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Try raking grass as a pre-match warm-up

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Gary Innes | 16:45 UK time, Monday, 16 August 2010

I have a strange question for you all this week - how fast does your grass grow?

The reason I ask is that Fort William's match against Glasgow Mid Argyll at An Aird almost didn't take place on Saturday because the pitch was unplayable.

On Thursday at training the grass was six inches long in places, which made any stick and ball drills almost impossible.

On contacting the council, the club was told the grass had been cut just three days before and therefore would not need cut before the game at the weekend.

So in Fort William's playing fields the grass, evidently, can grow up to two inches a day.

Does anyone know if this is a record? If so, please could someone contact BBC Radio Scotland's The Potting Shed so Fort William Council can be commended on their grass-growing abilities.

mower_595_sns.jpgFort William's shinty players can only dream of the lawn-tending facilities at Hampden. Photo: SNS.

The predicament of Fort William's tall grass resulted in one of the Fort players, James Clark, phoning a friend with a sit-on mower. James and manager Peter MacIntyre were up at 6am and set off in a van with a 120-mile round trip ahead of them to collect the game-saving mower.

This meant we would be fortunate enough to get the field in playable condition for the match. What wasn't so lucky was that the sit-on mower did not have a grass collector.

Therefore our rigorous hour-long warm-up before the match consisted of raking and collecting the grass, and carting it off the field. It was hardly the ideal preparation for the match but there can be no better exercise for team bonding than a good old grass collection session.

Meanwhile, Newtonmore kept their place at the top of the Scottish Hydro Premier League after a 3-1 home win over Bute. A Danny Macrae double and one from Jamie Robinson was enough to keep Newtonmore ahead of Hector Whitelaw's only strike for Bute.

Glenurquhart gained a valuable point when they drew 2-2 at Drumnadrochit against Inveraray. Two quick goals from Grant Griffin had the Argyll men in the driving seat, before Neale Reid levelled the score with a double of his own.

Kingussie kept their league title chances alive with a 1-0 win over struggling Oban Camanachd. Oban travelled with only their starting 12 and no substitutes, but they ran the Badenoch champs to the wire.

Barry Dallas was the difference between the clubs with his 35th-minute strike for Kings.

After last meeting the city slickers and Fort winning 14-0, GMA arrived this time at An Aird with very different tactics. This consisted with them playing only two forwards and six defenders. This on other occasions may not have been so effective, but Fort forwards really struggled to create chances with so many defenders. This was excellent tactics from the Glasgow managers and frustrated the Fort forwards and management.

Victor Smith put Fort ahead after only four minutes, with no further goals until Innes Macmillan levelled GMA on 40 minutes. Each attack in the second half was met with even more of GMA defenders.

The Fort management decided to push the midfield and defence line up and mark man for man. This proved fruitful very quickly, and James Clark had the ball in the net on 70 minutes. Two goals from myself, and a further goal from Clark, eventually sealed a 5-1 victory.

It wasn't the prettiest game in the world to watch. However, Glasgow did a sterling job of keeping Fort at bay for much of the game.

The Artemis Macaulay Cup Final takes place this Saturday at Mossfield, Oban. Last year's champs, Inveraray, look to keep their crown against North finalists Kingussie. Both teams have been in form of late.

However, Inveraray's Camanachd Cup exit and draw against Glenurquhart at the weekend will have knocked them out their stride a little.

Kingussie, on the other hand, drew with Lovat, and narrowly beat Oban Camanachd in their previous two fixtures, thus making it very tight. With the fast pace of both teams and superb strike force, this is sure to be another classic final.

Fort William get the opportunity to catch up on previous fixtures, with the only Premier League scheduled match, against Kyles Athletic. This is a must-win game for Fort if they are to continue to keep the pressure on Newtonmore for top spot.

If Fort William win, this will take them to joint top with a game in hand, however if Kyles win this will see them leapfrog Kingussie into fourth place.


  • Comment number 1.

    You have forgotten that Kings 2nd last game was a Camanachd semi win (6v2) against kyles and Inverary come off there semi defeated after extra time. I think Inverary aren't as vibrant as they have been in previous seasons( with the exception of Grant Griffin) and Kingussie have really came on this year particularly in defence.Ronald Ross will thrive on Mossfield again and Kingussie will deploy the tactics that saw them win the MacAuley semi and Camanachd semi. It will be interesting to see how Inverary combat this.. Moving on to the grass problems at An Aird it seems that this time last year there was an issue with the grass not growing at all so what a dramatic turnaround and it would be great to see An Aird back in green rather than yellow. Perhaps its the new strips you have at the Fort that is causing all this unexpected growth as I certainly need dark glasses when you take to the park.

  • Comment number 2.

    what a cup final on saturday two great teams but how do you stop that man ronald ross? great to see good some decent sport on the bbc roll on the next cup final!

  • Comment number 3.

    Agree with comment 2, always good to see a real man's game on TV! And with that in mind I wanted to ask if the BBC has rights to the Composite Rules match this year, given that it's an away fixture for Scotland?


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