Bute faced another long away day last Saturday though the journey got off to a false start as several very late call offs meant that the assembled squad only had 11 players and there was a mad dash through the streets of Rothesay and the Port to secure a full team.
Bute started cautiously but were keeping the Beauly forwards at arm’s length until the 17 th minute of the game when a lofted ball from wide on the left cleared the cover in the middle of the D and was flicked into the top corner of the net by the league’s top scorer, Jack McDonald. Bute started to fall out of the game at this point and the greens swiftly doubled their advantage a minute later as McDonald doubled his tally for the day as he dispatched a cut back from the right into the bottom corner. Beauly went 3 up on the half hour mark when the Bute defence were caught napping at a quick corner and Conor Ross finished off a carbon copy of the second goal and a deflected shot on the stroke of half time meant that Beauly went into the break with a 4 goal cushion.
Beauly started the second half with the scent of blood in their nostrils but any fears of a Bute collapse were alleviated with the Red Army playing with a renewed sense of purpose. Bute’s younger players came to the fore in the second period; Craig McKay and Franco Devlin were winning the ball in midfield and driving the team forward. In the forward line Scott Harvey and William Boag were battling hard and holding their own against much more physical players while Arran McKirdy produced some delightful touches at half forward to start some Bute attacks.
Defensively Ryan Craig was composed and consistent as ever and Chrissy Lawrence’s forays forward caused consternation at the back for Beauly. The youngsters were complimented by the veteran trio of James Craig, Iain McDonald and John MacCallum with Kevin Queen in goals barely having a save to make after the break.
Beauly’s final goal had more than a stroke of good fortune about it when a shot took a wicked deflection and took the ball past Queen giving him no chance.
Only consolation after the game was that Bute did not lose any ground on their relegation rivals with Ballachulish and Inverness both losing heavily. Bute remain 2 points ahead of both teams and while they do have games in hand on both will need to start picking up points quickly and hopefully this can start against Inveraray at home this Saturday.
* Thanks to a generous grant from Foundation Scotland and Sports Comic Relief, Bute Shinty Club will be sending William Boag, Ryan Craig , Aaron McKirdy, and Craig McKay to a summer training camp run by the Camanachd Association, at Strathallan School, Perthshire, from July 17-21. There they will be coached not only in the skills of the sport, but they will also be taught about discipline, nutrition and community values.