Midfield is key to stopping Ross in Camanachd Cup final
After Saturday's results, shinty's Scottish Hydro Premier Division will be decided in the last game of the season. The 2010 league title will come down to every last hit of the ball in what will be a tense finish for both Newtonmore and Fort William. This certainly will be a mouth-watering prospect for both supporters and neutrals alike.
Newtonmore finished their penultimate game 4-0 on Saturday against Inveraray. A hat-trick from Danny Macrae and a single strike from Glen Macintosh helped the Badenoch side to stay top with one game remaining. They will now have to wait three weeks before the final showdown at An Aird.
Some brilliant shinty and goals saw Glengarry's Garry Girls beat Tir Conaill Harps 5-0 to lift the woman's trophy for their second consecutive year. Well done also to Eilean Wink, who picked up the player of the match award. From past experience, these girls know how to party and I'm sure the village of Invergarry will have a few great stories to tell on Monday morning.
It was a must-win game for both Fort William and Oban Camanachd. Fort William needed both points to keep the pressure on Newtonmore, while Oban needed two points to help with their relegation battle.
In front of a large home support, Oban took the lead through Iain MacMillan on 31 minutes and continued to put pressure on the Fort defence. Brian Simpson then scored just before half time to level the tie at the break.
This was Brian's first game back since breaking his hand in the Camanachd Cup semi-final.
Fort William started the second half with more zest and, after 58 minutes, I had managed to slip the ball past the Oban goalkeeper to put Fort in the lead. It took until the 80th minute before the next goal was scored, when James Clark laid off a great ball to myself and I fired it home to seal the win for Fort.
Goals for Eddie Tembo, Calum Millar, and an unfortunate own goal from Bute's Iain Macdonald saw the islander's head home with nothing.
Robert Walker managed to pull one back for Bute, but the match finished Glenurquhart 3, Bute 1.
Kingussie picked themselves up after last weekend defeat, putting Lovat to the sword 6-1. A Ronald Ross hat0trick followed by two from James Hutchison and one from Thomas Bothwick did all the damage. Euan Ferguson scoring Lovat's only goal.
Looking ahead to this weekend, it's the biggest day of the year for shinty. The coveted Camanachd Cup final takes place this Saturday at The Bught Parks, Inverness. This year's final will be contested between old rivals, Kingussie and Fort William.
Fort William, holders of the cup for the past three years, will we hoping for a club record four. However, Kingussie will have very different ideas.
I think if you asked Kings manager Stevie Bothwick at the start of the year what his ideal season would be, I'm not even sure he would have been bold enough to say what he has already achieved, never mind adding a Scottish Cup-winning medal to that collection. Stevie's transformation of swapping young for old was something he felt was overdue within Kingussie, but I'm not sure anyone thought finals would all come so quickly for them.
Of course, they have the man that every shinty player hates to see - Ronald Ross. I mean this in the nicest possible way of course. Off the park, a nicer man you will not meet - on the park, a goal machine that will make you and your team's scoreline a laughing stock if not controlled immediately.
Saturday's big final for Fort William will be about cutting off the supply to Ronald and the other Kings forwards. This will best be achieved throughout the midfield and, whichever team wins the battle of the centre line, I believe will win the final.
Fort William, in their eighth consecutive final, know exactly what the day is about, having won and lost on many occasions. Nerves will play a huge part for the younger Kingussie boys against a vastly experienced Fort William side. However, their eagerness to win and abundance of ability makes this final impossible to call.
So who do you think will lift this year's Camanachd Cup? Will it be the older, experienced Fort William, or will it be the mix of youth and experience from Kingussie?
You can catch the final this Saturday live from 2pm on BBC2 Scotland and on Radio Scotland from the same time.