Walker brace turns derby in Bute’s favour

ROBERT WALKER dashed from work to the shinty field on Saturday to bag a second-half double as Bute extended their winning league run to ten games with victory over a stubborn Kyles side at the Meadows.

The decision to bring the throw-up time forward by two hours meant Bute’s top scorer was unable to make it into the starting line-up – but he came on early in the second half to net the brace which finally enabled Bute to breathe a little more easily against their local rivals.

Walker wasn’t the only familiar face absent from the Bute starting line-up – with keeper Kevin Queen on honeymoon and normal second-choice stopper David MacDonald unavailable, it was Graham Fisher who lined up between the posts for the home side.

But the fact that Fisher had only two saves to make in the first half, and just one in the second, against the beaten Sutherland Cup finalists gave a clear indication of the direction of play throughout the game.

Bute thought they’d opened the scoring after 20 minutes when Roberto Zavaroni’s shot found the back of the net; referee Billy Wotherspoon initially signalled that a shot against the outside of the post had gone out of play, but on realising the ball had travelled along the byline he reversed his decision – only to then disallow the ‘goal’ for offside after captain John McCallum cut the ball back for Zavaroni to fire home.

But the hosts’ frowns turned to smiles with half an hour on the clock when Zavaroni found the net for a second time with a shot from 20 yards – this time with no doubt about the legality of the strike.

Robert Ferguson had a great chance to double Bute’s advantage, but he lost control of the ball when just about to shoot for goal, leaving the men in red still only one goal ahead at half time.

And only when Walker entered the fray ten minutes after the break did the tide really start to turn in Bute’s favour; some frustration had been creeping into the ranks as time ticked by, but Walker’s 16th league goal of the season midway through the second period soothed the nerves a bit, and his 17th ten minutes later removed any lingering doubt about the game’s final outcome.

“It was a better performance than the one against Taynuilt the previous week,” coach Barry Martin said.

“We played some good, flowing shinty, albeit maybe not as consistently as we’d like – some of the boys were getting a bit frustrated that we weren’t turning all our chances into goals, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

* This Saturday, August 13, Bute travel to Yoker for a top-of-the-table clash against a Glasgow Mid Argyll team who have also yet to taste defeat in the league this season.

Throw-up is at 2.30pm, and players should meet in time for the 12 noon ferry – anyone not available is asked to contact Barry Martin ASAP.

* Bute’s second team were idle once again last Saturday after their away game against Inveraray was called off due to the Argyll side being unable to raise a team.

However, the decision to award Bute the two points for the fixture means the island side are now guaranteeed to finish in third place in South Division Two.

* This Saturday, August 13, Bute’s second team finish their league campaign with a home game against Glasgow Mid Argyll.

Throw-up at the Meadows is at 2.30pm and players should meet at 1pm – anyone not available should contact David Kilpatrick ASAP.