Top flight win for Oban Camanachd

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Mowi Premiership

Kinlochshiel 0
Oban Camanachd 2

Oban Camanachd go third in the Mowi Premiership after beating Kinlochshiel 2-0 in their 1pm throw-up at Reraig.

Kinlochshiel were 1-0 home winners against Newtonmore three weeks earlier, whilst Oban Camanachd also came out on top against the Camanachd Cup winners, triumphing 4-1 the week after, also on their own patch.

Kinlochshiel and Newtonmore have taken the chance in recent matches to give valuable game time to a number of their promising youngsters and this match was no different.

This was Kinlochshiel’s third match on their new pitch. They won the previous encounters 7-0 against Caberfeidh and 1-0 against Newtonmore. Jordan Fraser was again unavailable and Finlay MacRae, John MacRae and Conor Cormack were also missing. Keith MacRae started in attack and Duncan Matheson dropped back into defence. Andrew MacKenzie, Donald Nixon and Duncan ‘WD’ MacRae made up the centre line, whilst Martin MacRae started in attack. Boss Johnston Gill was unwell so Scott Kennedy took the side.

Oban Camanachd boss Stephen Sloss and assistant Kenny Wotherspoon travelled without Daniel Sloss, Lorne Dickie, Keith MacMillan, Malcolm Clark, Willie Neilson and Aidan MacIntyre. Daniel Cameron was at full back, whilst Gary McKerracher started at full centre, flanked by Scott MacMillan and Andrew MacCuish. Blair MacFarlane and Ross Campbell were on the away bench.

It was a bright but cold day on the west and Kinlochshiel started playing towards the Kyle end of their ground.

The Oban side created the first chance of the match with Kinlochshiel keeper Josh Fraser palming away Lewis Buchanan’s shot which was going inside the keeper’s right post.

Oban Camanachd forced a series of early corners and Daniel MacVicar was next to test Josh Grant.

Gary McKerracher was revelling in his midfield role and his long ball sent Daniel MacVicar through on goal, one-on-one with the keeper, but Josh Grant again stood between the visitors and an early score.

Kinlochshiel threatened on 15 minutes when Keith MacRae showed good control inside the ‘D’ before pushing the ball goalwards, but Oban Camanachd keeper Cameron Sutherland did well, first blocking MacRae’s effort before scrambling the ball away for a corner as the home forwards closed in.

Good play from Daniel MacCuish, who had come deep, saw him find Chrissie MacMillan who sent the ball long into the danger area and keeper Grant had to come off his line to get the ball away for a corner.

The match was now flowing from end-to-end and Martin MacRae, on the right, turned the ball inside to Donald Nixon but his shot went by the keeper’s right post.

Kinlochshiel replaced Andrew MacKenzie with Arron Jack midway through the half before Keith MacRae sent a good effort narrowly off target following good lead-up play from Duncan ‘WD’ MacRae.

The visitors responded and Chrissie MacMillan sprayed the ball wide to Lewis Buchanan who picked out Daniel MacVicar, but his shot went wide.

Oban Camanachd made their first change on the half-hour mark as Ross Campbell took over from Chrissie MacMillan in attack with Fraser Reid replacing Martin MacRae in the Kinlochshiel forward line soon after.

Scott McMillan was booked with five first half minutes remaining for saying too much to referee Archie Ritchie.

There was late first-half action at both ends. Cameron Sutherland parried a dropping Donald Nixon ball from wide on the left and play then switched straight up the park where Mark MacDonald raced across goal to clear a dangerous Daniel MacVicar ball at the expense of a corner. Ross Campbell played in the resulting corner from the left and Daniel MacCuish took the ball down but couldn’t get a shot on goal and the first half ended scoreless.

Oban Camanachd boss Stephen Sloss made changes at the break. Gary McKerracher came off, Scott MacMillan went to full centre, Blair MacFarlane came on at wing centre and Andrew MacCuish went to full forward.

Ross Campbell was looking lively for Oban Camanachd and Scott MacMillan sent him racing down the left and it took a good challenge to get the ball out for a corner as Campbell cut in towards goal. The same duo combined again as Scott MacMillan took the corner and Ross Campbell flashed a low shot by the keeper’s left post. Blair MacFarlane sent a low ball from the right fizzing into the ‘D’ where Josh Grant saved with his feet and full back Paul MacRae got the ball away to safety.

There was a sense an Oban goal was coming and it duly arrived on 56 minutes. A clever turn inside from Scott MacMillan got him free of his marker and he got a shot on goal. Paul MacRae did well to stop the low ball with his stick but, as he stumbled backwards, Andrew MacCuish raced in to thump the ball low past a helpless keeper. It was a good finish from the Scottish international and MacCuish become the first opposing player to score a senior goal at Reraig.

Kinlochshiel then enjoyed a period of pressure during which they had two penalty claims before a deft flick from Chrissie MacMillan allowed Scott MacMillan to surge forward but Josh Grant saved with his feet.

Oban Camanachd doubled their lead on 67 minutes following quick thinking from a set-piece. No-one spotted Garry Lord galloping forward from the half back position, except Andrew MacCuish, who played a clever free-hit to the Oban left. Lord dribbled the ball into the ‘D’ before showing great composure to tap the ball low past Josh Grant to make it 2-0.

As the match drew to a close, Cameron Sutherland saved a Keith MacRae shot from the right. The Oban keeper then moved smartly to adjust his feet to keep out Donald Nixon’s strike. Ally Nixon couldn’t get onto the rebound and the danger was cleared.

The win lifts Oban Camanachd to third place in the division, only a point behind Lovat with a game in hand. However, third-placed Kyles Athletic, with two games remaining, are just a point behind Oban Camanachd.

Speaking just after the final whistle, Oban Camanachd boss Stephen Sloss said: ‘The guys did well in what was a typical end-of-season game. It’s always hard here, but we had another good look at some of the young guys and they did well today.

‘We tried using some of the younger boys in different positions from the start but switched it to something more familiar at half-time. We put Papa up front for his presence and he scored the first goal then set up the second.’

Stephen didn’t read too much into being the first away side to win at Kinlochshiel’s new Reraig pitch. ‘I think it will be different here next year,’ he said, ‘as both ourselves and Kinlochshiel are just trying to get the season over the line. The new pitch is good though. What a difference to Kirkton, but I think it will be a different game here next year.’

The match completes Kinlochshiel’s season, whilst Oban Camanachd end their campaign against Lochaber at Spean Bridge this Saturday.

Kyles Athletic P
Newtonmore P

Paul John MacKintosh will have to wait a couple of weeks to bring the curtain down on his seven-year reign as Newtonmore manager as their match against Kyles Athletic at Tighnabruaich was postponed because of an unplayable pitch.

Mowi North Division 1

Newtonmore 3
Glenurquhart 3

The Newtonmore colts gave themselves a great chance of sealing a fourth successive Mowi North Division 1 title when they beat challengers Glengarry last weekend.

With a match at home to bottom side Aberdeen University still to come, Newtonmore went into their penultimate fixture against the Glenurquhart second team at the Eilan knowing two wins would guarantee the title.

However, importantly, it would also be possible to lift the title with only three more points if they could increase their goal difference sufficiently to better Glengarry’s count.

Newtonmore went in front on eight minutes through top scorer Craig MacLeod. But Jed Stoddart hit a double on 17 and 30 minutes to give Glenurquhart a 2-1 lead at the break.

When Glenurquhart’s David MacLennan made it 3-1 a minute after the restart, a shock result was a possibility.

The visitors held their two-goal lead until nine minutes from time when Glen MacKintosh made it 3-2.

As the clock counted down, Glengarry were just seconds away from being crowned champions but it was Glen MacKintosh, again at the death, who made it 3-3, earning Newtonmore what could prove to be a priceless point.

Orsten Gardener’s Newton­more side must now beat already relegated Aberdeen University by at least five goals at the Eilan this Saturday to win the league.

Aberdour are also more than interested bystanders because if Newtonmore win North 1, the Fife side will be automatically promoted to the National Division as only Glengarry are eligible to take part in any play-off match.

Aberdeen University P
Kingussie P

The game between Aberdeen University and the Kingussie second team was called off on Saturday morning as the pitch at Balgownie was frozen.
This was to be the first meeting between the sides this season and would have been played as a four-pointer.
All throw-ups are at 2pm, unless the match report states differently.

This weekend’s fixtures

Oban Camanachd complete a long season against Lochaber at Spean Bridge, whilst Kilmallie head to Tighnabruaich for a noon throw-up against Kyles Athletic.

The Newtonmore second team can clinch the Mowi North Division 1 title if they beat Aberdeen University by at least five goals at the Eilan.

Oban Camanachd dance and awards

Oban Camanachd host its 130th year dinner dance at the Royal Hotel, Oban, on Friday November 29.

There will be a three-course meal and music comes from Gunna Sound. Everyone welcome. The club hopes many former players will attend. Tickets cost £20 and are available from committee members.

The club’s annual player of the year awards will also be made.

Oban Camanachd’s annual general meeting will be held on Wednesday December 4, with the venue still to be confirmed.

The club needs to increase the numbers on their committee and the Lochside Rovers management role needs to be filled.

Kilmallie awards night

Kilmallie’s annual awards and dinner dance takes place at the Moorings Hotel, Banavie, on Saturday November 16.

It is sure to be a busy time for the club as they travel to Tighnabruaich for a Mowi Premiership meeting with Kyles Athletic earlier in the day.

Lochaber annual general meeting

Lochaber Camanachd host its annual general meeting at the Station Restaurant on Friday December 6 at 7pm.

The club also has its annual dinner dance at Spean Bridge Community Centre on Saturday November 16.

All tickets should be bought before the event.

Lovat award winners

Lovat named their award winners at its annual awards night.

Scotland defender Daniel Grieve was first team player of the year with Bailey MacKay collecting the second team prize.

Laura Gallacher was Lovat Ladies player of the year, with Laura MacKintosh the most improved player.

There were youth prizes for Harley Marshall, under 17; Angus Mearns, under 14, and Ally White and Cody Tinney, under 12.

Sheila Matheson was presented with flowers for her contribution and dedication to the club.

Caberfeidh holds prize day

Caberfeidh announced its awards at the club’s annual dinner dance at Strathpeffer Spa Golf Club on Saturday November 9.

Scottish international Craig Morrison, who was earlier in the day named Mowi National Player of the Year, collected the first team and players’ player of the year prizes.

Ruairidh MacLeman was second team player of the year, with Connor MacGregor, under 17, and Taylor Condon, under 14, also recognised.

The Murdo MacDonald Trophy for most commitment in training went to Kian Macleod, whilst the RJ Macleod Trophy, awarded to the person who has gone the extra mile for the club throughout the year, was presented to Gail Coburn.

WCA looks for new recruits

The Women’s Camanachd is looking to fill a number of vacant posts. The positions offer a great opportunity to become involved in the women’s game and boost the sport.
Committee meetings are held monthly via Facebook call so there is no need for any travelling.
The vacant posts on the WCA committee include secretary, treasurer, coaching, education and development officer, publicity officer and events co-ordinator.

‘Amazing contribution’

Aird and Loch Ness councillor Emma Knox recognised the ‘amazing contribution to shinty’ made by coach, official and player Tina Marshall at the recent full Highland Council meeting in Inverness.

Councillor Knox said: ‘I wanted to say a few words to recognise the achievements of one of my constituents, Tina Marshall, who lives in Kiltarlity. I want you to celebrate her amazing contribution to shinty. Tina has been breaking boundaries in women’s shinty for years as a player, a coach and as an official.

‘This year, Tina became the first woman to officiate at the Camanachd Cup final when she ran the line in the original abandoned match and the replay. And the week after, Tina was a goal judge at the Strathdearn Cup final, another milestone.

‘Tina’s illustrious shinty career has spanned four decades, including playing for Lovat Ladies, which recently won the League and Challenge Cup double, as well as previously representing Strathglass and Inverness.

‘I think Tina would say she is most proud of her role as a youth coach, helping to ensure the future of shinty.’

There was warm applause in the chamber following Councillor Knox’s words.

Tina Marshall was also named Emerging Referee of the Year at last weekend’s annual Mowi Shinty Awards.