Camanachd Cup fever is hotting up
The Scottish Hydro Camanachd Cup was all that was on everyone's Shinty mind on Saturday, with places up for grabs in the quarter-finals.
Newtonmore sailed through 5-1 against Glenorchy, as did Inveraray 7-3 against Lochaber. Oban Camanachd beat GMA 5-0, while Kingussie turned over Strathglass 6-0.
Three games went to extra-time, and last years finalists, Kyles, pipped Bute 3-2 on penalties. Glenurquhart squeezed Lovat out 2-1 and Skye 3-2 over Kilmallie.
Kinlochshiel came to Fort William looking to book a place in the last eight, and they very nearly did.
With brothers, Adam and Neil Robertson unavailable, Fort William looked a little shaky at the back, and the fast Shiel forwards started to find space. Three minutes in, and the visitors had scored through Keith MacRae. Shiel's second came minutes later from Neil Fraser, as the travelling support cheered loudly around An Aird.
Brian Simpson pulled one back on 21 minutes and that's how it stood at half time, following some outstanding saves from Greame Kennedy in the Kinlochshiel goal.
Three minutes into the second half, and a stunning half volley from Neil Fraser put the men in red and white ahead by two again.
At this point I think most thought this was not going to be our day. We pushed and pushed, each time met by the inspired goalie, like a brick wall, there was no way of getting through.
John MacDonald finally made the breakthrough and the wall started to crumble. Two from Victor Smith and a goal from myself saw Fort win 5-3.
Kinlochshiel were gritty opponents and it needed a really spirited display to see them off.
The Camanachd Cup quarter-final draw took place in Inverness on Monday morning. Calum MacDonald from Runrig was the man to pull the balls from the bag and the ties are as follows:
Kyles v Newtonmore
Glenurquhuart v Kingussie
Inveraray v Skye
Oban Camanachd v Fort William
So, who is looking favourite for the Camanachd Cup this year?
Kyles have started their cup run the hard way, but do they have enough to beat Newtonmore again this year at Tighnabruich? Kingussie have lifted their game after a slow start and Inveraray are scoring goals for fun.
Oban Camanachd are up and down in the league but, as everyone in the game knows, are a great cup team, or will the men from Skye do what they did twenty year's ago in 1990, and lift the trophy?
The boys from the Glen are always very hard at home and Fort William are looking to make it four in a row.
With holidays over the summer, and the inevitable injuries and suspensions to come, is their a cup shock or two to come or are you bold enough to predict a winner this early on?
Looking ahead to this weekend's action in the North, Newtonmore have the chance to go back top of the league, as they play the only Premier game at Lovat.
In the MacTavish Cup semi-finals, Beauly host Kingussie and there is the big Lochaber derby, with Fort William taking on Kilmallie at An Aird.
Kilmallie will have key players back for this weekend's action and would love to turn over their rival neighbours at home.
With Fort looking to continue their form in all competitions, and a huge crowd expected, it's sure to be a cracker, with a place up for grabs in the final, which will be screened live on BBC2 Scotland on 19 June.