Open­ing league fix­tures an­nounced

The Oban Times - - SPORT -

THE OPEN­ING Marine Har­vest league fix­tures have been con­firmed and the Bal­liemore Cup draw has been added to the 2017 shinty sched­ule.

Marine Har­vest Pre­mier­ship

New­ton­more’s bid to se­cure an eighth suc­ces­sive ti­tle be­gins with a home match against Lo­vat. This will be a tough open­ing test for new Lo­vat boss Fraser Gal­lacher al­though the Bal­gate side were the only club to beat Paul John MacK­in­tosh’s team last sea­son, win­ning 2-1 at the Ei­lan in their Artemis Ma­caulay Cup tie.

Oban Ca­manachd travel north to play Kin­lochshiel at Kirk­ton in an early meet­ing be­tween two of New­ton­more’s near­est chal­lengers last term.

Lochaber wel­come Kyles Ath­letic to Spean Bridge on the open­ing day. Kyles won both their league fix­tures last sea­son al­though the Lochaber men came out on top in the Ca­manachd Cup af­ter a re­play.

Newly-pro­moted Kil­mallie host Glenurquhart at Canal Parks. Both teams will be keen to gather early points with lit­tle to choose be­tween a num­ber of teams in the league,

Glas­gow Mid Ar­gyll, who also gained pro­mo­tion from last year’s na­tional league, are also at home. Kin­gussie are the op­po­si­tion in what will be Dal­las Young’s first com­pet­i­tive match as man­ager.

Marine Har­vest Na­tional Di­vi­sion

The open­ing match of the day in this league could be the con­test be­tween Oban Celtic and Fort Wil­liam in Oban. Both teams are new to the di­vi­sion, with Fort Wil­liam rel­e­gated from the Marine Har­vest Pre­mier­ship whilst Oban Celtic se­cured pro­mo­tion by win­ning Marine Har­vest South Di­vi­sion 1.

Strath­glass are an­other new ad­di­tion to this league. David Bal­harry’s side fin­ished sec­ond to the New­ton­more re­serves in North one last sea­son but they made a suc­cess­ful pitch to the Ca­manachd as­so­ci­a­tion to be moved up a di­vi­sion. They start against Caber­feidh at Can­nich.

Skye Ca­manachd will be keen to get off to a win­ning start and they wel­come In­ver­ness to Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.

In­ver­aray and Bute are two of the three south teams in this league and they meet at the Win­ter­ton.

Beauly are the free team in this nine team league with a friendly meet­ing with Bal­lachul­ish a pos­si­bil­ity as the Ju­bilee Park side doesn’t have a fix­ture ei­ther.

A pre­view of the north and south re­gional di­vi­sions will ap­pear in next week’s Oban Times.

RBS MacTav­ish Cup - pre­view

Hold­ers New­ton­more travel to An Aird to take on Fort Wil­liam in the first round of the 2017 RBS MacTav­ish Cup.

In what looks to be a favourable draw, vic­tory would give the hold­ers an­other tie against Marine Har­vest Na­tional Di­vi­sion op­po­si­tion in the quar­ter-fi­nals as they would meet the win­ners of the tie be­tween Caber­feidh and Skye Ca­manachd at Cas­tle Leod.

Glenurquhart and Lochaber meet at Blair­beg in what should be a keenly- con­tested af­fair. The ‘Glen’ won 2- 0 when the sides met at the same venue last sea­son, whilst it was a 2-2 draw at Spean Bridge. The win­ners will host Strath­glass or Lo­vat in the quar­ter fi­nals. Fraser Gal­lacher’s Lo­vat side will start as favourites in this derby en­counter but it’s very hard to pre­dict who out of the ‘Glen’, Lochaber and Lo­vat will reach the last four where per­haps New­ton­more lie in wait.

Kil­mallie will fancy their chances of a semi-fi­nal slot. Mark MacPher­son’s side were given a first round bye fol­lowed by home ad­van­tage against In­ver­ness in the last eight of the tour­na­ment.

Alan MacRae’s Beauly side also re­ceived a first round bye and they await who­ever wins the all-Marine Har­vest Pre­mier­ship tie be­tween Kin­lochshiel and Kin­gussie which takes place at Kirk­ton. ’Shiel will be happy to have home ad­van­tage as each side won their home game when they met last sea­son.

Aberdein Con­si­dine Suther­land Cup - pre­view

2016 Aberdein Con­si­dine Suther­land Cup win­ners New­ton­more colts be­gin the de­fence of their tro­phy at the Ei­lan where the Kil­mallie colts, from the di­vi­sion be­low, come to visit.

The re­ward for the vic­tors is a home tie against Strathdearn Cup win­ners Lochcar­ron or the Glas­gow Mid Ar­gyll sec­ond team who were drawn to play at Battery Park.

Last year’s run­ners-up, Kin­gussie sec­onds, host Skye Ca­manachd sec­onds in what should be a close tie with the win­ners off to Sil­ver­sands to play Aber­dour’s sec­onds.

Oban Lorn were given a first round bye so they will travel to take on who­ever comes out on top in the tie be­tween the Fort Wil­liam and Kin­lochshiel sec­ond teams at An Aird.

Lochside Rovers are off to Brae­view Park to play the Beauly colts in the knowl­edge that an away tie against Lo­vat or Kyles Ath­letic re­serve sides awaits.

The re­con­sti­tuted Strath­glass sec­ond team will play Caber­feidh’s sec­ond team and who­ever pro­gresses will be at home to In­ver­ness re­serves or Lewis Ca­manachd with all four of these sides play­ing in Marine Har­vest North Di­vi­sion 2.

Glen­garry will have a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in the open­ing round tie at Spean Bridge be­tween the Lochaber and In­ver­aray sec­ond teams as they will have home ad­van­tage against the win­ners in the next round.

Caith­ness will again field a side in the cup com­pe­ti­tions and whilst they got a open­ing round bye, they will travel to play ei­ther Forces side SCOTS Ca­manachd or the Bute sec­onds in the next round.

The Glenurquhart re­serves and Bole­sk­ine were also given first round byes and they meet at Blair­beg in the sec­ond round.

Bul­lough Cup Draw - pre­view

2016 Bul­lough Cup hold­ers Tay­forth play in the Bal­liemore Cup so they won’t have the opportunity to de­fend their tro­phy.

Last year’s run­ners-up Kil­mory open with the visit of SCOTS Ca­manachd to MacRae Park. The even­tual win­ners will travel to the Win­ter­ton to play the In­ver­aray sec­onds who got a first round bye.

The Aber­dour re­serves and Lochside Rovers both re­ceived open­ing round byes and will meet at Sil­ver­sands in the quar­ter fi­nals.

The English Shinty As­so­ci­a­tion will be ex­cited about a trip to Tighnabru­aich to face the Kyles colts.

Oban Lorn have home ad­van­tage against Dunoon with the vic­tors away to Stra­chur or Glas­gow Mid Ar­gyll re­serves. The win­ners will travel to the Mead­ows to take on Bute re­serves.

Strathdearn Cup Draw - pre­view

Lochcar­ron open their Strathdearn Cup de­fence with a sec­ond round tie against the Kin­gussie sec­ond team.

The Fort Wil­liam sec­onds were one of only four clubs given a first round tie and they should be too strong for Caith­ness at An Aird. The win­ners will host the Kin­lochshiel sec­onds.

The other first round tie gives the Beauly sec­onds home ad­van­tage against Glen­garry. The win­ners will host the Glenurquhart sec­ond team in the sec­ond round with Fort Wil­liam, Caith­ness or Kin­lochshiel await­ing in the quar­ter fi­nals.

The Lochaber sec­onds or Lewis Ca­manachd will be at home to New­ton­more or Lo­vat sec­onds in the last eight of the com­pe­ti­tion.

The Strath­glass or In­ver­ness colts will be at home to Bole­sk­ine or the Skye Ca­manachd sec­ond team at the same stage of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Pre-sea­son fix­tures

Some early pre-sea­son friendlies took place on Saturday Jan­uary 28. Aber­dour P Fort Wil­liam P Fort Wil­liam were due to travel to Sil­ver­sands to play Aber­dour. How­ever heavy overnight rain meant the match had to be post­poned so the pitch wasn’t dam­aged ahead of the new shinty sea­son.

Lisa MacColl’s Aber­dour squad host Marine Har­vest Pre­mier­ship new-boys Glas­gow Mid Ar­gyll at the same venue this Saturday, whilst Fort Wil­liam will be at home to Kyles Ath­letic in the Drew Fer­gu­son Me­mo­rial Cup match. Beauly 3 Aberdeen Uni­ver­sity 3 A Beauly side hosted Aberdeen Uni­ver­sity in a noon throw-up at Brae­view Park and the con­test ended in an en­ter­tain­ing 3-3 draw. A Jack Mac­Don­ald dou­ble and a Calum Mor­ri­son goal counted for Beauly whilst Ewen Fraser, a Jamie Beaton penalty and a Gre­gor Cush­nie goal, with the Lochcar­ron player guest­ing to make up the Aberdeen 12, earned the stu­dents a draw. In­ver­ness 0 Kin­lochshiel 8 Boss John­ston Gill got his sec­ond spell at ’Shiel off to a suc­cess­ful start with a com­pre­hen­sive 8- 0 win over In­ver­ness in their 1pm throw-up at the Bught Park out­side pitch.

Kin­lochshiel went in front in the open­ing minute cour­tesy of a low John MacRae shot from just out­side the left of the ‘D’.

Keith MacRae made it 2- 0 with an­other low, mea­sured fin­ish from be­tween the penalty spot and the edge of the ‘D’, beat­ing the keeper on his right side.

Keith MacRae then saw a shot come off the post af­ter a sweep­ing move on 15 min­utes.

A cou­ple of min­utes later, Fin­lay MacRae burst for­ward from mid­field and sprinted up the ’Shiel right wing, but he was brought crash­ing to the ground by Davie Glass which earned the In­ver­ness man a tick­ing off from ref­eree Calum Gir­van.

The free hit was played across goal.

The home back-line passed up chances to clear the dan­ger and Keith MacRae pun­ished them with a low strike into the net at the back post.

The home side’s first real threat at goal came when young­ster Wil­liam MacK­in­non shot from the right but ’Shiel keeper Scott Kennedy made a good save at the ex­pense of a cor­ner.

‘Shiel con­jured up a de­light­ful goal to make it 4- 0. Keith MacRae crossed the ball in from the left and a su­perb Jor­dan Fraser touch teed the ball up per­fectly for John MacRae to strike the ball home.

The pat­tern of play con­tin­ued with the vis­i­tors do­ing most of the press­ing. Dun­can ‘DA’ MacRae made an im­me­di­ate im­pact when he played a onetwo with John MacRae be­fore scor­ing with a con­fi­dent fin­ish from the left.

John MacRae com­pleted his hat-trick, net­ting from a re­bound off the keeper, to make it 6- 0.

Dun­can Mathe­son scored the goal of the game when he col­lected the ball on the ’Shiel right and crashed it into the roof of the net, giv­ing keeper Loades no chance.

A neat turn and shot from Alas­dair Nixon de­served a goal but the ball flew past the post and it re­mained 7- 0.

Scott Kennedy had to stretch low to his right to turn away a Wil­liam MacK­in­non shot and, fol­low­ing an In­ver­ness set-piece af­ter MacK­in­non had been im­peded, Scott Kennedy did well to clear his lines.

’Shiel im­me­di­ately broke for­ward and Alas­dair Nixon ran through the heart of the home de­fence be­fore slot­ting the ball into the net to round off the 8- 0 win. Oban Celtic 4 Taynuilt 0 Oban Celtic beat Taynuilt 4- 0 in their 12.30pm throw up at Moss­field.

New sign­ings An­drew Hunt and Ful­ton Ron­ald were given a run out from a 19- player Oban Celtic squad but new cap­ture from Oban Ca­manachd, Ross MacMil­lan, was un­avail­able.

Ally McKer­racher, Iain Mack­ech­nie, Scott Bur­nett and Daniel Madej got the goals in what was a good work- out for Kenny Wother­spoon’s side.

Shinty ac­tion this Saturday

There are a num­ber of pre­sea­son friendlies sched­uled for Saturday Fe­bru­ary 4.

In­cluded in the week­end games are Oban Ca­manachd’s meet­ing with In­ver­aray at Moss­field, Lochside Rovers and Oban Lorn clash­ing at Gana­van, Fort Wil­liam and hold­ers Kyles Ath­letic meet­ing at An Aird for the Drew Fer­gu­son Me­mo­rial Tro­phy and New­ton­more tak­ing on Lochaber at the Ei­lan.

Bade­noch and Strath­spey lift John­stone Rose Bowl

Bade­noch and Strath­spey Ladies lifted the John­stone Rose Bowl at the Ne­vis Cen­tre, Fort Wil­liam, on Saturday Jan­uary 28.

Skye Ca­manachd had won the tour­na­ment for the pre­vi­ous three years and won through to the fi­nal again.

Bade­noch topped their fiveteam group stage, only drop­ping one point in the process.

Bade­noch then beat Glen­garry A 10-3 in the semi-fi­nals to set up a fi­nal with Skye.

The match fin­ished 5-5 at the end of the reg­u­la­tion time so an ex­tra four min­utes was needed to sep­a­rate the teams. There was still plenty drama be­fore Bade­noch even­tu­ally ran out 7- 6 vic­tors.

Bade­noch’s Kirsty Deans was named player of the tour­na­ment.

The John­stone Rose Bowl was do­nated to the Glen­garry Girls Shinty Club in 1998 - a year af­ter the team was formed - by Mrs Ailsa John­stone of DA John­stone & Son Con­trac­tors, In­ver­garry, who have been loyal spon­sors ever since.

Oban Ca­manachd and Lochside Rovers set pre-sea­son pro­gramme

Oban Ca­manachd and Lochside Rovers have con­firmed their fi­nal pre-sea­son pro­gramme.

On Saturday Fe­bru­ary 4, Marine Har­vest Na­tional Di­vi­sion side In­ver­aray visit Moss­field to play Oban Ca­manachd. On the same day, Marine Har­vest South Di­vi­sion 1 side Lochside Rovers and Oban Lorn from the league be­low meet at Gana­van. Oban Ca­manachd and Lochside Rovers will play the Kyles Ath­letic first and sec­ond teams a week later and these games will now take place at Gana­van. The Oban Ca­manachd squad travel to Can­nich on Saturday Fe­bru­ary 18 to play Strath­glass, a new ad­di­tion to the Marine Har­vest Na­tional Di­vi­sion. Lochside Rovers are also in ac­tion that day against the New­ton­more sec­ond team at Gana­van.

Fi­nally, on Saturday Fe­bru­ary 25, Lochside Rovers will host the In­ver­aray sec­ond team at Gana­van.

Glenurquhart pre­pare for 2017

The Glenurquhart first and sec­ond teams have con­firmed their pre-sea­son matches ahead of the 2017 cam­paign.

In the first of four home matches against Marine Har­vest Na­tional Di­vi­sion op­po­si­tion, new Glenurquhart first team man­ager Iain MacLeod will get a chance to see his troops in ac­tion when Caber­feidh visit Blair­beg on Saturday Fe­bru­ary 4.

The ‘Glen’ sec­onds will play the Cabers sec­onds at Cas­tle Leod the same day.

The ‘Glen’ firsts fol­low that up with an­other home match a week later, this time against Beauly, whilst the re­serves travel to play their Fort Wil­liam coun­ter­parts at An Aird.

There are home and away meet­ings with Skye Ca­manachd on Saturday Fe­bru­ary 18 with the first teams clash­ing at Blair­beg.

Glenurquhart round the month off with their an­nual Mac­Don­ald Cup and Ali Ban Cup der­bies against Strath­glass tak­ing place at Blair­beg on Saturday Fe­bru­ary 25.

In­ver­ness line up top friendlies

In­ver­ness have lined up four more pre-sea­son friendly matches – all against Marine Har­vest Pre­mier­ship op­po­si­tion.

Hav­ing lost 8- 0 to Kin­lochshiel at the Bught Park out­side pitch last Saturday, Drew McNeil’s Marine Har­vest Na­tional Di­vi­sion will play the same op­po­nents on Saturday Fe­bru­ary 4 in the High­land cap­i­tal.

Newly-pro­moted pre­mier­ship side Kil­mallie visit the Bught Park a week later.

There will be a meet­ing with New­ton­more at the Ei­lan on Saturday Fe­bru­ary 18 fol­lowed by Lochaber at the Bught Park on the fi­nal Saturday of the month.

Don­nie Ross, Kin­gussie

Kin­gussie lost one of their most fa­mous cap­tains when Don­nie Ross passed away peace­fully at his home at Leault Farm on Sun­day Jan­uary 22.

Don­nie Ross cap­tained the Kin­gussie team which lifted the 1961 Ca­manachd Cup, beat­ing Oban Celtic 2-1 at the King Ge­orge V Park, Fort Wil­liam.

He also rep­re­sented the club with dis­tinc­tion through the 1950s and 1960s.

Don­nie is sur­vived by his wife Mar­garet, sons Don­nie, Neil, Peter and Dun­can and daugh­ter Aeleen, and his fu­neral took place at Kin­gussie Par­ish Church on Mon­day Jan­uary 30 with the in­ter­ment at Leault Farm.

Oban Celtic’s Andy Mac­Don­ald, right, takes on team­mate John Hill who ‘guested’ for Taynuilt in the pre-sea­son friendly at Moss­field last Saturday.

Photo: Don­ald Cameron

In­ver­ness player Ruairidh MacKay gets to the ball be­fore Kin­lochshiel’s Ali Nixon dur­ing last week­end’s pre-sea­son friendly match.

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