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Stick-stealing and thrills aplenty on cup weekend

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Gary Innes | 17:09 UK time, Monday, 23 April 2012

It was Shinty's quarter-final weekend in the Co-operative MacTavish Cup, and the AJG Parcels Celtic Society Cup.

In the south, the big game of the day saw Euan MacMurdo's solitary strike take Inveraray through against rivals Kyles Athletics.

Aberdour also progressed after a penalty shoot-out against Kilmory and they will be joined by Bute who brushed aside Oban Camanachd 3-1, while Taynuilt beat Oban Celtic 3-2.

Up north, Lochaber continue on their unbeaten season when they travelled to Skye and won 4-0. One a piece from Sean Nicholson, Ben Delaney, Zands Ferguson, and Scott Paterson catapults the Spean Bridge men through to meet Kingussie, who saw off Kilmallie 3-1 at the Canal Parks.

Martin Dallas, Fraser Munro and Ronald Ross all netted for the Badenoch club.

Beauly's quarter-final against Glenurquhart was postponed due to poor weather.

Newtonmore got the better of Fort William in the MacTavish Cup

Newtonmore got the better of Fort William in the MacTavish Cup (pic: Neil G Paterson Photography)

Fort William gave up their home advantage against Newtonmore and decided to swap their tie to a neutral venue, that being Invergarry. This decision was taken by the Fort management as they felt this year's interim 'Black Parks' field is too short and narrow for their style of play.

Newtonmore were however 1-0 up on myself before we had even reached the field!

I had made my way over to be collected at Spean Bridge Shop and left my shinty bag and stick outside against the wall as I entered the store. This is something we have done since children, after our caman's were banned from being allowed in the shop after an incident with a 'Smarties' display years earlier.

On returning to my bag only moments later, I found my stick had mysteriously vanished!

This was no great surprise to me, as I had only spoken to Newtonmore forward, Glen Macintosh, as he was leaving the shop seconds earlier with mischief written all over his face.

I was fully expecting not to see my stick again until after the cup tie, however on arrival at Invergarry, I was reunited with my caman, accompanied by laughs and cheers from players and supporters alike who had heard of the daylight robbery.

The game got under way and at a fast pace and Newtonmore were first to test keeper Paul Mackay with a long range effort which he did extremely well to tip over the bar.

After 20 minutes the game was brought to a halt for treatment on Newtonmore defender Rory Kennedy, after a challenge with myself. As we tussled, I saw the ball clearly and swung, but Rory repositioned his foot to block the ball.

Our fixture was the featured game of the week to be filmed by the Camanachd, I'm not sure if this is a blessing or a curse. I'll update you when the video evidence becomes available but, thankfully, the referee agreed with me.

'Stick stealer Macintosh' disagreed with referee Billy Wotherspoon's decision, was set aside for a quiet word and all of a sudden a red card was produced.

As the game continued, there was a growing number of silly and some fairly hefty challenges.

The 11-man team opened the scoring through a clever, straight-off-the-training-ground free hit, as Danny MacRae smashed the ball pasted Mackay.

Only moments earlier, MacKay had denied MacRae with a terrific penalty save.

Fort William continued to play with an extra defender until the last 10 minutes, when Duncan Rodgers was pushed up to the forward line. With only three minutes remaining, Rodgers got only a sniff of a chance, and blasted the ball low into the bottom corner to level.

Extra-time followed and the game raced from end-to-end.

With only three minutes of extra time remaining, both managers had sharpened their pencils to note their five penalty takers, but Newtonmore wing centre Paul MacArthur popped up and hit the ball through a ruck of players into the net for the winner.

Despite it being a heated game it wasn't long before both sets of players were at the bar getting the craic the way any real sport should be.

The only Orion Group Premier fixture saw Lovat this time travel to Balmacara to face Kinlochiel for the second consecutive week.

After a 3-3 share of the spoils last weekend, it was Lovat who collected both points with a 4-3 win.

Ryan Ferguson opened the scoring for the Kiltarlity men, followed by a Greg Matheson hat-trick to finish the day's tally, while Kinlochshiel searched for an equaliser after a Duncan ach Macrae double and single strike from Keith Macrae.

Beauly and Glenurquhart hope to play their MacTavish Cup quarter-final tie this weekend, knowing the winner meets Newtonmore.

In the Orion Group Premiership, Kinlochshiel take on Bute at home, Kyles Athletic face Kilmallie, while Kingussie have home advantage over Inveraray.

Lovat make their way down the A82 to Fort William in the first of the two clubs meetings this season.

Lovat have had a remarkable start to the 2012 season, and sit in their highest ever ranking in joint second place alongside Kinlochshiel. Fort William,who lost their last league fixture at home to Glenurquhart, will be determined not lose any more points at home. It should be a cracker...


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