Shinty sits out storms but season's coming!
SHINTY'S recent uneasy relationship with the weather continued as the final round of pre-season friendlies almost all failed to beat the elements on Saturday.
Kingussie and Caberfeidh were scheduled to contest the Bill MacPherson Memorial Plate but unplayable fields at Dunbarry and Kincraig led to a Friday afternoon postponement.
Kingussie quickly arranged a Saturday afternoon training session at Dalfaber and the sides will try again to honour Bill MacPherson this Saturday as they meet in the Mowi Premiership.
The Caberfeidh and Kingussie reserves were also due to meet at Castle Leod but this game was also postponed on Friday.
The wintry conditions were such that Newtonmore were forced to call off their Open Day earlier in the week and there was a sense of inevitability as Saturday's friendly with Fort William fell on Friday afternoon.
'More have at least managed one pre-season outing with their early February win over Beauly.
Strathspey Camanachd had planned to play the Inverness second team at the Bught Park outside pitch but that also fell foul of the weather.
However Glenurquhart and Strathglass beat the elements at Blairbeg, where the Glen retained the MacDonald Cup with a 3-2 victory in their 2pm throw up.
Managers John Gibson of Kingussie and Newtonmore's Orsten Gardner have made their choices, confirming their "named 10" player pools ahead of the new shinty season which starts on Saturday.
Each two-team club is required to submit a list of ten recognised first team players (the player pool) who will not be eligible to play in any league or cup competition matches for their reserve team. Amendments can be made to the player pool but not after August 1.
As well as those in the player pool, a player is also ineligible to play in league matches for their club's reserve team if they have played 75% or more of the clubs scheduled first team league matches and they are ineligible to play in second team cup matches if they have played five first team games.
A player under the age of 17 on January 1 of the year of competition is exempt.
Kings boss Gibson has gone for 10 players who served him so well last season as he chose defenders Robert Mabon, Calum Grant, Rory MacKeachan and Alexander Michie as well as midfielders Fraser Munro and Kieran Macpherson as well as attackers Ruaridh Anderson, Roddy Young, James Falconer and Savio Genini.
Mowi Premiership champions Kingussie begin the defence of their trophy against Caberfeidh at the Dell. Gibson has all of last year's successful squad at his disposal once more as well as Thomas Borthwick, Ryan Borthwick and Dylan Borthwick who are all training and available again after time out through injury and other commitments.
Kingussie and Caberfeidh will also contest the Bill MacPherson Memorial Plate called off from last weekend.
New 'More boss Orsten Gardner has also selected his first player pool. There is a place for Owen Fraser who replaces Kenny Ross in goal. Iain Richardson, Rory Kennedy, Andy MacKintosh and Craig Ritchie join him, as do Jamie Robinson and Steven Macdonald. Iain Robinson, Drew MacDonald and Michael Fraser make up a strong pool.
Newtonmore are keen to wrestle back the title they have won eight times over the last 10 years and they open their Mowi Premiership campaign this weekend with a journey west to play Kinlochshiel at their newly named Rèaraig Park. The sides met at the same venue at the end of last season when Duncan "DA" MacRae's late goal gave the hosts a 1-0 win, but both sides will be much-changed for this one.
Elsewhere in shinty's top flight, Oban Camanachd travel to newly promoted Glasgow Mid Argyll without Lorne Dickie and Gary McKerracher while the Glasgow side have added Ewen Fraser from Newtonmore. Oliver MacRae has re-joined Kinlochshiel.
Mowi North Division 1 champions Kinlochshiel, with Peter Ross in charge, welcome their Kinlochshiel counterparts to the Eilan whilst the Kingussie seconds travel to Caberfeidh.
In Mowi North Division 2, Strathspey co-managers Donald Colville and Mark MacDonald lead their side against Aberdeen University at Grantown Grammar School.
Related article: Pre-season shinty fixtures hit by Storm Dennis