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Shinty: Crunch time at both ends of the Mowi Premiership table

Kingussie manager Iain Borthwick says his side can't afford to slip up when they meet Beauly.

Kingussie manager Iain Borthwick.
Kingussie manager Iain Borthwick.

There is business to be done at both ends of the Mowi Premiership when relegation-threatened Beauly host league leaders Kingussie at Braeview Park on Saturday.

Beauly have no margin for error if they are to beat the drop but last week’s win against Lovat shows they certainly won’t go down without a fight.

Their goal difference is such that Beauly probably need to win both their final matches, against Kingussie on Saturday and Oban Camanachd a week later, and hope either Skye or Kinlochshiel lose all their remaining games, if they are to maintain their top-flight status.

They face a wounded Kingussie side whose defeat at Caberfeidh last weekend means just one point separate’s the top four sides in the division.

The Kings have games in hand on their rivals, but manager Iain Borthwick is keen that there are no further slip-ups.

He said: “This is a must-win game for us and I’m sure the boys are over their Camanachd Cup final hangover and are determined to make up for last week’s loss.

“We’ll have some enforced changes as Robert Mabon has picked up a one game suspension, Rory MacKeachan is on holiday whilst Fraser Munro remains out injured. James Falconer picked up a foot injury last week so we’ll check on him, but Lee Bain will return.”

Shiel and Skye out to make a point

Both Kinlochshiel and Skye still need a point to confirm their safety.

Shiel travel to Tighnabruaich to face a Kyles Athletic side who are just a point off the top of the table.

Kinlochshiel haven’t played for three weeks and their manager Willie MacRae said: “We play Kyles twice during our final four matches of the season, so I took the opportunity to watch them against Skye last weekend and I was impressed by them, especially in the first half.

“We have a few boys missing this weekend. Josh Grant is unavailable so second team keeper Calum Macmillan will be in goal.

“He kept a clean sheet against Kingussie last season, so we have every confidence in him.

“Conor Cormack and WD MacRae are also missing but we’ll include Paul MacRae, and his experience will help us.”

Kyles trio Callum Millar, Will Cowie and Cammy Jack all picked up injuries during the previous week’s win at Skye but all three will be given every chance to prove their fitness.

Skye play Oban Camanachd in Portree and boss Kenny Macleod said: “It will be the same squad as last week for us.

“One thing for sure is that we need to make a much better start to the game than we did against Kyles to at least give ourselves a chance.”

Oban manager Gareth Evans will continue to utilise his full squad for the remaining games this season.

He said: “We’ll be without Lewis Cameron whose partner is expecting their first child this weekend. Daniel Cameron and Blair McFarlane remain out and Craig Macmillan has a hand injury, but Ross Macmillan is back after his suspension.

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Newtonmore still only trail league leaders Kingussie on goal difference and they take the field for the first time in five weeks against Glasgow Mid Argyll at Peterson Park. Co-managers Norman MacArthur and Evan Cheyne are unavailable, so Drew MacDonald and David Cheyne lead the side for what is their penultimate game off the season.

The only remaining issue in the Mowi National Division is who finishes bottom of the table.

That will be decided on Saturday when Oban Celtic and Strathglass play their final games of the season. Celtic are currently a point better off although Strathglass have the better goal different but both sides have formidable final fixtures as the Oban side welcome champions Lochaber to Mossfield whilst Strathglass travel to fourth-placed Kilmallie.

The Women’s Camanachd Association senior and under-16 area representative matches between East and West take place at Mossfield, Oban on Sunday.

The West are coached by Laura Mackay and Sarah Yoxon who said: “We are lucky in the sense that we have a number of players that have played in this fixture before, so they know what to expect.

“However, we also have some new faces to the competition which is exciting.”