Bute Shinty Club’s first team saw their faint hopes of snatching the South Division One championship dashed after a 3-2 defeat on Saturday at home to a Glasgow Mid Argyll team whose win sealed their own title triumph.
Bute knew going into the game that only a ten-goal win, against a GMA side who had conceded only five league goals all season, would be enough to take the trophy; with that in mind, Bute’s main aim was to at least end the campaign with a win, and when Gordon McMillan gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half, that ambition certainly looked achievable.
But Andy Mathie equalised for the visitors only a few minutes later to leave the sides level at the break - and though James Craig put Bute back in front from close range just before the hour mark, the outcome of an evenly-matched encounter remained on a knife-edge.
The second half, though, became bogged down by a combination of niggly fouls, arguments and the sound of referee Billy Wotherspoon’s whistle, which was blown rather too often for both teams’ liking.
Bute’s sense of frustration came to a head around the 70th minute, when first John Beattie missed a high ball into the heart of the home defence, allowing Euan Forsyth to net the visitors’ second equaliser, and then when veteran James Craig earned himself an early bath for a second yellow card.
With an extra man to help them press home their advantage, it was no real surprise when the visitors netted what would turn out to be the winner ten minutes from the end - and it was fitting that captain Angus McIntosh should score the goal which wrapped up the title for his team, firing decisively home after an untidy goalmouth stramash.
Camanachd Association vice-chieftain Jock Turner presented McIntosh with the trophy after the game to kick off some enthusiastic celebrations as the visitors savoured their first major silverware in some 30 years.