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Unplayable pitches - is it fair to switch grounds?

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Gary Innes | 15:06 UK time, Monday, 12 March 2012

The Camanachd Association's new rule, that allows them to decide that a game should be played at a neutral park if the home team's field is unplayable, struck at the weekend.

Fort William and Kinlochshiel both had to travel to Kiltarlity, the home ground of Lovat to fulfil their fixture.

Both home and away fields were unplayable so the Camanachd took the decision to move the game to a neutral venue to prevent a backlog of games.

Do you think this is a good way of preventing a backlog, or do you feel you should be allowed to wait until your home field is playable?

To the Orion Group Premiership match itself, Kinlochshiel would have been pumped after last week's debut win against Kingussie and they were on the score sheet after just 15 minutes through Gordy MacDonald.

Aaron Macphee, who I praised last week, celebrated his 16th birthday on Monday, and scored Fort's equaliser on 75minutes.

There was, however, to be no winner with both clubs having to settle for a share of the points.

Aerial combat between Inveraray's Douglas Dando and John Barr of Glenurquhart during the Orion Premiership game at Blairbeg. Photo: Neil Paterson

Aerial combat between Inveraray's Douglas Dando and John Barr of Glenurquhart during the Orion Premiership game at Blairbeg. Photo: Neil Paterson

Another game affected by unplayable pitches involved last year's league champions Newtonmore, who got themselves their first points with a 4-0 home win against Bute. This game was switched from Rothesay on Thursday as Bute's home field was not in a playable state.

Glen Macintosh opened the scoring for 'More, followed by a David Cheyne double, finished by a last-second strike from Chris Sellar.

Lovat have started to emerge as the dominant force, having been the only club to have won both games, with North newbies Kinlochshiel taking second spot.

Lovat had to travel to Kilmallie for their two points, and Greg Matheson was once more on form to open the score for the Kiltarlity men.

Kilmallie's John Stewart, who celebrated being a father a day or so before, crashed home an equaliser before half-time from the penalty spot.

Lovat's Owen Ferguson, however, snatched the winner halfway through the second half to claim both points, and another great away victory for Lovat.

Andrew MacMurdo's single strike was enough to take both points for Inveraray against travelling Glenurquhart.

Kingussie's Craig Dawson was the unlikely hat-trick hero for Kingussie and they set aside Kyles Athletic 3-1. Dunkie Kerr did manage to get his name on the score sheet for Kyles but the Tighnabruaich men could not find the fire power that catapulted them through last season.

I have blogged before about ways to get more people playing or watching shinty, and it gives me great pleasure to inform you that 'Shinty' has its very own 'YouTube' channel.

Each week Norman Strachan and his crew travel all over the country to capture a game, edit, and upload the highlights.

This is a fantastic outlet for our sport and I urge you, if you have never watched a game before, to nip on to the site to catch some of the latest action.

Looking ahead to this week's fixtures,

Bute welcome Kilmallie, while Kyles host Glenurquhart at Tighnabruaich.

Newtonmore face Kinlochshiel at the Eilean, which is sure to be a cracker.

Newtonmore will be happier to have picked up both points on Saturday. However, Kinlochshiel will be looking to change that again this weekend. 'Shiel are a very mobile outfit and will look to use the wide open space of the Eilean.

'More manager Brick MacArthur will know he will have his work cut out if he is to take both points from this one, but he also knows if he can stop the Macrae brothers from running the show, he stands a very good chance.

Lovat will be disappointed not to have a game this week after their fine start - however, Inveraray's Andrew MacMurdo's stag party in Benidorm takes precedence for the Argyllshire men.

Knowing Andrew and the 'Rary boys well, I hope the Spanish bar staff have an abundance of vodka, and the locals have been warned to lock up their grannies!

Fort William meet arch old enemies Kingussie at Fort's interim home ground this season, The Black Parks.

Fort's manager Peter Macintyre has seen a huge change to his squad this season and has been forced to draft in the young guns to try and rebuild, after a number of old faces retired at the end of last season.

Both Kingussie and Fort William are in transitional periods and this gives both managers the chance to experiment a little with new players and positions.

Kingussie have had at least a season or two under their belts with their new recruits - it will be interesting to see how the new Fort kids on the block fare against each other.

One thing is for sure, if both clubs can keep their young players progressing, they will undoubtably be seeing a lot more of each other over the coming years.

Safe travels to all clubs and supporters this week, especially to MacMurdo the stag and his party of lunatics.


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