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Oban Camanachd 4
Oban Camanachd beat Newtonmore for the second time in the Mowi Premiership this season, winning their 12.30pm throw-up at Mossfield 4-1.
A broken finger has ended Malcolm Clark’s season while Oban Camanachd continue to be without Willie Neilson and Aidan MacIntyre, with Keith MacMillan also unavailable. Daniel Cameron started at full back, with Chrissie MacMillan, Daniel MacCuish, Lewis Buchanan and Daniel Madej making up a fast forward line. Craig Easton retained his place in defence.
Daniel MacVicar was delayed through work commitments so he started on the bench along with Blair MacFarlane, Ross Campbell and Gary McKerracher.
Newtonmore’s Andy MacKintosh returned after serving a one-match suspension, whilst Ewen Fraser was also back. Iain Robinson recovered from injury to take a place on the bench. Newtonmore were without Fraser MacKintosh, whilst Glen MacKintosh and Steven Macdonald were still missing, although the latter was a goal judge.
On a cold day, it was wet ahead of throw-up although the sun appeared through the showers as both sides lined-up for their penultimate match of the season.
Newtonmore created the game’s first real opportunity but, after good play from Evan Menzies on the right, Michael Russell’s low show was well saved with his feet by Oban Camanachd keeper Cameron Sutherland at the expense of a corner.
It was the Oban side, however, who took the lead on 12 minutes. Craig Easton won the ball at the back and found Andrew MacCuish on the left of the midfield, in front of the main stand. MacCuish’s low, diagonal ball forward was flicked on by Daniel Madej to Chrissie MacMillan in a central position with his back to goal. MacMillan, who also scored against Newtonmore at the Eilan earlier in the season, allowed the ball to run across his body before turning and sweeping a shot past keeper Kenny Ross to his left side.
The hosts continued to press and Daniel MacCuish saw a shot from the right come off the keeper’s left post after Lorne Dickie’s free-hit from midfield wasn’t dealt with by the visiting defence.
Oban Camanachd continued to create the better chances and Scott MacMillan’s ball from wide on the right dipped just over the crossbar.
Newtonmore fought back and it took a great challenge from Daniel Cameron to halt one attack. Ewen Fraser then sent a low effort wide of the far post under pressure from Craig Easton before Cameron Sutherland made another good stop, this time from Ewen Fraser, clearing the ball to safety.
Craig Easton was then forced off with what looked like a nasty neck injury. Daniel MacVicar came on in attack, with Chrissie MacMillan dropping back into defence.
An Evan Menzies effort from the left was deflected wide for a corner but it was the hosts who took a 2-0 lead into the break with youngster Lewis Buchanan, making the most of his start, netting on 37 minutes. Andrew MacCuish went on a good run before finding Daniel MacVicar on the right. Newtonmore keeper Kenny Ross saved MacVicar’s effort with his hand, but Lewis Buchanan ran in from the left to score from the re-bound.
Newtonmore went on the attack from the re-start and a low strike from Evan Menzies was saved by Cameron Sutherland.
Oban Camanachd wing centre Andrew MacCuish launched the ball goalwards from the left of midfield but Kenny Ross was equal to the dropping ball. Scott MacMillan took the resulting corner and this time Kenny Ross saved well from Daniel MacCuish.
Newtonmore boss Paul John MacKintosh made changes as he introduced Iain Robinson, Owen Fraser and David Fraser. However, it was Oban Camanachd who added a third goal on 58 minutes. Garry Lord’s free-hit drew another set-piece chance, this time in the goal area after Daniel MacVicar was bundled to the ground. Daniel Madej took the free-hit, finding Scott MacMillan on the left and MacMillan, who had lost his marker, sent a low drive on his back-hand past the keeper to make it 3-0 with 58 minutes on the clock.
Evan Menzies pulled a goal back on 71 minutes. Iain Robinson cut the ball across to Menzies and with Daniel Cameron slipping, the Newtonmore captain gave the keeper no chance with a clean strike on his back-hand.
Newtonmore immediately brought Ewen Fraser back on and Evan Menzies fired over as they looked to score again.
But the red and blacks restored their three-goal cushion on 78 minutes. Andrew MacCuish came deep to win possession and surged forward before checking back and sweeping the ball across to Lewis Buchanan and his low, firm strike, with Rory Kennedy closing him down, beat the keeper.
Oban Camanachd had already put Blair MacFarlane on for Scott MacMillan before replacing Andrew MacCuish with Ross Campbell.
There was a lot for the Oban side to be pleased about and their back-line of Daniel Cameron, Daniel Sloss, Craig Easton and Garry Lord worked hard and were solid throughout.
They now leap-frog Newtonmore to take fourth place in the division with both sides having one match remaining.
Speaking after the match, Camanachd assistant manager Kenny Wotherspoon said: ‘We’ve now played Newtonmore four times this season, including a pre-season friendly which we won at their place. We’ve beaten them twice in the league – and when was the last time you could say Oban Camanachd did that – but, unfortunately for us, the one we lost was probably the most important of them all: – the Camanachd Cup Final.
‘I’ve managed at South 1 and National level before but the Premiership is a massive step up but considering Stephen [Sloss] and I went into this new environment without really knowing each other, I think the results show it’s been a positive season for the club and we’re certainly pleased with it.
‘Clubs now recognise Oban Camanachd as a strong team which is encouraging and whilst there’s still room for improvement, we’ll continue to try some things out in the remaining two matches, for example using Daniel Madej and Chrissie MacMillan up front, before checking on everyone’s availability for next season.
‘Lewis [Buchanan] has been scoring a lot of goals for Lochside and it is also important the young guys get their chances and he certainly took his. It has been a long season but that is because we’ve been able to play in every game possible.’
Kyles Athletic 1
It was title celebration day for champions Kingussie as they were presented with the Mowi Premiership trophy following their match with Kyles Athletic at Tighnabruaich.
The match itself went the home side’s way as they won for the fourth successive game, inflicting only Kingussie’s second league defeat of the season – the other coming at home to Lovat.
Colin MacDonald returned for Kyles Athletic, but Neil MacVicar joined Thomas Whyte on the absentee list. Conor Kennedy was also back but he was held in reserve with Murdo MacRae and Jack Whyte. Innes MacDonald replaced MacVicar in defence.
James Falconer returned for Kingussie and started on the bench alongside Owen Reid, Craig Dawson and Cameron Leiper. Fraser Munro and James Hutchison were both unavailable.
The only goal of the game came after five minutes and there looked to be a touch of good fortune about it. Kyles put together some nice build up play, working the ball wide to Robbie MacLeod near the corner flag. MacLeod lofted the ball into the goal area and Colin MacDonald leapt with an outstretched arm, raising his caman with one hand, and the ball deflected by keeper Rory MacGregor from the edge of the ‘D’ with the final touch looking to be off the club of Kingussie defender Robert Mabon.
The victory means Kyles stay third, a point ahead of Oban Camanachd, with both sides having two matches remaining.
After the final whistle, Kingussie skipper Robert Mabon stepped forward to receive the Premiership trophy from Alistair Geddes from sponsors Mowi and it now sits next to the Artemis Macaulay Cup in the Kingussie trophy cabinet.
Mowi North Division 1
Fort William 4
The Newtonmore second team’s Mowi North Division 1 title chances suffered a blow when they lost 4-3 to the Fort William second team in their noon throw-up at An Aird.
This was a tricky test for the Newtonmore seconds but they showed their intent as Cameron McNiven on 16 minutes and Duncan Gorman a couple of minutes later gave them a 2-0 interval lead.
Fort William made a strong start to the second half. Victor Smith made it 2-1 a couple of minutes after the re-start, before Scott Knox, on 52 minutes, turned a re-bound home on his back-hand to make it 2-2.
Padraig McNeil put Fort William ahead for the first time in the game on the hour but Newtonmore’s Calum Stewart made it 3-3 four minutes later.
The winning goal came 20 minutes from time when Victor Smith got his second to give Fort William a 4-3 victory.
The result means Fort William go second in the division with Newtonmore dropping to fourth spot. Newtonmore now trail leaders Glengarry by five points but they have two games in hand – at home against Aberdeen University and the Glenurquhart seconds. The potential league decider between the Newtonmore seconds and Glengarry at the Eilan has been re-scheduled for this Saturday. A draw will be enough to give Glengarry the title.
Elsewhere, Keith MacRae scored twice as the Kinlochshiel second team beat the Caberfeidh second team 3-2 at Castle Leod, whilst the Lovat and Skye Camanachd second teams drew 2-2 at Balgate. The match between the Kingussie reserves and Aberdeen University at the Dell has been re-scheduled for Saturday 9 November 2019.
Mowi National Division
Skye Camanachd 1
Badenoch were crowned Mowi National Division champions after they beat Skye Camanachd 8-1 in their play-off match at Balgate on Sunday October 27.
The match was originally scheduled for Craigard, but a Thursday pitch inspection led to a switch to the Bught Park, Inverness. That was ruled out on Saturday morning and the game was relocated to Balgate.
Badenoch opened with a high intensity and didn’t allow Skye to play from the throw-up.
From the moment Kirsty Deans put them ahead on four minutes, Badenoch took control.
Jeanette MacGregor, fielded in attack rather than her usual defensive position, made it 2-0 on 16 minutes.
Straight from the re-start, Kirsty Deans added a third and she completed her hat-trick on 23 minutes.
Badenoch were relentless and it was Kirsty Deans again on 27 minutes to make it 5-0.
Badenoch had the ball in the net for a sixth time on 35 minutes when Kirsty Deans broke down the left before finding Jeanette MacGregor who netted, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Skye seemed to take heart and it took two fine Elizabeth MacGregor saves to keep them at bay and it remained 5-0 until the end of the first 40 minutes.
Skye were finding Kirsty Deans too hot to handle though and Badenoch got their sixth goal six minutes into the second half, with Deans scoring again.
Skye pulled a goal back through Sarah Corrigall on 53 minutes, but Badenoch were in no mood to let the islanders back into the match.
Just a couple of minutes later, Kirsty Deans made it 7-1 before she scored for the seventh time on 62 minutes to make it 8-1 and give Badenoch the trophy for the first time.