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Shinty: Fort William end wait for victory; James Falconer strikes late for Kingussie

Fort's Bryan Simpson gets the first of his brace against GMA.
Fort's Bryan Simpson gets the first of his brace against GMA.

Bryan Simpson, who played in Fort William’s last Camanachd Cup winning team 12 years ago, fired two goals and inspired his younger teammates as their first victory of the season lifted them out of the Mowi Premiership relegation zone.

Fort co-bosses Victor Smith and Addie Robertson now hope 34-year-old Simpson can kick-start their campaign and help them move up to mid-table.

The An Aird men were twice behind before Simpson’s double gave them a 3-2 win over Glasgow Mid Argyll, who replace Fort at the foot of the table.

Simpson has not been a regular for several years but has been battling well on the comeback trail and Victor Smith said: “Hopefully, this is a turning point for Bryan and for our team.

“He’s been a ‘bit-part’ player since he returned this season but he played for 86 minutes against Mid Argyll and put in a superb shift.

“He looks back to full fitness and the way he took his goals suggests he can make a key contribution for us. Not only that, but 2-1 down at half time, Bryan gave our youngsters a rousing lift in the dressing room and really got them fired up for the second half. They really look up to him.”

Ex-Newtonmore hitman Ewen Fraser polished off a fine move to blast the ball into the top corner of the net to give the visitors a quick lead but Lewis Morrison levelled for Fort within two minutes. John McNulty’s 35 yard screamer restored Mid Argyll’s lead but Simpson’s strikes in 53 and 64 minutes turned the tables.

Fort leap up to seventh, within two points of a top five spot.

Fort’s Bryan Simpson (left) takes the ball from Cameron McCue (GMA).

Meanwhile, National Division side Inveraray, 11 of whose players are 23 or under, claimed a Premiership scalp as they won 4-2 at Kilmallie to earn a Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup quarter final visit to Lovat on July 9.

“We started really well yet found ourselves two down against the run of play,” said manager Ruaridh Graham.

“We got back to 2-2 at half time but Kilmallie came out with all guns blazing but we defended really well with full back Robert Wood outstanding.

“It was a performance which encourages our young side and the Lovat tie will let them see the level they need to reach. If these lads believe in themselves, they’re good enough to be a Premiership side.”

Stuart Callison’s double put Kilmallie in command until Fraser Watt (penalty) and Lewis Montgomery squared things then Watt’s 30-yard piledriver put the visitors ahead with Montgomery grabbing his second in 88 minutes.

Kilmallie’s bad afternoon worsened when Sandy Corrigan was sent off in the last minute after his stick hit the back of Montgomery’s legs.

Johnny Forster (Fort) with Ewen Fraser (GMA).

A rousing Glengarry revival at Craigard Park was not enough to stop holders Skye winning 3-2 to set up a Ferguson Transport and Shipping Balliemore Cup quarter-final at Beauly this weekend.

Will Cowie’s brace and one from Taylor Matheson saw Skye three up at the interval with Raymond Robertson and Nick Dalgety scoring as Glen hit back but could not force extra time.

In the same competition, Scott MacVicar’s second goal, a 90th minute penalty, saw Col Glen through 2-1 at home to Bute in a surprise result. Iain MacDonald had equalised for the islanders seven minutes from time.

Kingussie leave it late

James Falconer’s comeback saw him score the late goal which preserved Kingussie’s 100 per cent Mowi Premiership record before he sustained a knee gash which required several stitches.

But Falconer is optimistic he’ll be able to play in Saturday’s Cottages.Com MacTavish Cup final against Caberfeidh at Inverness.

Oban Camanachd looked poised to snatch a point at The Dell until Falconer’s 82nd minute strike made it 1-0.

Kings manager John Gibson said: “It was important that James returned to the side with the final in mind. It was a very tight game in which we hit post and bar early on and were foiled by several fine saves from Oban keeper Cammy Sutherland.

“They battled hard and we just couldn’t get the ball in the net until James did the trick. Then he picked up a nasty knee wound which had to be stitched. Fingers crossed, he should be OK for the final.

“Lee Bain also gained valuable game time and Fraser Munro had 45 minutes, which is encouraging, while James Hutchinson played the full 90 minutes.

“We’ll need to be at our best against Cabers, particularly as we’ve not been too great recently.”

Internationalist Kevin Bartlett was one of three Caberfeidh players – Ben Macdonald and Jamie Mackintosh were the others – who were not risked in their 3-1 Premiership defeat at Lovat.

“All three have been carrying niggles, so it was better to give them more recovery time,” said manager Jodi Gorski.

“We’ll monitor them this week but hopefully they’ll be OK.”

He added: “We’d a terrible start and were 3-0 down after 22 minutes with our keeper Ian McCall making good saves. We created more chances in the second half, a blend of our improvement coupled with Lovat taking their foot off the accelerator.

“Gavin MacLachlan was impressive while 16-year-old Taylor Condon came on and looked very sharp up front, giving me something to think about for the cup final.  Kingussie are a top side so we’ll need to give it everything we’ve got but we’ve a habit of bouncing back well following a defeat.”

Marc MacLachlan hit a double for Lovat, either side of a Fraser Heath strike, while Conor MacGregor netted late on for the Strathpeffer side.

Kinlochshiel move into second place after a 3-0 home win over Kyles Athletic made it six wins on the spin and it proved a successful day for 17-year-old Archie MacRae.

He scored two goals for the second team, who beat Lovat colts 7-0 in their noon start, then fired the 14th minute opener for the senior side, an unusual ‘hat trick’ on the pitch in the same afternoon.

Teenager Euan McCormack hit a treble as National Division leaders Beauly dimmed Glen Urquhart’s promotion hopes with a 6-1 stroll at Drumnadrochit. Robbie Brindle’s double and one from David Maclean completed the Greens’ spree to take them five points clear at the top.

Josh Macdonald-Haig netted the home goal.

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