Published: 22/06/2017 09:00 - Updated: 22/06/2017 09:23

Balliemore Cup final spot is prize for shinty rivals

A PLACE in the Balliemore Cup final is at stake when neighbours Beauly and Caberfeidh meet at Braeview Park in a high noon showdown on Saturday.

Cabers, who lifted this trophy five times between 1995 and 2000, share the record for most triumphs with Bute.

After losing last year’s final to Kilmalllie, a Cabers team bolstered by the return of influential Scotland internationalist Kevin Bartlett to their forward line will be keen to go all the way this time and top the list of all time winners in their own right.

Beauly, whose only Balliemore Cup success came in 2015, have lost a number of key players since that 5-3 final win over Glasgow Mid Argyll.

This year, powerful midfielder David MacLean has moved to Newtonmore, while stylish defender Ryan MacKay has joined Caberfeidh and will line up against his former team-mates on Saturday.

These are losses new boss Alan MacRae has had to deal with as he tries to shape a young side into one that can challenge for league and cup honours.

Cabers have been considerably more prolific in the goalscoring stakes this year with their defensive record also proving to be significantly better than Beauly.

Cabers have fired 22 goals in six league matches this season conceding only five in contrast to Beauly’s 10 goals scored with 16 against.

These statistics very much indicate a Caberfeidh win, however with local bragging rights at stake, Beauly will be determined to prove the form book wrong as they seek revenge for a 3-0 league defeat inflicted upon them by Cabers in late April.

Two attractive Artemis MacAulay Cup quarter-finals appear on Saturday’s fixture list.

At Balgate, Lovat will look to continue an impressive run of results when Lochaber stand in their way of a place in the north area semi-final.

Lovat have lost just once, a 5-0 defeat away to Kyles Athletic, in their last eight matches and can go in to this with confidence.

Lochaber, after taking a while to break their points duck in the Premiership, have taken five points from their last three matches and have also shown up well in cup competitions.

An early Martin Bell effort gave Lovat a 1-0 victory at Balgate in the previous meeting of these teams last month.

The winners will go head-to-head with either Newtonmore or Fort William, who meet at The Eilean.

This will be the third time the Premiership champions have met Fort on cup business this season, with More being forced to fight hard to progress on the previous two occasions.

’More came out on top by a 2-0 margin in a MacTavish Cup first round tie followed by a 3-1 Camanachd Cup second round win just three weeks ago.

There are also a number of Marine Harvest league fixtures scheduled.

In the Premiership, Mark MacPherson’s Kilmallie are in desperate need of points when they travel up the Great Glen to meet Glenurquhart at Blairbeg Park.

Just one win and a draw since promotion from the National Division have left Kilmallie languishing at the foot of the table.

A win on Saturday would take Kilmallie level on points with two of their basement department rivals, Lochaber and Glasgow Mid Argyll, and this will be a situation MacPherson will be urging his team to make happen.

Glen sit mid-table and boss Iain MacLeod will be aware that his team need to take points from matches such as this with a win going a long way to distancing his team from the relegation equation.

At The Dell in the only other top-flight fixture, Kingussie meet Kinlochshiel.

While Kings lie second in the table and can go within one point of leaders Kyles Athletic should they defeat ’Shiel, it is their opponents with just three points dropped but with three matches less played, who are in a better position regarding title honours.

The south area senior championship final takes place at Taynuilt where Kyles Athletic face Oban Camanachd with the prize up for grabs being the Gregor Cameron Celtic Society Cup.

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