Shinty: Fort William win the Balliemore Cup against Caberfeidh

The victorious Fort William team
The victorious Fort William team

Fort William won the Balliemore Cup for the first time with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win over Caberfeidh after both sides scored four goals in 120 minutes of play at Drumnadrochit.

Although Fort opened early in an uninspiring first 45 minutes, they had to come from behind twice in a final which then steadily built towards a stirring climax.

Newtonmore reduced their deficit on Kyles in the Marine Harvest Premiership to four points with a 3-1 victory at The Eilan, while Kingussie compounded Lochaber's relegation worries with a 5-2 victory on a day when heavy rain took its toll on several games.

In the battle for the Balliemore Cup, shinty's intermediate championship, Jack Fraser gave Fort an early lead with a fine 30-yard shot from the left.

Cabers captain Craig Morrison responded by picking up a ball from the right wing and finding the net with it, only for the goal to be disallowed because the ball had earlier crossed the by-line.

Kevin Bartlett was next to attempt an equaliser but his shot was scrambled away by the Fort defence.

That equaliser did, however, come five minutes into a much more action packed second half when Morrison was given space 20 yards out.

Morrison then put Cabers into a short-lived lead which was cancelled out when Fraser dashed in to claim his own second with a slick shot.

With 15 minutes remaining, Bartlett exploited Fort's defensive confusion to find the net, but the whistle had already gone for a penalty to Cabers which the Scotland international instead used to put his side ahead.

However, Fort William weren't prepared to accept that as a match-winner and Lewis Clark scrambled home the goal which put the final into extra-time.

With the soporific first half now a distant memory, the game moved up yet another gear with Fort dealing better with the fatigue. Calum Shepherd put them ahead in the first period, only for Morrison to send the game to penalties when he completed his hat-trick with only five minutes left of the second.

In an unusually high scoring shoot-out for shinty, a single poorly hit penalty was in the end all that stood between the teams as Fort pulled off their first Balliemore triumph, 25 years after the club lifted the Camanachd Cup for the first time in 1992.

At The Eilan, Glen MacKintosh and Evan Menzies, who was later sent off, gave Newtonmore a 2-0 half time lead over Kyles. Sandy MacKenzie pulled one back before Connor Jones put the points in the bag for the champions. However, the ultimate destiny of the title still remains in Kyles' hands.

A Lee Bain hat-trick laid the foundations of Kingussie's 5-2 victory over Lochaber whose Zands Ferguson and Stuart Callison brought it back to 3-2 before Ruaraidh Anderson and Ryan Borthwick put the game out of sight.

Kingussie are just one point behind Kyles but have played three more games, while Lochaber remain well behind Kilmallie and Glasgow Mid Argyll on goal difference at the bottom, and with more matches played.

Beauly moved into the top half of the National Division with a 3-1 home win over local rivals Strathglass.

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