Bute frustrated as crash calls off crunch tie

Bute's senior team were left kicking their heels in frustration on Saturday after a road accident caused the postponement of their Premier League relegation crunch at home to Oban Camanachd.

A vehicle in which four Oban players were travelling to the game from Glasgow was invovled in a collision on its way to the ferry at Wemyss Bay - and though none of those involved was seriously injured, the visitors were left with no option but to ask the Camanachd Association to call off the game.

There was, however, shinty action for local fans in Rothesay on Saturday in the form of the Bute second team's last match of the season, in which a last-minute equaliser by Donald Colville earned visitors Glasgow Mid Argyll a point.

Tam McCready's goal seven minutes from the end of an entertaining clash had given the home side the upper hand, but with only seconds remaining Colville snapped up a half-chance on the edge of the D to give the Glasgow men a share of the spoils they just about deserved.

Bute went into the game desperate to wipe out the memories of their previous outing, an 8-1 derby defeat at home to Kyles Athletic, and the men in red began the afternoon in a positive fashion, Neil McKirdy driving a shot just wide of target after a good move which had begun with a superbly weighted ball forward by Leighton Reid.

And Bute continued to enjoy the upper hand in the game's opening stages, helped perhaps by a following wind and the advantage of the Meadows' slight slope down towards the Lade.

McKirdy and Duncan Simpson were at the heart of the hosts' next attacking move, combining well to set up Stewart Stirling for a well-struck effort which wasn't far away from the GMA goal.

McKirdy's physical presence up front was causing the Mid Argyll defence more than a few headaches, in the first half hour of the game, never more so than when the big man embarked on a strong run forward from midfield, leaving his marker trailing in his wake - although the move ended in disappointment when McKirdy's final shot was well off target, particularly since he would almost certainly have been better off laying the ball off to a better-placed team-mate.

Reid's strong running and accurate passing from midfield were also leaving the Mid Argyll defenders stretched at times, and another fine ball from the youngster set up Bute's best chance of the opening phase - though his initial target, Simpson, was unable to get a shot away under pressure from an opponent, the ball was cleared only as far as Ruairaidh Soane, who unleashed a well-struck drive which was only a foot or so away from the frame of the goal.

At the other end, Bute keeper John Whitelaw had little to do in the first 30 minutes, although Mid Argyll gave notice of their intent when Alan Brunton sent an ambitious effort whizzing across the face of the home goal from wide on the left.

But when Whitelaw was called into serious action for the first time, he pulled off a superb save to keep the two teams level on the half-hour mark, showing lightning-quick reactions to tip David Smith's fizzing effort over the bar for a corner.

But neither side was able to find the net before the break, and Mid Argyll - with a Bullough Cup final against Kyles next on their horizon - enjoyed more of the play after the interval, with Bute now playing up the hill and against the wind.

Though there was plenty to hold the attention of the crowd, as the game ticked in to its final stages the scoresheet remained blank until, on 83 minutes, McCready popped up to put the hosts in front - the first time Bute have led on home soil since their 3-2 win over Strachur at the end of April.

But despite their best efforts, Bute were unable to hold out until the final whistle, with Colville pouncing in the last minute of normal time to take advantage of some momentary hesitation in the home defence and drill the ball into the corner of the net.

* Neither Bute team has a fixture this weekend, although a full training session involving members of both squads will take place at the Meadows at 2pm on Saturday.