Kyles Athletic were last night on collision course with shinty's ruling body as the Camanachd Cup finalists dug in their heels and refused to switch tomorrow's crucial Premier Division home game with Kingussie to any north ground.
But Camanachd Association fixtures manager Astie Cameron revealed that a couple of north venues are on standby, pending weather checks this morning and if one was playable, then Kyles would be instructed to fulfil the fixture. The extremely wet weather on the west coast has played havoc with attempts to set up a thrilling finish to the Premier title race with Kingussie and Netwonmore level on points with one game each to play.
Newtonmore's game at Inveraray has been switched to Glasgow as Winterton Park is flooded. Both teams have agreed to play at Yoker, which was playable yesterday, but with rain falling in the city.
With the Tighnabruiach pitch saturated, Kyles secretary James Perlich said: “Our committee have discussed this and we are not willing to travel beyond Argyll this weekend.
“We did book the Dunoon Stadium for the Kingussie game, but that's been ruled out today through flooding, though we've booked it for next weekend as a precaution.
“This is our home fixture and it is unrealistic to expect us to go to Lochaber or the Inverness area when we have spent thousands of pounds this season fulfilling our scheduled away games.
“This is no disrespect to Kingussie, but there are times when a club had to stand up for itself. It's not our fault there is extreme wet weather and roads in the area are closed. If pitches within reasonable distance are not playable, then the association should accept that."
Cameron said: “It is in the byelaws that if a club's ground is unfit, they have to play the fixture where they are told. I will be checking tomorrow to see what pitches are playable and if one is, then Kyles and Kingussie will be instructed to play there. However, we're at the mercy of the weather."
But Cameron stressed that if Kyles refused to play, there were no circumstances in which Kingussie would be awarded the points.
Kyles are behind in their schedule because this summer several players were affected by swine flu and others were quarantined. Kingussie will be hoping for a change of mind to get the game played — with the Lovat and Glengarry grounds the best chance — while title rivals Newtonmore would be less than delighted if a switch left the champions with a much shorter journey against a team possibly weakened as a result.
Newtonmore need to win and hope Kingussie slip up, or, if Kingussie were to win, More require to win by five goals to have a chance of winning the title on goal difference or forcing the championship play-off which would complicate the fixtures schedule even further.