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The wait is almost over as the new shinty season starts on Saturday March 7.
Glasgow Mid Argyll v Oban Camanachd
Oban Camanachd get their season under way with a trip to Yoker to play newly-promoted Glasgow Mid Argyll (GMA).
Former Oban Celtic player Mark Bain continues in charge at GMA after securing promotion to shinty’s top flight following a second place finish in the National last season.
He is without Oliver MacRae, who has returned to former club Kinlochshiel. However, former Newtonmore, Aberdeen University and Boleskine player Ewen Fraser has signed to strengthen the attack, whilst Ally McKerracher has joined from Oban Celtic. He will be another valuable addition, as are former Skye player Stewart Grant, former Kingussie player Hamish Anderson and Cammy McCue from Aberdour. Ryan Harrison skippers the side this season.
As is the position at most clubs, Oban Camanachd manager Stephen Sloss and his assistant Kenny Wotherspoon have been left frustrated by the lack of pre-season action. They will be without Aidan MacIntyre, who announced his retiral at the end of last season, and Lorne Dickie, who is unavailable for the early part of the season, so there will be changes in midfield. Gary McKerracher is also unavailable for this one.
Kenny Wotherspoon said: ‘We’ll look to make a good start but Glasgow Mid Argyll won’t be easy. They’ve added new players including Ewen Fraser, who did so well at Newtonmore, and Ally McKerracher, who I obviously know from Oban Celtic.
‘The Premiership is a massive step up though. It’s a huge difference to National Division shinty and we’ll be expected to win.
Kilmallie v Lovat
Kilmallie welcome Lovat to Canal Parks.
The match comes just a fortnight after the shock news John Stewart had resigned as Kilmallie first team manager.
A statement from the Kilmallie Shinty Club board said: ‘The board has accepted, with regret, the resignation of John Stewart as first team manager. John is a dedicated Kilmallie man who has given his all to the club as a player and manager. The board, on behalf of the club, would like to place on record our appreciation and thanks for all the hard work, diligence, determination and organisation John has put into leading the first team over the past 15 months.’
John Stewart’s brother, Martin Stewart, has been appointed interim player/manager, with the backing of the board and the team. The board statement added: ‘Martin Stewart has been a key player for many years and knows the team through and through. He has developed considerable coaching experience in the schools and women’s game. It is likely further assistance will be added to Martin’s team to help with coaching and training.’
The board’s longer term desire is to return to having a non-playing manager so Martin Stewart can concentrate on playing. Anyone who has an interest in this role is asked to contact the board chairman or secretary.
One of Martin Stewart’s first tasks will be to solve a forward line dilemma with Liam MacDonald and Daniel Stewart missing the start of the season through injury.
Lovat are also under new management with co-bosses Alan MacRae and Jamie Matheson replacing Fraser Gallacher. Scott MacKenzie returns after a spell out through injury but Marc MacLachlan has left the club.
Drew Howie is back after a year travelling and played wing centre in the Lovat Cup. Bailey MacKay will feature more this season following a good year with the seconds.
Fort William v Kyles Athletic
Fort William have been given a difficult start to life back in shinty’s top flight as seasoned campaigners Kyles Athletic visit An Aird.
Fort William co-managers Victor Smith and Adam Robertson are without Lewis Clark for this one, but Bryan Simpson has been at pre-season training and his skill and experience could force a first team return.
Kyles Athletic will be skippered by Rupert Williamson this season but keeper John Whyte is abroad so will miss the first couple of games of their campaign. Kyles had been due to visit An Aird pre-season for the Drew Ferguson Memorial Cup but the game was postponed.
Kinlochshiel v Newtonmore
Kinlochshiel and Newtonmore clash at Rèaraig Park.
The sides met at the same venue towards the end of last season when Duncan ‘DA’ MacRae’s goal gave Kinlochshiel a 1-0 win.
Kinlochshiel manager Johnston Gill has strengthened his squad with Oliver MacRae re-joining the club after a spell with GMA and Rhuairaidh MacDonald signing after captaining Glengarry last season.
Orsten Gardner has taken over from Paul John MacKintosh at the Newtonmore helm and he has made a change in goal with Owen Fraser replacing Kenny Ross.
Kingussie v Caberfeidh
Champions Kingussie start their bid to retain the Mowi Premiership title against Caberfeidh at the Dell.
Kingussie have Thomas Borthwick, Ryan Borthwick and Dylan Borthwick back training, boosting manager John Gibson’s options.
Caberfeidh have lost Ryan MacKay, Robbie Brindle and Martin MacDonald to Beauly. Ryan Simmonds missed last season through work commitments but is available again. Scott MacLachlan won’t be available every week.
Mowi National Division
Oban Celtic v Skye Camanachd
Oban Celtic open their competitive season against Skye Camanachd at Mossfield.
Oban Celtic manager Dougie MacIntyre has had to make a change in goal for this season as regular keeper Iain MacFarlane is ruled out with knee problems.
Skye co-managers Kenny MacLeod and Allan MacLeod miss Ally MacDonald who hasn’t fully recovered from a knee injury, whilst Iain Nicolson and Stewart Grant aren’t available this term. John Gillies is back in the fold though after missing the second part of last season.
Strathglass v Lochaber
Lochaber’s bid for a swift return to the Premiership begins with a trip to play Strathglass at Cannich.
Allan MacLeod is the new Strathglass boss, replacing Bruce Douglas and Roy MacKenzie. He is minus the injured Ruairidh Strachan.
Lochaber manager Michael Delaney is without Danny Delaney for the early part of the season as he has a hand injury.
Inveraray v Glenurquhart
Inveraray, relegated from the Premiership at the end of last season, play promotion hopefuls Glenurquhart at the Winterton.
Ruaraidh Graham stays on in charge at Inveraray. He managed to get his side two pre-season outings, although both were on astro pitches, with Lewis MacNicol showing an eye for goal.
Glenurquhart co-managers Stuart MacKintosh and Eddie Tembo, with Dave Stewart assisting from the touchline, are without Conor Golabek and Neale Reid this season. But Michael Brady and Ewan Brady should be more available.
Aberdour v Beauly
Aberdour’s historic first match in the National Division is a meeting with Beauly at Silversands.
Most of the players who performed so well in last year’s South Division 1 remain, although Cammy McCue has left for GMA.
Roger Cormack, Jamie MacLennan and Sean Stewart will look after the Beauly first team this season and will continue to blood the club’s promising youngsters. They have added Ryan MacKay, Robbie Brindle and Martin MacDonald who have joined from Caberfeidh.
Mowi North Division 1
Skye Camanachd v Fort William
The Fort William second team play the Skye Camanachd second team at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.
Skye will be managed by Davie Pringle this season, whilst John MacLeod looks after Fort William.
Newtonmore v Kinlochshiel
The Newtonmore second team open the defence of their Mowi North Division 1 trophy against Kinlochshiel at the Eilan.
Both teams are under new management with Peter Ross in charge at Newtonmore and Ross MacDiarmid at the helm at Kinlochshiel.
Caberfeidh v Kingussie
Caberfeidh’s second team welcome the Kingussie seconds to Castle Leod.
The sides were had been due to meet in a pre-season friendly at the same venue last weekend but the game was called off on Friday afternoon.
Glenurquhart v Inverness
The Glenurquhart colts play the Inverness first team at Blairbeg.
It could be a transitional season for Glenurquhart with some players moving away to university and others stepping up to the first team.
Inverness started last season with an eight point deduction after opting to step down from National Division shinty. They will give youth a chance this season.
Lovat v Lochcarron
Newly-promoted Lochcarron are off to Balgate to take on the Lovat reserves.
Glengarry, who finished second last season, are the free team in this 11-team league.
Mowi South Division 1
Lochside Rovers v Glasgow Mid Argyll
Gareth Evans begins his second stint as Lochside Rovers manager against Glasgow Mid Argyll’s second team at Ganavan.
Lochside had a good record against GMA last season, beating them twice in the league and in the Bullough Cup Final.
Col Glen v Bute
Bute, relegated from the National Division at the end of last season, open against Col Glen at Glendaruel.
Kyles Athletic v Tayforth
Tayforth travel to play the Kyles Athletic colts at Tighnabruaich.
Taynuilt P Ballachulish P
The scheduled match between Taynuilt and Ballachulish at Taynuilt Sports Field will take place on Saturday March 28.
Mowi North Division 2
Lochaber v Strathglass
The Lochaber second team make a welcome return to league action after a year out when they host the Strathglass second team at Spean Bridge.
Lochaber will field a mixture of youth and experience. With Strathglass doing likewise, this should be an interesting encounter.
Beauly v Inverness
The Beauly colts meet the Inverness colts at Braeview Park.
Boleskine v Lewis Camanachd
Boleskine and Lewis Camanachd have a 1.01pm throw-up at Smith Park.
Strathspey Camanachd v Aberdeen University
Strathspey Camanachd co-managers Donald Colville and Mark MacDonald take charge of their side against recently relegated Aberdeen University at Grantown Grammar School.
The Kilmallie second team are without a fixture in this nine team division.
Mowi South Division 2
Ardnamurchan v Oban Celtic
The Oban Celtic second team, who finished third in the division last season, begin their campaign with a journey to Ardnamurchan.
Kilmory v Inveraray
Kilmory and the Inveraray second team have a 2.01pm throw-up at MacRae Park.
Both sides are amongst this season’s title hopefuls.
Bute v Aberdour
The Bute seconds and the Aberdour seconds play at the Meadows.
Glenorchy are the free team in this seven team league.
Shinty Heads Up
Throw-up times at all shinty matches this Saturday will be delayed by one minute, with the majority throwing up at 2.31pm, as part of an initiative to raise mental health awareness.
As part of the Heads Up campaign, shinty supporters are being encouraged to ‘Take A Minute’ to think about the importance of looking after their own well-being.
The initiative highlights the power of talking as a way to support one another and normalise what can often be thought of as a difficult subject.
The Heads Up weekends are another step to show that mental health is just as important as physical health and it only takes a second to #KickOffAConversation.
Pre-season friendly results
The final round of pre-season friendlies were scheduled for Saturday February 29 but only a small number beat the weather.
Ballachulish P Oban Camanachd P
With Jubilee Park covered in snow, Ballachulish’s match against Oban Camanachd was called off on Friday afternoon.
Oban Celtic P Taynuilt P
Oban Celtic and Taynuilt will reschedule their Robert Wylie Cup match after a water-logged Mossfield led to the fixture being cancelled last weekend.
Kilmallie P Lochaber P
Kilmallie and Lochaber will need to try again to contest the BSW Cup as an unplayable pitch at Canal Parks led to a weekend cancellation.
Newtonmore P Fort William P
Winter weather led to Newtonmore calling off their open day earlier in the week. Saturday’s friendly against Fort William was also called off on Friday afternoon.
Glenurquhart 3 Strathglass 2
Glenurquhart retained the MacDonald Cup with a 3-2 victory over Strathglass in their 2pm throw-up at Blairbeg.
Strathglass took the game to Glenurquhart from the start and took the lead through Scott Douglas on 30 minutes.
The visitors had the better chances during the first 45 minutes but had to settle for a single goal interval lead.
Glenurquhart made a good start to the second half with Michael Fraser levelling on 50 minutes and it was Fraser again on 76 minutes who gave the hosts a 2-1 lead.
Strathglass drew level on 86 minutes with Scott Douglas again on target.
A draw would have been enough to give Glenurquhart the trophy as holders, but they made sure when James MacPherson made it 3-2 a couple of minutes into stoppage time.
Strathglass suffered a blow during the closing minutes when Ruairidh Strachan was forced off with a broken collar bone which will require surgery.
Glenurquhart P Strathglass P
The Ali Ban Cup match between Glenurquhart’s second team and their Strathglass counterparts was postponed on Saturday morning as it was deemed Blairbeg couldn’t take two games.
Aberdour P Glengarry P
The match between Aberdour and Glengarry at Silversands was called off on Friday afternoon with the visitors unable to travel.
Lovat P Skye Camanachd P
Lovat’s Balgate pitch failed a Friday afternoon inspection so their 2pm throw-up against Skye Camanachd was postponed.
Kinlochshiel P Glasgow Mid Argyll P
Kinlochshiel’s home friendly with Glasgow Mid Argyll was called off during the week and a potential match against Beauly at Rèaraig also fell through.
Kingussie P Caberfeidh P
Kingussie and Caberfeidh were forced to admit defeat as their Dunbarry pitch and the ground at Kincraig were both unplayable forcing a Friday postponement of their Bill MacPherson Memorial Plate match.
Caberfeidh P Kingussie P
The clash between the Caberfeidh and Kingussie reserves at Castle Leod was postponed on Friday afternoon.
Inverness P Strathspey Camanachd P
The meeting between the Inverness second team and Strathspey Camanachd at the Bught Park outside pitch was another postponement.
Col Glen 2 Inveraray 4
Col Glen and Inveraray beat the elements on Dunoon Grammar School’s astro pitch with Inverary winning 4-2.
Christopher Blair and Jamie MacVicar scored for Col Glen, but young Ruaraidh Graham countered for Inveraray with Lewis MacNicol getting a hat-trick.
Glasgow Mid Argyll 2 Tayforth 2
The Glasgow Mid Argyll second team and Tayforth drew 2-2 on an astro pitch with the match played 10-a-side.
The GMA side included former Skye player Stewart Grant. Goals from Matthew Young and Rory Fraser earned a share of the spoils.
2020 Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup draw
The Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup draw has taken place.
Nine teams have entered this year’s tournament meaning there will be just one first round tie as South 1 sides Bute and Col Glen battle it out for the right to travel to Glasgow Mid Argyll in the quarter finals.
Holders Oban Camanachd will be favourites to progress to the semi-final stage at South 1 side Ballachulish. They could meet Oban Celtic in the last four if Dougie MacIntyre’s side get by Inveraray at the Winterton.
Kyles Athletic should be too strong for National Division newcomers Aberdour with the prize for the winners a meeting with Glasgow Mid Argyll in the other semi-final if Mark Bain’s side can account for whoever comes out on top from the tie between Bute and Col Glen.
Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Celtic Cup – first round
Saturday March 28
Bute v Col Glen
Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Celtic Cup – quarter finals
Saturday April 18
Inveraray v Oban Celtic
Aberdour v Kyles Athletic
Glasgow Mid Argyll v Bute/Col Glen
Ballachulish v Oban Camanachd
Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Celtic Cup – semi final
Saturday May 16
Ballachulish/Oban Camanachd v Inveraray/Oban Celtic
Aberdour/Kyles Athletic v Glasgow Mid Argyll/Bute/Col Glen
The Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Celtic Cup Final takes place on Saturday June 27.
The Women’s Camanachd Association fixtures got under way over the weekend.
Mowi North Division 2
Skye Camanachd 0 Inverness 8
Skye Camanachd second team and Inverness met in a Mowi North Division 2 contest in Portree on Saturday February 29.
With Skye’s Pairc nan Laoch field unplayable, the match was switched to Portree High School’s astro pitch and throw-up was brought forward to 11.30am.
The Highland capital side ran out 8-0 with Katie McMillan scoring six times and Amber MacKay bagging a double.
Strathglass P Fort William P
With Cannich unplayable, the clash between Strathglass and Fort William was called off.
Strathspey P Glengarry P
The match between Strathspey and Glengarry was postponed.
Lochaber P Kinlochshiel P
The Lochaber second team were forced to cancel their match against Kinlochshiel on Sunday morning as their Spean Bridge pitch was covered in snow.
The newly-formed Badenoch second team did not have an opening day fixture in this nine team league.
Mowi South Division 2
Bute 4 Oban Lorn 7
Oban Lorn beat Bute 7-4 in their 1.20pm throw-up at the Rothesay astro.
Bute’s goals were scored by Heather Ferguson, Anna Stanczyk, Nile Lawrence and Kiera Rutherford.
However, four goals from Shelley MacCuish, Nicola Duncan’s double and Izzy Crawford’s effort gave Oban victory.
Oban Lorn has announced Strathnaver Guesthouse will sponsor the women’s team for another season.
Ardnamurchan P Uddingston P
The meeting between Ardnamurchan and Uddingston was postponed because of an unplayable pitch.
Tayforth P Cowal and Bute P
Cowal and Bute were unable to raise a team for their game at Tayforth.
Glasgow Mid Argyll P Dunadd P
The encounter between the Glasgow Mid Argyll second team and Dunadd was postponed because of an unplayable pitch at Yoker.
This weekend’s WCA fixtures
The Mowi National Division programme begins on Sunday March 22, however, the top flight clubs will take part in a new round-robin 10-a-side tournament for the WCA National League Shield at Aviemore on Sunday March 8.
The Mowi North Division 2 schedule on Saturday March 8 is a reverse of last weekend’s matches.
The Skye second team travel to play Inverness, whilst Glengarry welcome Strathspey.
Fort William have home advantage against Strathglass, whilst the Lochaber seconds are on the road, taking on Kinlochshiel at Rearaig.
In Mowi South Division 2, the Oban Lorn squad travel to Cowal and Bute, whilst Ardnamurchan have home advantage against Bute.
Uddingston make the journey to take on Glasgow Mid Argyll’s second team, whilst Dunadd welcome Tayforth.
Inverlochy and Caol win National First Shinty festival
Inverlochy and Caol were victorious as the country’s best primary school sides came together in the 22nd Ferguson Transport & Shipping National First Shinty Festivals in Fort William on Saturday February 29.
The Primary 7 and under National First Shinty Finals took place at the Nevis Centre where Inverlochy won all five of their group games before beating Dalneigh 5-2 in the semi-finals.
2019 winners Bun-sgoil Ghaidhlig Phort Righ lay await in the final and the island side raced into a 2-0 half-time lead. It remained that way until late in the match but Inverlochy fought back, scoring twice, with James Clark’s leveller coming just seconds from full-time. There was a touch of fortune about Inverlochy’s deflected winner but that didn’t worry the victorious squad.
The Primary 5 and under National First Shinty Finals were played at Lochaber High School where Caol and Kyles Athletic won through to the final. In a thrilling final, Caol scored a late winner to emerge 6-5 winners.
Dougie Cameron, Taynuilt
Shinty lost another great character with the sad news Dougie Cameron died peacefully on Thursday February 28 after a long illness.
Dougie was a highly thought of referee, goal judge and Camanachd Association match assessor.
Many shinty clubs and supporters across the country paid tribute to Dougie on Camanachd Association social media platforms.
A statement from his beloved Taynuilt Shinty Club read: ‘Dougie was not only involved with Taynuilt, but with all forms of shinty across the country. Dougie could regularly be found cheering on Taynuilt from his bench at the pavilion, sometimes with a beer in hand.
‘From all at Taynuilt, rest easy Dougie and thank you. You were a true shinty man.’