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Shinty: Lovat will be missing three key figures this weekend due to wedding

Lovat's Daniel Grieve tackles Roddy Macdonald (Kyles).  Image: Neil Paterson.
Lovat's Daniel Grieve tackles Roddy Macdonald (Kyles). Image: Neil Paterson.

Wedding bells will toll a treble blow to Lovat as they visit Glasgow Mid Argyll on Saturday in the battle of the two lowest-placed teams in the Mowi Premiership.

For the Kiltarlity team will head down the A9 without manager Jamie Matheson and experienced players Daniel Grieve and Callum Cruden.

Fitness coach Paul Mellis will step in to the breach as stand-in team boss.

“It’s an unfortunate clash but the three of us have been committed to this wedding for some time,” said Matheson.

“Craig Mainland, Chris Johnston and Lewis Tawse, who all missed last week’s defeat at Kingussie will return while teenagers Joe Embleton and Angus Mearns, who did well last week, will again be involved.”

Jones on comeback trail

Meanwhile, Newtonmore’s new skipper Conor Jones, who sustained a kidney injury three weeks ago, reports a sooner-than-expected recovery.

“I’m feeling better and have trained this week,” he said.

“The team’s going well so I might have to settle for a place on the bench but I’m ready to make a contribution.”

Newtonmore, one of three teams tied at the top of the table, have a tricky test against Kinlochshiel at Balmacara but are boosted by the return from suspension of internationalist Steven MacDonald, while young Arran MacBean is fit again.

Defender Dave Falconer returns for Shiel after missing their shock defeat at Beauly but John MacRae is still injured.

Oban Camanachd’s scheduled home fixture with Beauly has been reversed and will now be played at Braeview Park.

‘A real dogfight for points’

Oban manager Gareth Evans explained: “Mossfield Park can’t take two games in a day just now and Oban Celtic have it first.

“The early Premiership results indicate it will be a real dogfight for points this season and Beauly could test anyone on their own pitch.

“We have Daniel MacVicar out through a one-game suspension, while Scott Macmillan misses the second of his two-game ban. But Louis MacFarlane and Evan MacLellan have recovered from injury.”

Shinty-hurling clashes between Scotland and Ireland set to return later this year

Defender Angus Renwick returns from suspension for Beauly as the Greens bid to build on their impressive top flight debut.

Champions Kingussie, who made a winning start last week, have no fresh worries as they welcome joint leaders Caberfeidh to The Dell.

Cabers’ new manager Garry Reid said: “We’re without key player Ben Macdonald for work reasons, but otherwise everyone’s available. We’re playing well but Kingussie are deservedly title favourites and, watching clips of their last game, their forwards are so dangerous – so we’ll have to be up for it.”

Craig Morrison, however, tops the scoring charts with four in two games for Cabers and is a threat to the home defence.

Unbeaten Kyles Athletic, the third joint table toppers, have slammed seven goals in two outings and they welcome Skye, who lost their only game.

Dunoon will again be the venue as the Tighnabruaich pitch dries out. Caberfeidh took five and a half hours to get there last weekend, including the compulsory 45 minute stop, and Skye face an even longer trek, the furthest-flung fixture in the islanders’ history.

Martin Pringle is still injured for Skye, who will come up against former player Will Cowie, who joined Kyles last month.

Nolan and MacFarlane to miss derby

Kilmallie, a point clear at the top of the National Division, are without two players for the short trip to Fort William.

It is the first derby in a season where, uniquely, all three Lochaber sides are in this division.

Kyle Nolan is out with a broken hand while Seamus MacFarlane has damaged foot ligaments. Kilmallie have rattled in 10 goals – four to Craig MacDougall – in two outings and manager John Morrison said: “I’m a bit surprised by our good start. Fort were unlucky to be relegated and they’ll be a test for us.”

Fort will be without Graham Campbell, who scored two goals in their draw with Glen Urquhart in their only fixture but is on holiday.

“We’ve also two or three fitness doubts,” revealed co-manager Neil Robertson.

“In the Premiership last season, we lost 1-0 to Kilmallie then won 3-2 in the return match.

“It should be a decent game and having so many local derbies is actually a good thing for shinty in our area.”

New boys Col Glen, second top with three points from two games, welcome Lochaber, who won their only outing, to Glendaruel. Dan MacDonald has scored in each Col Glen game but the visitors’ double act of comeback duo Stuart Callison and Ben Delaney will pose questions for the Argyll men.

Inveraray new recruit Ross Macmillan starts a two game ban against Strathglass at Cannich in a duel of the two pointless teams.

Josh Macdonald-Haig is again unfit for Glen Urquhart’s visit to Oban Celtic, with both teams on one point. Pro golfer Robert MacIntyre returns for the home side.