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Shinty: Kingussie and Newtonmore ravaged by injury ahead of Badenoch derby

Kingussie meet Newtonmore this weekend.
Kingussie meet Newtonmore this weekend.

Kingussie, a point clear of neighbours Newtonmore at the top of the Mowi Premiership, will be without HALF A TEAM through injury for Saturday’s big Badenoch league derby at The Eilean.

Most of the six casualties will also miss next weekend’s MacTavish Cup quarter-final when the same teams meet at the same venue.

Thomas Borthwick has undergone knee surgery and will be out for at least two months, while James Hutchinson, Liam Borthwick, Lee Bain, Ryan Borthwick and Fraser Munro are also sidelined with an array of hamstring or hand issues.

“We’ve been ravaged by this injury glut, and virtually all will be out for a number of weeks, so it’s an extremely challenging time ahead for us”, said Ally MacLeod, acting Kingussie boss as John Gibson is returning from a ski trip.

Teenager Cameron Bremner, who joined The Dell men this season from Glen Urquhart, made his senior debut last week and he and 17-year-old Iain Fraser are set to sample their first Badenoch derby duel.

Newtonmore have not had their problems to seek with Drew MacDonald, Iain Robinson and Darrin Fowler all still out. They have teenage attackers Duncan MacPherson and Max Campbell facing Kingussie in Premiership action for the first time.

Kingussie made history last year by knocking Newtonmore out of all three cup competitions, winning all four derbies, and with Craig Ritchie in splendid midfield form, the Blue and White Hoops are optimistic of ending that sorry sequence.

Duo return for Kilmallie after suspension

Kilmallie have a double tonic for their home game with Glasgow Mid Argyll with internationalist Innes Blackhall and experienced raider Michael Rodger making their first appearances of the season following suspensions.

“It’s a massive bonus to have these two key figures back”, said manager Martin Stewart. “Young Ben Macdonald is out with an ankle injury, while Cameron Clark had a scan this week which revealed he fractured his collarbone a fortnight ago.

“But having Innes and Michael back gives me more choice than I’ve had in a long time.”

Both teams are chasing their first victory, making this a crunch clash in the fight to get away from the relegation places.

Meanwhile, Gary Lord, Oban Camanachd’s classy internationalist, will miss their game with Kyles Athletic at Mossfield Park – and faces an anxious wait to find how long he will be out.

“Gary has damaged medial ligaments and looks like missing several games – but, depending on the medical verdict, it could be much longer, which would be a serious blow to us”, said manager Gareth Evans.

Daniel Sloss and Daniel Cameron return to strengthen Oban, while Kyles manager Robert Baxter reports no problems and a full squad to choose from.

Clash of unbeaten sides in National Division

The National Division sees unbeaten leaders Beauly host Lochaber, who have won both their games, in an intriguing tussle.

Beauly top scorer Euan MacCormick has just been voted the game’s Inspirational Young Person of the Year and the free-scoring Greens aim to maintain momentum. But Lochaber welcome back Barry MacDonald from a four-game suspension, although Gregor Cameron is on Army duty and Finlay MacDonald faces a late fitness test.

Strathglass, who slammed nine goals past Oban Celtic last weekend, have hat-trick heroes Penri Jones and Michael Stokes available again for their home tussle with Inveraray, for whom Lewis Montgomery is the main threat.

Oban Celtic, meanwhile, visit Aberdour in a duel of two teams seeking their first league victory – and Celts will be without manager Doug MacIntyre, who is at Augusta following his son Robert, who is playing in the US Masters.

Robert MacIntyre is back for his second attempt at the Masters, meaning the Oban Celtic boss, Bob’s dad Doug, will be absent this weekend.

Cup action on Saturday’s agenda, too

International goalgrabber Craig Morrison returns from a three-game suspension in time to lead Caberfeidh in their delayed MacTavish Cup first round tie with Glen Urquhart at Strathpeffer on Saturday.

Cabers boss Jodi Gorski revealed: “We’ve missed Craig since being sent off in the first game of the season, so he’s back at an important time and he’s such a big player for us.

“We also have Conor MacGregor and Declan Wilson back, although Ryan Simmonds is finishing a ban and Ben Macdonald is working offshore.  But, after being without six players last game and five the time before, we’re in much better shape.

“The consolation of being so short is that I’ve been able to have a good look at the squad, which is helpful.”

National Division side Glen hope to upset their Premiership opponents to book a quarter-final tie at Fort William next weekend, and John Barr and Conor Golabek will test the Castle Leod defence.

Three postponed Highland Industrial Supplies Sutherland Cup first round ties are also due to be settled, with Skye’s tussle with Kinlochshiel at Portree the biggest crowd-puller.

Skye manager Ally Macdonald is boosted by the return of Ruaraidh MacLeod, while Shiel can field a couple of younger lads who have had a taste of first team action.

Cup holders Newtonmore face a tricky test against 2019 trophy winners Lochside Rovers at Oban, while Strathspey tackle Aberdeen University at Balgownie.