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Midfield is key to stopping Ross in Camanachd Cup final

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Gary Innes | 11:52 UK time, Wednesday, 15 September 2010

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.

Fort William travelled to Oban, for their 5pm start, due to the woman's Valerie Fraser Cup final being played beforehand.

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.

Left to right - Left to right - Stephen Borthwick (Kingussie manager), Barrie Dallas (Kingussie captain), Niall McPhee (Fort William captain) and Peter McIntyre (Fort William manager)

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.

Glenurquhart took on a travelling Bute at Drumnadrochit, where Bute were needing just a point to secure Premier survival.

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.


  • Comment number 1.


    Firstly congratulations on not only winning the C.C but also The Albert Smith medal.

    However - I think for me the interesting factor was going to be whether the young guns of Kingussie or the old gaurd of Fort William were going to win the day. I am sure there are a lot of teams who would like to bleed their youngsters but find it hard to do so at premier league level. Some would argue that having Ronald in your squad allows you the luxury of building a new team. Rumour had it that bleeding youngsters was part of the reason for Drew's departure from The Fort. I noticed both teams brought on experienced players, arguably heading towards the end of their careers rather than youngsters on Saturday. Does this, and Saturday's result, mean The Fort committee were right, or have kingussie done the right thing in rebuilding? It would be interesting to hear your views on this subject?


  • Comment number 2.

    Gary, 2 goals and 1 assist, a worthy winner of man of the match but you were hard pressed by Paul Mackay (18-19 years old) the Fort goalie and Lee Bain who must have the biggest pockets in shinty as Big Jim Clark disappeared into one of them in the second half.... Russel in response to Fort needing to bleed youngsters I firmly believe that the previous manager has and did bleed youngsters that has left Fort in a stronger position than Newtonmore or Kingussie. They may have used Vic smith (who wouldn't) but they have players with premier and cup final experience that are ready to replace the old and trusted. Perhaps that was the last hurrah for James clark, Vic Smith, Adam Robertson and John Macleod but they have Mark Lawrie,Drew Ferguson,Alex Duncan,Stephen Stewart and Daniel Stewart ready to take over and behind them they have a younger group to fill the bench like Doni Walker, Ryan Stewart, Josh Magee and Peter Wood (they also have Premier experience). All these guys are under 23 so the previous manager had an eye on sustainable success in the Camanachd at the expense of inconsistency in the league(his quote). As Russel says "it would be interesting to hear your views" that Russel raised and also my question " as a club, have Fort William built on last year ? or is it a club that works year to year ? "


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