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Shinty: Lovat look to make it five Camanachd Cup finals in six seasons by overcoming Oban in semi

It could be a tight encounter between the sides at An Aird.

Lovat manager Jamie Matheson. Image: Neil G Paterson.
Lovat manager Jamie Matheson. Image: Neil G Paterson.

Having appeared in four of the last five Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup finals, Lovat make their bid for another final appearance in their semi against Oban Camanachd at An Aird on Saturday.

Manager Jamie Matheson said: “We’ve had a lot of success in recent semi-finals, but we’ve fallen short too many times in the final for everybody’s liking.

“Saturday will be tough, though, as we know Oban are a good side and, like us, will be desperate to be in the final come September.

“We’ve met once in the league this year – drawing 2-2 – and we’re both on similar points, so it will be a real tight affair.”

Matheson must do without a couple of regulars, as he added: “Lewis Tawse is best man at his brother’s wedding and Daniel Grieve took a knock against GMA last week and is on crutches.”

Oban boss Gareth Evans and his side stand in Lovat’s way.

He said: “We’re all set and looking forward to Saturday.

“This is a major opportunity to reach the Camanachd final, and at this stage it’s tough no matter who you’re up against and Lovat are no exception.

“They are an excellent team, strong all over the park, with forwards who are all sharp-shooters, whilst they are defensively solid with arguably the best keeper around.

“Apart from Andy MacDonald, who gets the cast off his hand on Monday, we have full squad to choose from.”

Kingussie boss puts full focus on regaining Premiership’s top spot

Meanwhile Shinty’s behaviour in sport committee has upheld Kingussie’s two-point deduction following the postponement of last month’s Mowi Premiership encounter with Skye.

The match was called off on Saturday morning as the designated match referee had not received a call from Kingussie during the week to confirm arrangements.

Kingussie had appealed, claiming it was not they, but the Camanachd Association who called the match off and the byelaw used to implement the sanction was not relevant.

Kings now fall two points behind new leaders Newtonmore. but they can regain top spot on goal difference if they beat Kinlochshiel at Rearaig.

Manager Iain Borthwick is focusing on matters on the pitch, saying: “It looks like Lee Bain will be ok to return. He played a practise game midweek without any problems.

“Calum Grant will also be in squad after arriving back into the country on Sunday following a spell working in Australia.

“We looked at giving Calum a full game with the second team, but he’s a ‘named player’ so that wasn’t possible.

“At least Lee and Calum returning frees up two players for the second team as they also have a big game on Saturday (at Glenurquhart).

“Thomas Borthwick isn’t there yet, but he is pushing hard for a return in next week’s Macaulay final.

‘Shiel boss Willie MacRae has checked on Archie MacRae and Conor Cormack, who both suffered hand knocks last week.

He said: “Archie is fine. Conor has had an x-ray and, whilst there is no break, there is fluid on his hand, so we’ll leave him until Friday night before making a decision.”

“Jonnie MacAskill is missing, though, as he’s getting married on Saturday.”

Two big weekends in Skye’s top-flight survival bid

Skye Camanachd’s prospects of beating the drop will become clearer over the next two games with trips to the only two sides below them in the top-flight.

They begin with a visit to Peterson Park to play bottom side Glasgow Mid Argyll.

Skye boss Kenny MacLeod said: “We’ll have the same squad as last week as everyone is available.

The Beauly game the week after is a four-pointer, but this weekend is all we are thinking about, and we want a minimum two points.”

Kyles Athletic go after a fifth successive league win when second bottom Beauly visit Tighnabruaich. Both sides are short of key players, however, so squads will be tested.

In the National Division, Glenurquhart are just three steps away from a guaranteed return to Premiership shinty, beginning with a derby against Strathglass at Cannich.

Glen’s final two games are against fellow promotion hopefuls Lochaber and Kilmallie, and three wins will secure promotion.

Kilmallie may be sixth in this competitive eight-team division, but, with five matches still to play, can still claim one of the two promotion spots.

They visit Glendaruel in the knowledge hosts Col Glen dented Lochaber’s promotion chances last week with a 2-2 draw.

With the Camanachd Cup semi-finals taking place on their An Aird pitch, Fort William have given up home advantage and will play their fixture against Inveraray at Ballachulish in what is both sides penultimate match of the season.