Last gasp leveller earns point for Lewis

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Strathglass 3
Lewis 3

It was a real case of better late than never as Lewis Camanachd left everything to the last minute on Saturday.

First up was the saga of the ferry, the Isle of Lewis was out of commission so it was the Clansman which eventually landed the islanders in Ullapool at 11am.

This delay resulted in throwup being moved to 1.30pm but with the days still short, the game eventually got going around 1.15pm to cater for the Strathglass first team game against Skye which was directly afterwards.

It was a rough crossing and the sluggishness that this induced was perhaps evidenced as Strathglass managed to score a very soft goal in which all members of the defence really should have cleared with ease. Brian MacKay was the Cannich sides scorer.

Lewis rallied and did not panic, but Iain ‘Diablo’ Sinclair did make a swift tactical change brining on Seumas Charity to replace Calum ‘Stompy’ Stamper after 15 minutes.

Scott Murray was in mercurial form in the middle of the park and he and Lewis started peppering the target with shots. Will Church popped up to gain his first league goal of the season with a flick past the keeper on the 25 minute mark.

The rest of the half remained without any additional score however Charity almost scored the goal of the season with a streaking 50 yard shot from the sideline which the young Glass keeper dramatically saved.

Going into the second half, Lewis looked confident and comfortable but a tactical switch for Strathglass brought on veteran Ivor MacLeod who through guile and skill negated the presence of Murray in the middle of the park.

Although the game remained finely balanced, a period of Strathglass pressure resulted in the home side taking the lead once again. Young Lawrence Jones trundled the ball into the net from 20 yards, whether goalkeeper Conor MacDonald could have and should have done better, the damage had already been done by the defence yet again making a meal of clearing the ball.

The islanders showed their resilience yet again as full forward Duncan MacIntyre was hauled down in the box with around twenty five minutes to go during a spell of extended pressure. The ex-Glengarry man, now living in Lochs, despatched the ball between the keeper’s legs.

With ten minutes left, Lewis hearts sunk as Strathglass wheeled out Robert Geddes, shinty’s second highest scorer of all time. Although now in his 50s, this man knows the way to goal still. It was therfore ironic that he almost claimed the victory through an ignominous looping deflection with three minutes left.

Lewis gave it all in the last three, and captain Paul Duke made a quick swap with Scott Murray and it was Murray’s darting run which gained a set piece which resulted in Will Church grabbing his second and another crucial equaliser in the dying seconds.

The result means it is a third draw in as many years at Cannich, a return to scoring form for the islanders but also a warning for the need to eliminate soft goals which are giving opponents too easy a ride.

Iain Sinclair said: “Unbelievable, we showed great team spirit and I cannot praise the guys’ dedication to the cause enough.”

This Saturday, Lewis face Lochcarron in what promises to be a testing encounter. The Wester Ross side have consolidated to one team and were expected to walk North Division Three by some pundits, however they have slipped to two defeats against Lochbroom and on Saturday 6-4 to Kilmallie. Therefore, it may be expected that they will be gunning for the islanders.

Elsewhere in the division, Lochaber defeated Boleskine, Lochbroom continued their fine start to the season with a 3-0 win over Lochbroom and Cabers won by the same scoreline at the Bught Park v Inverness.

Youth training as always continues apace with Boyd MacKenzie and John Nally at 10am to 12noon at Stornoway Primary on Saturdays as well.