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Gareth Evans is the new Oban Camanachd manager
Gareth Evans was voted in as Oban Camanachd manager at last week’s annual general meeting.
‘Some folk have mentioned this has been a long time in the making,’ said the new boss. ‘I’ve always had my eye on managing Oban Camanachd one day but the truth is I was very happy looking after Lochside Rovers and I thoroughly enjoyed doing that.’
Certainly, no-one can accuse Gareth Evans of not serving his apprenticeship. After breaking into the Oban Camanachd first team in 1994, he played in a side which reached six Camanachd Cup finals in nine years, lifting the famous trophy in 1996 after beating Kingussie 3-2 in the final in Inverness.
He hung up his caman at the end of the 2014 season and immediately took charge of a Lochside Rovers side which had notched fourth, then fifth place finishes after winning South 1 in 2012.
Gareth comes into the Oban Camanachd role on the back of two spells managing Lochside Rovers; 2015 to 2018 and 2020 to 2021. One league title – and twice losing out by the finest of margins – a Sutherland Cup and a Bullough Cup were won during that time. Evans was also involved towards the end of Brian MacCallum’s 2019 reign when Lochside did the Sutherland and Bullough double.
His efforts were recognised when he was named Mowi South Division 1 Manager of the Year in 2015 and 2017.
It is of equal importance that a number of young players were guided on their way from youth shinty to first team shinty at Oban Camanachd during his tenure, with one or two even turning out for Oban Celtic.
Gareth Evans takes over from Stephen Sloss who stood down at the end of the abridged 2021 season and he recognises the magnitude of the job.
He said: ‘It’s a big step up from managing Lochside and it will be strange to an extent given I’m friends with a few of the boys but I will put my all into this and I’m sure all the players will too.’
Gareth Evans now turns his attention to planning for the 2022 shinty season and he added: ‘We have a good squad and the aim is to push on and win some of the national competitions. Oban Camanachd will always be in with a shout of winning the Celtic Society Cup but we really want to strive for national success and we have the players to do it.’
There will be continuity at Lochside Rovers where Andrew Pearson, Iain MacMillan and Duncan MacMillan, who were all involved last season, now take on the running of the side.
Don’t miss next week’s Oban Times for Gareth Evans’ thoughts on Lochside Rovers’ 2021 campaign.
2022 Artemis Macaulay Cup Draw
One of the pre-season highlights saw the 2022 Artemis Macaulay Cup draw take place live on Oban FM on Saturday December 4.
The Macaulay Cup, first presented in 1947 by then Oban Times editor Flora Macaulay, is the only cup format in senior shinty to be played on a regional basis so guaranteeing a final between a south and north side.
Eligibility is mainly based on the previous year’s league placing and there was just one change from the south teams who competed last season as Col Glen returned to the competition, replacing Ballachulish. The north half of the draw remained unchanged.
The Macaulay Association was well represented as Gerry Kilmurray drew the home sides, with Les Kinvig picking the away sides. Davie Hamilton was also in attendance.
Just like last year, Oban Celtic and Oban Camanachd were both given home draws but both face tough ties. Oban Celtic play Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup winners Kyles Athletic, whilst Oban Camanachd welcome fellow Mowi Premiership side Glasgow Mid Argyll.
New Oban Camanachd manager Gareth Evans said: ‘It looks like we have four games to win at Mossfield if we want to lift the Macaulay. That is easier said than done but it is there for the players if they want it.’
Fort William have a tricky trip to the Dell to play Kingussie, whilst Kilmallie will test Lovat at Canal Parks.
The tie of the round is the meeting between Newtonmore and Kinlochshiel at the Eilan.
The draw in full is:
Artemis Macaulay Cup first round
Aberdour v Bute; Inveraray v Col Glen; Oban Celtic v Kyles Athletic; Oban Camanachd v Glasgow Mid Argyll; Kingussie v Fort William; Kilmallie v Lovat; Newtonmore v Kinlochshiel; Lochaber v Caberfeidh.
Artemis Macaulay Cup quarter finals
Oban Celtic/Kyles Athletic v Aberdour/Bute; Oban Camanachd/Glasgow Mid Argyll v Inveraray/Col Glen; Lochaber/Caberfeidh v Kingussie/Fort William; Newtonmore/Kinlochshiel v Kilmallie/Lovat.
Artemis Macaulay Cup semi finals
Oban Celtic/Kyles Athletic/Aberdour/Bute v Oban Camanachd/Glasgow Mid Argyll/Inveraray/Col Glen; Lochaber/Caberfeidh/Kingussie/Fort William v Newtonmore/Kinlochshiel/Kilmallie/Lovat.
The South Artemis Macaulay Cup semi-final takes place at Mossfield with the North last four tie at Braeview Park, Beauly.
The Artemis Macaulay Cup Final takes place at Mossfield with the dates for all ties still to be confirmed.
Kingussie are the current holders, having beaten Kyles Athletic 4-1 in last season’s final.
Oban Camanachd AGM
Oban Camanachd held their annual general meeting at the Rockfield Centre on Friday December 3.
Vice president Gareth Evans opened the meeting as president Pat Steeman was unable to attend because of work commitments.
Gareth Evans thanked sponsors TSL for their support. He said: ‘TSL have been terrific, even honouring their sponsorship to back the club when we weren’t able to play shinty in 2020 and early 2021. We have not been able to give them much in return over that period but we will make it up to them next season.’
Stephen Sloss was thanked for his hard work and commitment during his three-year term as Oban Camanachd manager.
Election of office bearers: Iain MacIntyre continues as chieftain and Pat Steeman, who attended to the many covid-related matters last season, stays on as president.
With Gareth Evans becoming Oban Camanachd manager, Alastair Crowe is the club’s new vice president.
Iain MacIntyre becomes secretary, with Katy Cameron remaining as treasurer.
Donald MacLellan continues as superball convenor, with Amanda Sloss having responsibility for social media and Nigel Evans continuing to attend to transport.
Oban Camanachd are always on the lookout for new volunteers and anyone interested in helping out, even for a small time, should contact any of the office bearers.
The Oban Camanachd and Lochside Rovers player of the year awards will take place in the New Year.
Fort William AGM
Fort William Shinty Club will hold their annual general meeting at their An Aid clubhouse on Monday December 13.
Fort William suffered the same covid-related difficulties as other clubs last season but their first team did well in their regionalised league and reached the cottages.com MacTavish Cup semi-finals. The Fort William second team reached the Strathdearn Cup semi-finals.
There is much to be optimistic about with the opening of Fraser’s Field next to An Aird, the success of the Shinty Street League and Willie MacDonald’s appointment as the club’s development officer.
The annual general meeting starts at 7.30pm. All members are requested to attend and encouraged to vote.
Oban Camanachd U17 12 Glasgow Mid Argyll U17 0
Oban Camanachd Under 17s lifted the MacQuisten Cup, defeating Glasgow Mid Argyll Under 17s 12-0 in the final at Mossfield on Saturday December 4.
This was the final opportunity to contest this trophy and Iain Hay and his ground staff deserve credit for ensuring the pitch was playable for this noon throw-up.
GMA lost out to Aberdour in the semi-finals but were asked to step in when the Fife side were unable to field a team for the final.
GMA were the younger side and they gave it their all, especially in the second half.
Oban Camanachd were too strong though, running up a 9-0 interval lead but some great goalkeeping restricted them to only three more goals in the second half.
Ewen Campbell was top scorer with five goals and Louis MacFarlane scored four times. Two-goal Coll MacKay and Pearce Mcbeth made up the Oban Camanachd tally.
Oban Camanachd captain Hannah MacDonald stepped forward to raise the 94-year-old MacQuisten Cup in front of her delighted teammates and a noisy support.
Elsewhere, Beauly Under 17s won the MacTavish Juvenile Cup, beating Kingussie Under 17s 4-0 in the final at Braeview Park. Kieran Rennie and Finlay ‘Stork’ MacLennan scored in the first half, with MacLennan getting his second after the restart and Finlay MacLennan adding a fourth late on.
The WJ Cameron Under 17 Development Cup Final between Aberdour Under 17s and Inverness Under 17s was postponed, as was the Camanachd Association Under 14 Development Cup Final between Bute Under 14s and Strathspey Camanachd Under 14s.
Kinlochshiel boost as Gill stays on
Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup and cottages.com MacTavish Cup double winners Kinlochshiel celebrated their most successful season at their recent annual dinner dance and awards night at Dornie Hall.
And the celebrations were cranked up a notch or two with the news that manager Johnston Gill, who was widely tipped to stand down at the end of the season, is to stay on for one more year along with his trusted assistant Doe MacRae.
Kinlochshiel skipper Keith MacRae said: ‘This is a great thing for the club. Johnston gets on well with all the players and knows their strengths and weaknesses and how to get the best out of them.
‘He also knows our second team very well so knows who will be ready to take the next step. That’s important and the need to always look towards our developing players is something we are aware of as a club.’
Albert Smith medal winner Conor Cormack presented Johnston Gill with a specially engraved commemorative caman made by Roddy MacLennan to mark the cup double winning season.
Keith MacRae, who grabbed a hat-trick as his side beat Lovat 3-1 to win the Scottish for the first time, was awarded the Duncan MacRae Cup as first team players’ player of the year.
Archie MacRae netted the third goal in a 3-2 victory over Kingussie in the cottages.com MacTavish Cup Final and was voted second team players’ player of the year, receiving the Tommy MacKenzie Cup.
The committee’s player of the year award went to the whole Kinlochshiel first team for their history making cup double and Paul MacRae, who missed the MacTavish Final after suffering a serious knee injury in a league match against Lochaber, came forward to collect the Kenny Wilson Cup.
The Ian ‘Dubh’ Memorial Shield for Under 21 player of the year went to the versatile Duncan Matheson who was a top performer in both finals.
The Ray Coghill Memorial Shield goes to the Kinlochshiel Ladies most improved player and Tegan Bruce was given that accolade.
Maree MacKenzie was nominated for the Kinlochshiel Ladies Players’ Player of the Year prize.
New cup for single team clubs
The Camanachd Association has confirmed the introduction of a new cup competition for single team clubs playing next season.
Glengarry are one of the sides who have pushed for this new tournament with support from a number of other clubs.
Entry is restricted to single teams playing in the Mowi Area Leagues. The first round will be played on an area basis with subsequent rounds taking place in an open draw format.
Mowi National Awards
The 2021 Mowi Awards will be a ‘virtual’ celebration of achievements, replacing the usual annual ceremony, to respect and celebrate the achievements of shinty’s sportsmen and women and their impact on their community during the unique years of 2020 and 2021.
These unique Mowi Awards aim to recognise the extraordinary efforts and incredible endeavour that was required to deliver a shinty season in 2021.
This year’s awards will be based on the important values on which shinty and its communities are built and upon which Mowi, shinty sponsors for the past 35 years, and the Camanachd Association operate.
Nominations can be made at the Camanachd Association website www.shinty.com
Macmillan Nurses collection
A collection at the inaugural Alasdair Morrison Memorial Cup match between Skye Camanachd and Lochcarron raised £1,017 for Macmillan Nurses.
The Morrison family are overwhelmed by the support, kindness and generosity shown to them and extend their heart-felt thanks to everyone who contributed.
The Women’s Camanachd Association (WCA) was amongst the many clubs and associations to express their sadness at the passing of Mabel Sloggie on Friday December 3.
Mabel Sloggie was the wife of the late John Sloggie and shinty played a huge part in both their lives.
A WCA statement said: ‘Mabel followed her husband and her sons in the sport but she also broke down barriers in her own right as an official, goal judging at many games. She always proudly carried and showed off her Macaulay Final medal.
‘She also put in countless hours alongside John making Munro Camans and the WCA were grateful when the couple supplied beautiful black camans for the winning captain of the Valerie Fraser Women’s Camanachd Cup.
‘A formidable lady, Mabel will be sorely missed by the shinty community.’
The deepest sympathies from the shinty world go to Mabel’s sons Eddie, Matthew, Mark and Peter and their respective families at this sad time.