Shinty board confirms competition plans ahead of 2021 season

Newtonmore’s Rory Kennedy takes control. Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final replay - Newtonmore v Oban Camanachd - played at An Aird, Fort William.

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Competitive shinty is a step closer to returning thanks to positive planning from the Camanachd Association.

At a meeting last week, the association’s board of directors backed the competition committee’s plans for the 2021 season following the 100 per cent registration from member clubs for the 2021 season.

It was agreed that, when it is safe to return, clubs will be given a four to six-week pre-season to get fitness and stick work back up to the required standard. This will be
followed by a league and cup campaign.

The plans include Mowi leagues of six teams playing 10 fixtures each. How these leagues will be split will be determined on locality.

Regional competitions, including the cottages.com MacTavish Cup and Celtic Cup,
may be moved to a later stage in the season, subject to necessary agreements.

National cup competitions will be regionalised in the early rounds to reduce
long distance travelling. This will include the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup,
Highland Industrial Supplies Sutherland Cup and the Alvance Balliemore Cup.

Burton Morrison, competitions director, said: ‘Under the current restrictions, we are unable to confirm a start date for the revised season. However, we are optimistic we are able to plan for a number of options for a competitive structure which will give teams the opportunity to get back playing.

‘The form of season adopted will depend on the length of time available. We will allow for adequate pre-season preparation and will take account of the practical difficulties involved in travelling long distances at present, as well as the recognised key dates on the calendar.’

With the rollout of the COVID 19 vaccine under way, the Camanachd Association
board was mindful of developing a flexible structure that can be delivered in line
with government guidance and activated when restrictions allow. This plan includes
reduced travel for teams in the first instance and will be focused on re-activating
competitions to maximise the physical, social and mental health and well-being of the shinty communities as soon as it is safe to do so.

Steven MacKenzie, Camanachd Association president, said: ‘I and all of my fellow directors were pleased to endorse the plan put forward.

‘I would like to thank competitions director Burton Morrison and the full committee for developing a robust plan that enables us to maximise our shinty playing opportunities while minimising the risk.

‘We are all eager to get back to playing shinty in line with government guidance and with this plan in place we are one step closer to doing so.’