Shinty: Newtonmore clinch club record sixth straight title

By Charles BannermanBBC Scotland
Newtonmore and Lovat
Newtonmore sealed a sixth straight title with victory over Lovat

Newtonmore gained a club record sixth consecutive Marine Harvest Premiership title with a 3-2 defeat of Camanachd Cup holders Lovat at the Eilan.

After Norman Campbell's double, Newtonmore are now beyond the reach of Kyles Athletic, who beat Inveraray 4-1.

Elsewhere, Oban Camanachd defeated Lochaber 2-0 at Mossfield Park.

Camanachd will consign Kingussie to the relegation play-offs should they win both sides meet on 31 October.

At the Eilan, following a goal-less first half of a game which More only needed to draw, Fraser MacKintosh opened and Campbell made it 2-0.

Kevin Bartlett pulled one back for Lovat but Campbell soon took it to 3-1 before Lovat's second came from Lorne MacKay.

This rendered the outcome of Kyles' game irrelevant. Sandy MacKenzie got a first-half double and Innes MacDonald's in the second was split by a response from Gary MacPherson.

Newtonmore's six-title streak signals a remarkable turnaround in their league fortunes. Even before the Premiership succeeded area competition in 1996, More's best run in the North League, and in the absence of the top South clubs, was their 1975-79 string of five successes.

Newtonmore have won the Marine Harvest Premiership

Apart from Newtonmore's own revival, the other key to these changed fortunes has been the recent decline of Kingussie, who won the North League and then the Premiership in 23 of the 24 seasons before Newtonmore's current resurgence.

Indeed, Kingussie's decline means that, hitherto unthinkably, their Premiership survival is now in increasing doubt.

A Lorn Dickie penalty and a goal from Connor Howe at home to Lochaber still leave Oban Camanachd in the second-bottom relegation play-off place, but now just a point behind Kingussie, and with two games in hand.

And the drama is further heightened with Kingussie now set to play their next and final game away to Camanachd.

A defeat would consign one of the most successful clubs in the history of shinty to a relegation play-off with Kilmallie.