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Shinty: Setback for Lovat on opening weekend; Kinlochshiel edge Skye

Kinlochshiel goalscorer Jordan Fraser (left) celebrates with Oliver MacRae.
Kinlochshiel goalscorer Jordan Fraser (left) celebrates with Oliver MacRae.

Lovat’s international defender Callum Cruden, whose season was wrecked last year by a shattered shoulder bone, faces a spell out after being forced off with an injury to the same shoulder on the opening day of the Mowi Premiership.

Cruden came off in the first half of his team’s 3-1 defeat to impressive Caberfeidh at Strathpeffer and had a check-up at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.

“The ball hit me exactly where my shoulder snapped last time,” said Cruden.

“It’s not as bad as that one, but I’ll just have to wait on the medical verdict.”

Lovat manager Jamie Matheson said: “It’s hugely disappointing that Callum’s comeback is marked by damaging the same shoulder.

“He’s a stalwart who deserves better luck and we hope he’s not out for too long.

To make it a double blow for the Kiltarlity club, attacker Fraser Heath has dropped a bombshell by announcing that he won’t play this season.

Matheson said: “I was stunned when Fraser Heath came to me at training and said he’s decided to take a year away from shinty.

“He’d just been appointed our new captain.

“It can’t have been an easy decision for him and we respect it, although it’s a real setback.”

Skye’s Jordan Murchison goes down in the challenge with David Falconer (Kinlochshiel). Image: Neil Paterson. 

Greg Matheson slammed Lovat ahead early at Castle Leod but Kevin Bartlett levelled in 37 minutes and Craig Morrison put Cabers in front seven minutes later.

Morrison grabbed his second in 62 minutes to seal an excellent start for new Cabers manager Garry Reid.”They tell me it’s the first time the club has won on opening day for quite a number of years”, said Reid. “It was a good team performance on a heavy surface and with Kevin and Craig up front, we’ll always pose a threat.”

Fraser gets Shiel off to winning start

Last year’s title runners-up Kinlochshiel had to work hard to overcome Skye 1-0 in their derby at Balmacara. New skipper Jordan Fraser scored in 60 minutes after a good run and cutback from Keith MacRae.

“It was a very tight affair,” said new Shiel manager Willie MacRae.

“Skye were very solid at the back, with John Gillies outstanding. We struggled to break them down but did enough to take both points.”

Skye’s Kenny Cushnie challenges Donald Nixon (Kinlochshiel). Image: Neil Paterson. 

Kyles Athletic are Premiership leaders after romping to a 5-0 win at Glasgow Mid Argyll, a great start for their five new player-managers.

Goalkeeper manager John Whyte said: “Young Murdo MacRae came in at full back when Calum Miller called off injury and the lad was superb.

“Another of our younger players, Scott Macdonald, hit a double and we’re looking for these two to kick on this year and show what they can do.”

Player-boss Roddy Macdonald also fired a double with ex-Skye man Will Cowie, who had an impressive debut, hitting number five in injury time.

It was points shared at Mossfield after Malcolm Clark put Oban Camanachd ahead in 63 minutes only for Iain Robinson to convert a last-minute penalty awarded for Scott MacKillop’s wild tackle.

“Young Struan Ross came off injured but it’s a good point for us from a hard game on a perfect pitch,” said ‘More manager Norman MacArthur.

Oban’s Gareth Evans said: “We had more chances but we need to start hitting the target more.

“Alex Macdonald, aged 15, started at half back and was outstanding while Matthew Sloss, also 15, showed up well in attack when coming on as substitute.”

Early statement from Kilmallie

Relegated Kilmallie are the early National Division pacemakers as new manager John Morrison got off to a flyer with a 5-2 win over Strathglass at Cannich.

“It’s a relief to get the first win,” said Morrison.

“Strath were a good side and it was 2-2 and anybody’s game until the last 17 minutes when we pulled away. I thought 18-year-old wing centre Aidan Love was our star performer.”

Lewis Birrell and Calum Macdougall struck early for the visitors but Penri Jones and Ruaridh Strachan levelled by the half hour. Innes Blackhall broke the deadlock in 73 minutes, Martin Stewart made it four and Michael Rodger, playing at the back this year, slotted home a last-minute penalty.

Fort William, the other relegated side, were 2-1 up at home until David Maclennan’s 92nd minute leveller earned Glen Urquhart a point.

Goalkeepers Stuart Mackintosh and Paul MacKay were outstanding with the goals coming in the last half hour, John Barr firing Glen ahead with a tremendous strike but comeback man Graham Campbell scored twice before Maclennan’s equaliser.

“We brought Graham on with 20 minutes to go, his first appearance in three years and he showed clinical finishing,” said new Fort co-boss Neil Robertson. “It was a good game but we’re still a work in progress.”

Comeback duo Scott Callison and Ben Delaney grabbed the first half goals which gave Lochaber a 2-0 win at fellow promotion candidates Inveraray.

Col Glen, in their first ever National Division match, fought back to rack up a point in a 1-1 draw with Oban Celtic at Glendaruel. Lennan Campbell gave the visitors an interval lead before a historic goal from Dan Macdonald in 70 minutes delighted the home fans.

Donnie MacRae hit a hat-trick as far-travelled Lewis sailed from Stornoway to beat Strathspey 8-0 at Grantown in the North Second Division.