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Kyles march on, as Kingussie flirt with relegation

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Gary Innes | 18:48 UK time, Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Kyles Athletic took yet another huge leap towards making shinty history after brushing aside Fort William in the Scottish Hydro Premier Division.

The visitors went to Tighnabruaich with many key players unavailable and the league leaders duly punished them, running out 4-1 winners.

Dunky Kerr opened the scoring for the home side, with Michael Slezas replying quickly on his debut senior team appearance. Kyles then controlled the second half with strikes from Thomas Whyte (2), and Gordon Whyte. With only four games remaining, Kyles Athletic sit two points clear of 2010 champions, Newtonmore.

Newtonmore stayed in the race by demolishing local rivals Kingussie 6-1, with goals from Glen Macintosh (2), Danny MacRae, Jamie Robinson and David Cheyne (2).

Young Hamish Anderson was Kingussie's only scorer as manager Stevie Bothwick rested key players ahead of the Camanachd Cup showdown on 17 September.

The Glenorchy v Inveraray, and Kilmallie v Lovat matches were both postponed and will be played on another available date.

Newtonmore demolished Kingussie 6-1

Newtonmore demolished local rivals Kingussie 6-1 at the weekend

Now in all my years playing shinty I never thought I would be discussing the possibility of Kingussie, the Kings of Shinty for the past two decades, being relegated.

Their current form has not been good and if they were to lose against in-form Kyles this Saturday that would conclude a hat-trick of losses in as many weeks. Of course, this is all just hypothetical at the moment. Is it possible the giants of the game could be playing in North Division 1 next year?

Looking ahead to this weekend's other fixtures, Glenorchy play Glenurquhart, while Kilmallie challenge Newtonmore.

Fort William travel to play their last club fixture of 2011 when they face Oban Camanachd and I think this may be the last time we see some of the 'Fort greats' pull a senior jersey over their heads, which for me personally will be very sad.

With 2011 being Fort Williams first dry season since 2003, (not the weather, or the drink, of course), many of the older players I know have contemplated their future.

I think the club's Camanachd Cup success over the last few seasons has played a key part in Fort's ageing players' decisions.

I am not a man who likes change and having looked up to, admired, and enjoyed some of the best days of my life with these guys, it will be difficult to see some of them go.
But, with change comes new challenges, and this may be the boot up the bum Fort William needs, as many of the younger players have never played a senior season and not won a medal.

This barren season will hopefully spur on each individual to find that hunger and desire that we seemed to have lost this year and, fingers crossed, inspire new faces and fresh legs.

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