FIERCE local rivals Kyles Athletic will provide the opposition in Bute Shinty Club's first Premier League fixture of the 2008 season, it was announced this week.
The Tighnabruaich side - promoted to the top flight as champions of South Division One, as were Bute a year ago - will come to the Meadows on Saturday, March 1, looking to bring an end to Bute's run of recent success in matches between the clubs, after many years in which Kyles held the upper hand.
The Camanachd Association published their full 2008 fixture list on Monday, and the senior Bute side's campaign will begin with two fixtures against southern opposition - the team's first away fixture of the season, on March 8, is at Winterton Park against Inveraray, who knocked Bute out of all three senior cup competitions in 2007.
The draws for the Glasgow Celtic Society and Macaulay Cups have handed Bute home advantage in the early stages: in the Celtic Cup, Bute are at home to Kyles in the first round on March 29, with the winner earning a home tie against Strachur or Oban Camanachd in the May 10 quarter-finals.
And in the Macaulay Cup, Bute will host Oban Camanachd in the first round on May 10, with another home tie, against Kyles or Glenorchy, awaiting the winners in the quarter-finals on June 7.
Meanwhile, Bute's reformed second team begin their campaign in South Division Two on Saturday, March 29, with an away fixture against another local side, Col Glen.
The second team has to wait until May 17 for its first home game of the campaign, against Kyles Athletic's second team at the Meadows.
The full 2008 fixture list for the Bute senior team is as follows - all fixtures are in the Marine Harvest Premier League unless stated otherwise.
March 1 v Kyles Athletic (h); March 8 v Inveraray (a); March 15 v Fort William (h); March 22 v Kingussie (a); March 29 v Kyles Athletic (h) in the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup first round.
April 5 v Newtonmore (h); April 12 v Lochaber (a); April 19 v Strathglass (h); April 26 Glasgow Celtic Society Cup quarter-final.
May 3 v Inveraray (h); May 10 v Oban Camanachd (h) in the Macaulay Cup first round; May 17 v Oban Camanachd (a), May 24 Glasgow Celtic Society Cup semi-final; May 31 no game.
June 7 Macaulay Cup quarter-final; June 14 Camanachd Cup quarter-final (draw yet to be made); June 21 v Newtonmore (a)*; June 28 v Kyles Athletic (a)*.
July 5 v Lovat (h); July 12 Camanachd Cup semi-final; July 19 Macaulay Cup semi-final; July 26 v Oban Camanachd (h).
August 2 Marine Harvest Festival of Shinty; August 9 no game; August 16 v Strathglass (a); August 23 Macaulay Cup Final; August 30 v Kingussie (h).
September 6 v Lovat (a); September 13 Camanachd Cup Final; September 20 v Fort William (a); September 27 no game.
October 4 v Lochaber (h).
* These fixtures are subject to change due to the finals of the Mactavish and Glasgow Celtic Society Cups respectively.
The fixture list for Bute's second team is as follows - all matches are in Marine Harvest South Division Two.
March 29 v Col Glen (a); April 26 v Kyles Athletic (a).
May 10 v Taynuilt (a); May 17 v Kyles Athletic (h); May 24 v Aberdour (h); May 31 v Glasgow Mid Argyll (h).
June 7 v Glenorchy (a); June 14 v Col Glen (h); June 28 v Oban Celtic (a).
July 12 v Taynuilt (h); July 19 v Glenorchy (h); August 23 v Aberdour (a).
September 6 v Oban Celtic (h); September 20 v Glasgow Mid Argyll (a).
Pre-season plans for both Bute teams are still being put together - so far games have been arranged for the first team against Kilmory on February 23, and for the second team against Col Glen on February 16 for the Hamish Carmichael Trophy.
We'll publish further details as soon as we have them.