Shinty: Newtonmore poised to retain title

By Charles BannermanBBC Scotland
Beauly's Marc Maclachlan celebrates his goal while Jack Macdonald looks on
Beauly's Marc Maclachlan celebrates his goal while Jack Macdonald looks on

A 1-0 home win over Glenurquhart means that Newtonmore have now all but retained the Orion Premiership trophy, with a goal from Evan Menzies in the 51st minute taking them within touching distance of what would be a third consecutive title.

And it looks more and more as if Lochaber will be joining them in the top tier as Marine Harvest North Division 1 champions, while another victory for already promoted Oban Camanachd allowed them to home in on completing their South Division 1 programme undefeated.

With one game apiece still to play - Newtonmore away to Glenurquhart and Kyles Athletic at Inveraray - Newtonmore head Kyles by two points and, vitally, also have a huge goal advantage of 13.

So only a turnround of unthinkable proportions later this month, after Kyles have also played Inveraray on Saturday 15 September in the Scottish Hydro Camanachd Cup final at Oban, would prevent that league trophy from staying in Badenoch.

And all this in a season in which there have been four different finalists in the two national knockouts and it now looks as if a fifth team will land this league honour.

However, Newtonmore manager Norman MacArthur is refusing to cross any bridges.

"These two points against Glenurquhart were a must," he said. "We had to get a win at home to put us into the position where Kyles now have to rely on goal difference and a big turnround to win the league.

"But they're capable of doing it, so you just can't take it for granted.

"It's definitely not in the bag and, until it's mathematically certain, we can't assume anything."

Kinlochshiel and Bute, both promoted last season, met in Rothesay and Shiel went 2-0 up with a goal in each half from Keith MacRae.

But, although Bute are already relegated, they didn't give up and departed to the area leagues with a point when one from Roberto Zavaroni then a penalty from Hector Whitelaw made the final score 2-2.

Lochaber are now top of North Division 1 and odds on to win the title and promotion after a 6-3 defeat of Caberfeidh at Strathpeffer, while rivals Skye lost 2-1 in Beauly (pictured). Sean Nicholson got four in 12 minutes for Lochaber.

South Division 1 champions Oban Camanachd, their return to the Premiership already guaranteed, homed in on completing their programme undefeated when Aiden MacIntyre gave them a 1-0 away win over Glasgow Mid Argyll in their penultimate match. In 13 games so far, only a 3-3 draw against Taynuilt last month spoils Camanachd's 100% record.

The women's Valerie Fraser Cup is heading for Fife after Aberdour's 4-3 win over Glengarry at Strachur, while Lochaber's women also beat Strathglass 5-4 to secure the Marine Harvest Challenge Cup.

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