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Lovat hit the top as shinty warms up for MacTavish final

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Gary Innes | 21:54 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Lovat have rocked the shinty world by beating last year's champions Newtonmore to top the Orion Group Premiership.

And they did it in style, thumping three past 'More with no reply for the second time this

Duncan Davidson struck before the break and Fraser Gallagher added a second-half double as Lovat now sit one point clear of the chasing pack.

In the only other league fixture, Kilmallie crashed in a whopping 10 goals against Bute at the Canal Park, with Michael Rodgers bagging four.

It was the Artemis Macaulay Cup quarter-finals on Saturday for most of the remaining Premiership clubs.

Inveraray made light work of Glasgow Mid Argyll in Glasgow with a 5-0 win. Grant Crawford helped himself to four, with Garry MacPherson claiming the other goal.

Glenurquhart also progressed to the semi-finals when they pushed out Kingussie 3-1. 'Glen stormed ahead by three goals through James MacPherson and a Neale Reid double, with Ronald Ross pulling one back.

Fort William welcomed Kinlochshiel to the Black Parks and didn't disappoint the home support.

The last couple of weeks have been a real struggle to field players through a variety of reasons. However, with only two missing, boss Peter Macintyre had an easier job.

Fort also knew that this was realistically the last throw of the dice for their 2012 season.

MacTavish Cup final captains, John Mackenzie (Newtonmore) and Gary's brother Hugh Innes (Lochaber)

MacTavish Cup final captains, John Mackenzie (Newtonmore) and Gary's brother Hugh Innes (Lochaber) - pic: Neil G Paterson

I opened the scoring and claimed another after a Brian Simpson goal to send us 3-0 up inside 20 minutes.

But Fort were punished for taking their foot off the gas, with Duncan Macrae scoring twice before the interval.

Both teams knew the next goal was crucial, and fortunately it fell my way once more on 57 minutes and it seemed to knock the wind out of the Wester Ross men's sails.

Gordy Mackinnon made it five, shortly after and the last goal of the game came from the penalty spot.

I stepped up and hit it sweet as I could, as keeper Graham Kennedy seemed to move his head towards to ball. Thankfully, it only nipped his ear on the way past.

Kennedy has previous form in this area, famously winning the Balliemore Cup final for Kinlochshiel against Lochaber two years ago when he saved the last strike in a penalty shoot-out with his face!

With over 50,000 YouTube views, the hardy Highlander can be seen barely flinching. A broken cheek bone and eating through a straw was nothing to the big fella, just another day at the office.

The MacTavish Cup final will be the main focus for this coming weekend in the
shinty calendar.

Newtonmore and Lochaber will battle it out for the first silverware of the season.

Lochaber can create another chapter in their club's history, with this being the first senior final they have reached in their current form.

Brae Lochaber, the amalgamation of Roy Bridge and Spean Bridge, won the MacTavish Cup in 1922/25/33. The "new look" Lochaber Camanachd was formed in 1946.

I'm very proud to say my little brother Hughie Innes leads out the village of Spean Bridge, and Lochaber out on this historic day. With over four coaches and many, many more making there own way to the Bught Parks in Inverness, it's sure to be one of the best attended MacTavish finals in years.

Newtonmore, who haven't been firing all cylinders of late, are missing hit man Danny Macrae, but will still go into this final as favourites.

The sides have not met each other in over two seasons so it will be interesting to see how Lochaber manager Michael Delaney, and 'More's Norman (Brick) MacArthur, line up against each other.

You can watch all the action live from the Bught Parks in Inverness, on BBC ALBA, from 4pm this Saturday. Who is your money on?

Elsewhere, the last remaining Artemis Macaulay Cup semi-final spot is up for grabs when Oban Camanachd take on Bute at Mossfield.


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