Bute Shinty Club’s under-14 team missed out on the South of Scotland nine-a-side league title when they lost a play-off to Oban Camanachd on Sunday.
The two teams finished the regular season tied on 18 points at the top of the table, with Bute marginally ahead on goal difference, but a play-off was arranged on neutral ground - the all-weather pitch at Lochgilphead Joint Campus - to settle the fate of the championship.
Despite a detour enforced by the closure of the A83, Bute were out of the blocks quickly, Arran McKirdy opening the scoring after just two minutes, but Oban replied straight away through Ross Campbell.
Campbell’s second gave Oban a 2-1 interval lead, and Kenni Gray’s scrambled third left Bute with a mountain to climb - and though Craig Mackay slotted home an impressive second after Oban had a man sent off, the islanders were unable to force the equaliser which would have taken the game into extra time.
Despite the defeat, Bute can still hold their heads high at the end of a hugely encouraging season which saw several members of the under-14 squad gain experience with the club’s first and second senior teams, notably Craig Mackay and Ryan Craig - who both collected South Division One winners’ medals with the first team in November, with Ryan also winning the club’s own ‘young player of the year’ award - and William Boag, who was named the Bute second team’s player of the year at the club’s awards ceremony in November.
* Preparations for the 2016 shinty season are now under way - Bute’s players resumed training this week, and the club’s AGM takes place this Friday, January 15, at 7pm in the clubhouse.