Bute Shinty Club’s second team were unable to end their season on a high note on Saturday as a 4-2 defeat at home to Ballachulish kept the Glencoe side’s championship bid alive.
But though Lorne Brown’s hat-trick and Duncan MacDonald’s second half strike kept Ballachulish on course to overhaul South Division Two leaders Kyles Athletic, there were still plenty of encouraging signs for Bute at the end of a campaign which has seen the club’s second team come on in leaps and bounds over the last six months.
The whole of the first half was an even affair, and Ballachulish were slightly flattered by the 2-0 interval lead earned by two Brown strikes from distance in the 30th and 40th minutes.
Tom McMillan reduced the deficit nine minutes after the restart after the battling Chris Lawrence refused to be dispossessed by a clutch of Ballachulish defenders, but eight minutes later Brown completed his hat-trick with an angled drive which all but put the game out of Bute’s reach.
MacDonald made sure of the points on 73 minutes, but Neil McKirdy’s close-range tap-in a minute later, after some more fine work by Lawrence, at least gave Bute the last word - and also gave further notice that the future of shinty on the island is in safe hands.