Bute Shinty Club’s first team secured the South Division One league championship in style in Saturday, playing some of their best shinty of the season in the 6-0 win away to Oban Celtic which clinched the crown.
Five first half goals at Mossfield Park ensured there would be no last-day jitters as the islanders got the comfortable win they needed to keep them at the top of the table on goal difference ahead of season-long challengers Lochside Rovers.
Bute knew before the game that an early goal would settle any nerves - and leading scorer Robert Walker duly obliged with only three minutes on the clock, snapping up the rebound after Oban keeper Scott Mossman parried a Gordon McMillan shot.
Tom McMillan set up Duncan Davidson for the second with a 20-yard drive after 20 minutes, and young Craig McKay - who had an outstanding game for Bute on the left side of midfield - swept home the third at the back post as Bute turned up the heat on their hosts.
McKay’s second five minutes later, when he thumped Walker’s short free hit past the helpless Mossman, made it 4-0 before Walker’s second sent Bute into the dressing rooms at half time with a five goal lead.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, with the points, and the championship, all tied up, the second half was a bit scrappier, though Walker, Davidson and McKay all came close, while David Whitelaw was unlucky not to cap an excellent performance in the centre line with a goal of his own, with Mossman having a fine game between the posts for the home side despite the scoreline.
Manager Ted McDonald introduced Adam Stirling, Scott Dunn and John Beattie in the course of the second half, before Walker completed the scoring on 79 minutes when he mopped up the loose ball after Davidson mis-hit his attempted shot from a McKay corner.
The celebrations at the final whistle were richly deserved, with Bute captain and goalkeeper Kevin Queen calling each of his team-mates up to receive their winner’s medals before hoisting the South Division One trophy above his head, sparking long and loud celebrations both among the players and the large travelling support.