Shinty: Bute coach not worried despite slow start

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BUTE Shinty Club’s first team coach Barry Martin says he isn’t too concerned about his side’s slow start to the 2012 season - despite a defeat at Kinlochshiel last Saturday which extended the islanders’ winless run to seven Orion Group Premiership matches.

The 4-2 loss at Balmacara left Bute in second bottom spot in the table, just one point ahead of Kilmallie.

But only two of those seven games have been played at the Meadows, and with

“We’re not unduly worried at the moment,” the Bute coach said.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy going to new territory last Saturday, and we had the chances, but Kinlochshiel got the break late on.

“I thought the final margin was a wee bit disappointing considering the challenge we put up over the 90 minutes.

“That’s most of our long away trips out of the way now – after this Saturday at Inveraray, we’ve only got three away league games left, against Kingussie, Kyles and Kilmallie.”

It may be too early in the season to describe Bute’s trip to Winterton Park this Saturday as the proverbial relegation four-pointer, but with Inveraray sitting just one point and one place ahead of the island side, the significance of a good result, on a ground where Bute played twice in cup competition last year and pulled off a surprise 1-0 win in the Macaulay Cup, isn’t lost on Martin.

“We really want to bring something back from Inveraray on Saturday,” he continued, “because if we don’t that opens up a three point gap between us and them.

“We’ll definitely go there and give it our best shot.”

Disappointing league form for both Bute and Inveraray so far this season has been offset by good results in the AJG Parcels Celtic Society Cup - Bute have avoided potential banana skins against Glenorchy and Oban Camanachd, while Inveraray knocked out holders Kyles Athletic courtesy of Euan MacMurdo’s goal in their last eight clash on April 21.

And this Saturday’s league meeting could also serve as a useful testing ground ahead of the two teams’ meeting in the semi-final of the sport’s oldest competition, in Rothesay on May 19.

* This Saturday’s league game between Inveraray and Bute gets under way at 2.30pm at Winterton Park.

At the same time on Saturday, Bute’s second team take on their counterparts from Kyles Athletic at the Meadows in Marine Harvest South Division Two, looking to build on a good home run which has yielded three wins from three home league games so far.