Bute Shinty Club’s first team fell at the first hurdle of the Artemis Macaulay Cup on Saturday after a 3-2 home defeat to local rivals Kyles Athletic - but the islanders were far from outclassed by their Premiership visitors.
James Craig coolly fired Bute in front with ten minutes on the clock, and though Roddy MacDonald bundled in the equaliser midway through the half, a superb solo run and neat finish from Robert Walker put the hosts ahead for a second time to make a cup shock a distinct possibility.
Bute keeper Kevin Queen pulled off a superb stop to keep out Robbie MacLeod’s penalty for Kyles on 39 minutes, but on the stroke of half-time MacDonald pulled the Tighnabruaich men level once more.
And a deep cross from the right found MacDonald in just enough space at the far post to turn and shoot into the top corner to complete his hat-trick 12 minutes after the restart.
Bute rarely threatened thereafter as Kyles’ experience of playing the game’s top teams week-in week-out eventually began to tell, but the way the home side competed for the first hour or so augurs well for the rest of the season.
* See the next issue of The Buteman for a full report and reaction to Saturday’s result - on sale from Thursday, May 30.