtic 5-1 at An Aird.
This was the only second tier match to beat the elements and the pitch was in relatively good condition.
Fort William captain Arran MacPhee was free of suspension.
Oban Celtic boss Dougie MacIntyre was still minus the suspended Craig MacMillan, whilst Neil Carmichael and Lee Askew were ruled out through injury. Ally McKerracher went to centre where he played well.
A heavy hail shower meant the throw-up was delayed by 10 minutes and Oban Celtic started with a cold wind at their backs.
Fort William looked pacey up front and Lewis Morrison finished off a good move to give them the lead on 12 minutes.
The visitors lost defender Calum MacLeod, who had been suffering from a chest infection, and they suffered a further blow when a disputed free-hit was played forward and Lewis Clark made it 2-0 with 23 minutes on the clock.
Oban Celtic came more into it during the second quarter of the match but it remained 2-0 until the break.
When Oban Celtic keeper David Martin made a save with his foot by his right post on 57 minutes, referee Martin MacLean signalled for a ‘kick’ and awarded Fort William a penalty which Arran MacPhee converted.
Fort William replaced Sean Cameron and Lewis Morrison with Mark Grant and Padraig McNeil.
Fort William now had a grip of the midfield and Arran MacPhee got his second and Fort William’s fourth on 72 minutes before Padraig McNeil knocked home a re-bound four minutes later after keeper Martin had made another good save.
Oban Celtic had introduced 16- year-old substitute Jamie Forgrieve at half forward for the final 20 minutes of the match and he set up Oban Celtic’s goal a couple of minutes from time. Forgrieve burst down the right before cutting inside with his ball into the goal area diverted into the net by Daniel MacMillan.
The win means Fort William have scored ten goals from their opening two league fixtures ahead of this week’s trip to Bute.
After the match, Oban Celtic assistant manager Les Kinvig said: ‘A few decisions went against us but Fort William deserved the win, although the final margin was harsh on us.
‘We are trying to mix some of our younger players with our more experienced players. Jamie Forgrieve did really well when he came on and Keegan McPhee can also be pleased with his contribution.
‘We’ll hopefully have Lee Askew back for Beauly’s visit to Mossfield on Saturday. It should be a good game.’
Glasgow MA P Glenurquhart P
Glasgow Mid Argyll’s 3pm throw-up with Glenurquhart was postponed as Peterson Park was unplayable.
Beauly P Bute P
Beauly’s match against Bute was called off as Braeview Park failed a pitch inspection.
Strathglass P Skye P
The match between Strathglass and Skye Camanachd was postponed on Saturday morning as Cannich was waterlogged.
Mowi North Division 1
Lovat 3 Fort William 5
The Lovat seconds put up a good fight before going down 5-3 to the Fort William seconds at Balgate.
Raymond Rennie grabbed a Lovat hat-trick but Greig Kelly and doubles from Cal Brown and Connor MacRae gave the Fort a winning start to their league campaign.
Inverness 2 Caberfeidh 4
After opting to drop down from the National Division, Inverness started life back in North 1 with a 4-2 defeat against the newly-promoted Caberfeidh colts at the Bught Park.
Caberfeidh got off to a flier. They won the throw-up and pushed forward and Ruaraidh MacLeman had the ball in the net after 20 seconds.
Scotland U21 player Charlie MacDonald drew the Inverness side level on 20 minutes, but a second from Ruaraidh MacLeman gave the visitors a 2-1 interval advantage.
Jordan MacKenzie extended Caberfeidh’s advantage on 68 minutes and although David Campbell pulled a goal back on 75 minutes, James MacLeod made it 4-2 with five minutes remaining, beating home keeper James Cameron who made some good saves during the 90 minutes.
The Kinlochshiel seconds beat the Glenurquhart seconds 4-3 following an enthralling clash at Blairbeg.
Both teams fielded strong sides, with John Barr and Ewan Brady lining up for Glenurquhart and keeper Stuart MacRae, Duncan ‘WD’ MacRae, Duncan Matheson and Keith MacRae starting for Kinlochshiel.
Glenurquhart’s Ewan Brady saw an early penalty saved by Stuart MacRae before the hosts took the lead on 25 minutes. Ewan Brady lofted the ball goalwards and it deceived keeper MacRae and dropped into the net.
When referee John Angus Gillies awarded Glenurquhart a second penalty on 29 minutes, substitute Charlie MacLeod made no mistake from the spot.
Kinlochshiel got right back into it seconds later as Keith MacRae found Duncan Matheson with a rehearsed free-hit routine and the youngster sent the ball low into the net.
It got better for the visitors on the half-hour as Keith MacRae ran onto Sandy MacDiarmid’s cross to level the contest.
Sandy MacDiarmid was again the provider as Keith MacRae made it 3-2 from the edge of the ‘D’ on 51 minutes.
Duncan Matheson made it 4-2 with a superb shot on 66 minutes and although Ewan Brady set up Christopher Mack to pull a goal back 11 minutes from time, Kinlochshiel held on to take the points.
Aberdeen University P
Aberdeen University were unable to raise a team for their meeting with the Newtonmore second team at The Eilan. The students, who lost their opening day fixture to Glengarry with just 11 players, will be docked two points and the match will be re-scheduled.
Skye P Kingussie P
There was disappointment for the Skye Camanachd and Kingussie reserve sides as their 3pm throw-up at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree, fell foul to a waterlogged pitch.
Mowi South Division 1
Lochside Rovers 2
Lochside Rovers edged out Taynuilt 2-1 after the Taynuilt Sports Field passed an 11am inspection.
Lochside boss Brian MacCallum played in goal, with Gavin Stobbart at full back. Aidan MacIntyre returned to first team duty, with Craig Easton also called up by the seniors.
Youngsters Gregor MacDonald and Jamie MacGillivray started and had great games whilst Ross Campbell was taken out of the forward line to play centre where he showed strength, skill and maturity beyond his 15 years.
Iain MacMillan opened the scoring on 17 minutes with a neat finish after the home defence failed to clear their lines. Lewis Buchanan lashed the ball past Brian Logan to make it 2-0 on 28 minutes, taking advantage of slackness in the home defence.
When referee Graham Fisher awarded Taynuilt a 43rd minute penalty for a ‘kick’ inside the ‘D’, Scott Dempster stepped up to make it 2-1 with a well-struck spot-hit.
Whilst Lochside edged the first half, Taynuilt came more into it after the interval and had the ball in the net following a free-hit. But the referee ruled the ball had entered the net without a second touch, much to the frustration of the home support, and Lochside saw the game out.
MacFarlane, MacMillan and Kilmurray were best for Taynuilt, whilst Lochside’s Stobbart was man of the match.
The sides also contested the JC Memorial Cup, remembering James Cameron, and James’ father Dougie Cameron presented the trophy to Lochside skipper Jordan Kerr.
Speaking after the game, Lochside manager Brian MacCallum said: ‘We did enough to deserve the win. It was always going to be hard against Taynuilt and we had to reshuffle the pack. We probably could have done a little better with our finishing and been further ahead but everyone worked hard and never gave up so I’m really pleased.’
The game between the Inveraray seconds and Ballachulish at the Winterton was postponed because of an unplayable pitch.
The match had been reversed to the Jubilee Park but that was also unplayable.
Kyles Athletic P
Col Glen P
The clash between the Kyles Athletic second team and Col Glen was called off as Tighnabruaich Playing Fields failed a pitch inspection.
Glasgow Mid Argyll P
The game between the Glasgow Mid Argyll second team and Aberdour was reversed to Silversands on Friday evening.
However, a Saturday morning pitch inspection deemed Silversands could only take one game so the reserve team match went ahead as it was scheduled first.
Mowi North Division 2
A storming second half performance gave the Strathglass seconds a 7-2 win over the Inverness seconds in their noon throw-up on the Bught Park outside pitch.
Inverness led 1-0 at the break with youngster Finlay Calder scoring on 39 minutes.
Ciaran Melons netted a minute after the re-start to make it 1-1 and he notched a second three minutes later.
Finlay Calder got his second on 53 minutes to make it 2-2.
The Cannich side pulled ahead during the final 20 minutes, however, with Steven Hyslop on 71 minutes, Penri Jones on 78 minutes, Rory MacInnes on 83 minutes, a Colin Fraser own goal on 86 minutes and an effort from Eddie Noble a minute from time completing the win.
Strathspey 2 Beauly 2
Strathspey Camanachd and the Beauly seconds shared the points following a 2-2 draw in their 1.30pm throw-up at Grantown Grammar School.
John MacKenzie gave the hosts the lead on two minutes but Elliot Moir’s brace on 15 and 42 minutes had Beauly 2-1 ahead at half-time.
Strathspey’s Connor Aubrey netted five minutes into the second half to make it 2-2 and although Beauly had a late effort ruled out for offside by referee Des McNulty, it finished level.
Lochcarron P Kilmallie P
Lochcarron’s match against the Kilmallie second team was called off on Saturday morning as Battery Park was unplayable.
Boleskine P Lewis P
The clash between Boleskine and Lewis Camanachd at Smith Park was postponed on Friday evening because of an unplayable pitch.
Mowi South Division 2
Aberdour 1 Kilmory 4
Kilmory made it two wins out of two as they beat the Aberdour second team 4-0 at Silversands.
Kilmory, with Sandy Leiper free of suspension, took the lead on 14 minutes through Ally MacLennan.
The visitors, with a strong wind at their backs, did the damage in the first half as Alex Cunningham made it 2-0 on 17 minutes with Hal Jones doubling their lead with strikes on 31 and 36 minutes. The hosts made changes at the break and claimed for a penalty when player/manager Roddy MacColl went down inside the ‘D’. They also had a strike ruled out for offside before Kevin McKell pulled a goal back with three minutes remaining.
Oban Celtic P
The match between Oban Celtic and Glenorchy was postponed and will be re-scheduled.
It was the second round of fixtures in the ladies top flight but only one game beat the elements.
Mowi National Division
Lochaber were too strong for newly-promoted Glenurquhart, winning 7-0 at Spean Bridge.
With Kirsty Campbell making her Lochaber debut, Kirsty Delaney scored four times with Natalie MacDonald bagging a brace and Claire Delaney getting the other. The result puts Lochaber two points clear at the top of the table.
Glasgow Mid Argyll P
The game between Badenoch and Glasgow Mid Argyll at the Dell was called off on Sunday morning.
Badenoch were dealt a blow the day after their opening day win over champions Skye as key player Kirsty Deans suffered a fractured ankle when playing football for Inverness Caledonian Thistle Ladies.
Strathspey P Aberdour P
Poor road conditions led to the postponement of Strathspey’s match against Aberdour.
Skye P Ardnamurchan P
Wet weather resulted in the postponement of Skye Camanachd’s meeting with Ardnamurchan at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.
Portree high retain Donella Crawford title
Portree High School won the coveted Donella Crawford Sixes at Jubilee Park, Ballachulish, on Wednesday March 6.
A record 17 teams comprising of 140 players took part and the sides were split into three groups. Each team played each other once allowing for the top teams from each league to qualify for the semi-finals along with the best overall runner up.
There was a minute’s silence before play got under way to mark the recent passing of John Crawford, Donella Crawford’s husband, who always showed a keen interest in the event and enjoyed hearing of the growth in the women’s game.
Portree High School, Plockton High School and Culloden High School all topped their respective groups, whilst Lochaber High School qualified for the last four as the best runner up.
The semi-finals were played simultaneously for four minutes each way and the draw pitched Plockton against Lochaber and Portree against Culloden.
Plockton scored the only goal of the game in the first half against a battling Lochaber side to reach the final. Portree, who only dropped one point in the league section, scored a goal in each half to set up a west coast meeting with Plockton in the final. Portree eventually ran out 3-0 winners to take the trophy home for the second successive season.
Donella Crawford’s cousin Alistair McMillan made the presentations and winning Portree captain Christina Macdonald raised the cup in front of her delighted team mates.