Vital win secured for Bute against Ballachulish at home

Bute Shinty Club (South Division One title-winning squad) defeated Ballachulish at home on Saturday, May 28.
Bute Shinty Club (South Division One title-winning squad) defeated Ballachulish at home on Saturday, May 28.

Bute welcomed Ballachulish, the basement team in the National league, to a sun-kissed Meadows on Saturday with both teams seeking their first league win of the season.

Bute began the day only 1 point ahead of the Quarrymen with the Red Army’s only points to date coming from two hard fought, but impressive, draws against title contenders Kilmallie & Inveraray.

With Bute keen to make a quick start Duncan Davidson won the first throw up and this set the tone in a prolonged period of pressure for the hosts. Any nerves were settled after only two minutes when a John MacCallum shy from the left was controlled by Iain McDonald, taking a touch by his man and placed his finish in the bottom corner. Bute were dominating proceedings with the centreline of MacCallum, Davidson & Adam Stirling constantly supplying the forwards who were creating chances but not able to add to their tally.

That changed on the stroke of half time when Bute all but sealed the game with a quick fire double salvo. The second goal was a mirror image of the first when a Davidson shy from the right was dispatched low beyond the keeper by Gordon McMillan who was just getting a feel for his new stick when he snapped it over his opponents stick and spent the half time interval looking for the receipt.

Bute increased their lead two minutes later when James Craig fought for possession on the edge of the D and his resulting effort was blocked by the full back which fell fortuitously for McDonald to drill into the bottom corner.

Bute came out after half time focussed on the task in hand but with a slight drop in tempo due to the scorching weather. The red wall at the back comprised of Donne McDermid, Arran Dunn, Ryan Craig and Chrissy Lawrence, with their high pressing and clearances out of defence forming the bedrock of many attacks.

Manager Ted McDonald started to rotate some of his players with Franco Devlin coming on in the forward line and he scored with his first touch. After some good approach play by Craig McKay down the left the ball was worked out to the right hand side of the D and Devlin’s unstoppable first time strike cannoned into the corner of the net.

Scott Harvey came on in place of McKay in the forward line and didn’t seem overawed as shown by his physical play against much older opponents.

Goalkeeper and captain Kevin Queen was a virtual bystander throughout and gave an accurate assessment of his own performance after the match: “Five fags and a clean sheet!”

This was a vital win for Bute and sets them up well for the long trip to the Bught Park to face Inverness. This is a key game for Bute as a win would see them establish a 4 point gap over second bottom Inverness with 3 games in hand over the highland side therefore full attendance at training and a strong travelling squad are essential.