Shinty weathering a fixtures storm
With the Scottish Hydro Premier League crawling to a finish, both the Kilmallie v Newtonmore and Kyles Athletic v Inveraray matches were rescheduled to neutral venues, as their own fields were unplayable.
This has been something of a sore point for clubs and Camanachd Assosiation alike over the years, with the season often drifting well into November, and even, on occasions, December.
In a perfect-weathered shinty world, the season should run from March to September and finish up shortly after the Camanachd cup final.
Up until just now the by-law states that a club does not have to travel to a neutral venue unless agreed by both parties.
However, I can foresee the Camanachd Assosciation changing this rule very soon and making it compulsory, to try and wrap up remaining games more quickly towards the end of season.
Some shinty fields are literally unplayable from September onwards, so, if the Camanachd were to introduce this new rule, we may see the season finish sharper than ever before.
It was Fort William Shinty Club's annual day out on Saturday.
Each year we do something different to wrap up the season, and it was decided by manager Peter Macintyre this year that we were going to an indoor karting arena in Livingston.
As you can imagine, the three hour bus drive to Livingstone was helped along a little with a hip flask or two, so, when the bus did arrive at the karting, there were a few that possibly would have failed the breath test.
After some bashes, crashes, and one or two driving like Miss Daisy, we headed off in search of a local hostelry.
After a great afternoon and a few unrepeatable stories, I bid farewell to the boys as I headed for Glasgow, as the bus sped to a karaoke bar in Callander.
With black bin liners in hand instead of pee stops and a chippy for dinner, it was the perfect way to end our 2011 season.
Now to the shinty.
All eyes were on Glasgow as Inveraray and Kyles Athletic were moved to Yoker to possibly fulfil Inveraray's last Premier fixture.
'Rary' were under no illusion, they had to take something from this match if they were to stand a chance of Premier survival.
Kyles Athletic, who have topped the league all season, also needed to win this game if they were to continue on this potential historic year for the club.
With every avid shinty fan glued to twitter and facebook, the tweets started to filter through that Inveraray were off to a flyer with goals from Garry MacPherson and Russell Macinlay.
Roddy MacDonald had pulled one back for Kyles before the break with Robbie MacLeod levelling the tie with an hour gone.
Garry MacPherson then put Inveraray back in front from the spot, before '2011 Player of the Year' Roddy Macdonald found an equalizer for the Tighnabruaich men to finish the scoring.
The result will be a bitter disappointment for Kyles Athletic, who must now beat Newtonmore if they are to be crowned Premier Champions for the first time.
For Inveraray, however, the draw was just what was needed to give themselves a fighting chance of Premier survival.
Newtonmore and Kilmallie met at the Dell, (home of 'More's deadly rivals, Kingussie) to battle out their tie.
Newtonmore knew only a win would do to keep alive the hopes of retaining their 2010 league crown in their penultimate game.
There was no need for their fans to worry, however, after a Glen Macintosh hat-trick, followed by strikes from Steven Macdonald, David Cheyne, and Danny Macrae, handed them a 6-0 victory.
The result means Newtonmore sit top of the Premier, although Kyles have one game in hand over them.
The only Premier tie to take place this weekend will see Kilmallie face Lovat.
Lovat are also toiling in the relegation zone and must look to gain both points from this fixture if they want to remain in the top flight.