Shinty: Bute teams ready for new campaign

Action from the last competitive outing for Bute Shinty Club's first team - the 6-0 win away to Oban Celtic in November which clinched the South Division One championship and promotion back to the sport's second tier.
Action from the last competitive outing for Bute Shinty Club's first team - the 6-0 win away to Oban Celtic in November which clinched the South Division One championship and promotion back to the sport's second tier.

Bute Shinty Club’s two teams face stiff opposition this Saturday, March 5, as the sport’s 2016 league season gets under way.

Promoted after winning the South Division One championship back in November, Bute’s first team begin their National Division campaign in just about the toughest possible fashion, with a short trip to Winterton Park to take on an Inveraray side who were relegated from the sport’s top flight after finishing bottom of the pile with just seven points from 18 games.

Despite their close geographical proximity, this Saturday’s clash will be the first between the two clubs’ first teams since August 2012, when Inveraray eased to a 5-1 Premiership win at the Meadows in Bute’s final season - to date! - among the sport’s elite.

Bute’s second team, meanwhile, play host to an Oban Lorn side who will be visiting the Meadows for the very first time after joining the league set-up in 2015.

The two sides’ match in Rothesay last season was cancelled, with Bute awarded the points for the unfulfilled fixture, Oban having won the reverse fixture by a convincing 5-0 margin.

Bute’s second string concluded their pre-season preparations in encouraging fashion with a 1-0 win away to Strachur last Saturday, Stewart Stirling netting the only goal in a game in which Bute were able to lend three spare players to an under-strength Strachur side.

Bute’s season-opening fixtures this Saturday get under way at 2.30pm, though both Bute games - as with all matches across the country - will be preceded by a minute’s silence following the death on Sunday of Ewen Bowman, president of Kilmallie Shinty Club and sponsor of the Camanachd Referees’ Association.