Shinty: Bute secure Balliemore semi-final slot

Leighton Reid, scorer of Bute's opening goal, battles for possession during the island club's 3-1 home win over Strachur in the Balliemore Cup quarter-final at the Meadows on Saturday.
Leighton Reid, scorer of Bute's opening goal, battles for possession during the island club's 3-1 home win over Strachur in the Balliemore Cup quarter-final at the Meadows on Saturday.

Bute Shinty Club’s first team progressed to the last four of the Balliemore Cup in comfortable if unspectacular fashion courtesy of a 3-1 home win over Strachur on Saturday.

Leighton Reid’s beautifully-struck shot gave the hosts the lead after only 20 seconds at the Meadows, but a severely under-strength Strachur side showed they would not be easily beaten by levelling the score with less than two minutes played when Steven Wilson’s long-distance effort caught out Bute keeper Kevin Queen.

Bute, though, were always in control of the tie and had several chances to regain the lead before Robert Walker eventually obliged on 31 minutes, collecting a short corner from Tom McMillan before working his way in along the touchline and slipping the ball past Donald MacDonald in the Strachur goal.

The baking heat and quick surface meant hundred-mile-an-hour shinty was never a likely prospect, and the pace of the game dropped notably after half time, though Strachur never gave up trying to find a way back into the tie.

But the outcome was all but settled 12 minutes into the second half, when Iain MacDonald’s shy on the right found its way to Neil McKirdy, who laid the ball off neatly for Walker to smack his second of the game into the top corner of the net.

Bute, who have won the Balliemore Cup three times in the last decade - in 2004, 2006 and 2011 - will now face Strathglass in the semi-finals of this year’s tournament.

* For a full match report, plus reaction to Saturday’s game, see the next issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, June 13.