An ath cheum. The next step. A historic first step into the unknown -a quarter-final cup clash most island football fans never dared to believe a local club would take part in.
Later today (Saturday, October 5) will see the history of Hebridean football rewritten as the newly formed Lewis and Harris Football Club cross the white painted battle lines at Dalmore Park, Alness, carrying on their shoulders the hopes and dreams of an entire chain of islands.
Lining up against our Lewis and Harris heroes are host club Alness in the North Caledonian Cup quarter-final. Alness are on a rampant roll as witnessed by Lewis and Harris manager Billy Flower who watched on as his side’s forthcoming opponents steamrollered Sutherland in a one-sided affair.
But Flower, who has led the Lewis and Harris Select, from which the new club was born, to a huge haul of honours in recent years including back to back Midsummer Tournaments, can’t wait for kick-off.
“The feeling amongst the boys is that the build up to the game has been going on for quite a while now and now that the brochure launch, strip launch and meeting the sponsors is over, they can concentrate on what they are best at doing which is showing their skills out on the grass,” he rallied.
“We go into the game with a squad of 17 with one major injury worry which we will keep in the camp for the moment.
“The boys have trained well and played well in the practice match last weekend where we used continuous rolling subs to adapt to different formations and permutations
“Everybody looked sharp and ready for the challenge and the players are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday in the North Caledonian Cup.”
Flower made the most of a free weekend to scout his side’s quarter-final opponents leaving him with plenty to ponder and a pad full of notes – but the manager is full of confidence in his own boys.
“I was out in Alness recently to watch the opposition and there is no denying that they are a step above what our boys are used to
“Regular, weekly training and competitive match football was very evident in their performance.
“They were sharp and clinical in a 6-1 victory over Sutherland,” he continued.
“There’s no denying they are a very good side but, you know what, so are we!! Bring it on!”
Lewis and Harris vs Alness will take place this Saturday (October 5th) at Damore Park at 1pm.
A supporters bus is available for anyone wishing to attend the match with a rock bottom price of just £10 set for a return trip from Ullapool.
Any supporters keen to travel must register their interest and have their name added to the list in Sportsworld, Stornoway, as soon as possible.
The Stornoway Gazette will be there to bring you every kick of the action, post-match reaction and images.
See next week’s Stornoway Gazette for all the action from Dalmore Park.