Published: 02/11/2017 09:30 - Updated: 31/10/2017 12:55

Patched-up Lovat secure third spot, plus this weekend's games


Lovat’s Marc MacLachlan challenges Oban’s Daniel MacVicar.
Lovat’s Marc MacLachlan challenges Oban’s Daniel MacVicar.
LOVAT finished third in the Marine Harvest Premiership following their 2-1 weekend win at Oban Camanachd.

This was the club’s second best top-flight season after posting consecutive runners-up spots in 2013 and 2014 – and saw them leapfrog Newtonmore at the same time.

Lovat went into this fixture missing a number of key players through suspension and injury.

An accumulation of disciplinary points meant skipper Greg Matheson was sidelined, while defender Callum Cruden’s sending off in the Camanachd Cup final also ruled him out.

An injury sustained in the shinty/hurling international win against Ireland prevented midfielder Craig Mainland taking his place in the team.

Also unavailable for selection were Mainland’s twin brother Martin, Calum MacAulay, Lorne MacKay and Thomas Fraser.

With just five of Lovat’s Camanachd Cup final side at his disposal, Lovat manager Fraser Gallacher was forced to include himself in the starting line-up.

Oban too faced availability issues with notable absentees being keeper Gavin Stobbart, Daniel Lafferty and Daniel Cameron, who like Mainland, was suffering from an injury inflicted while on international duty.

The scoreline remained blank until shortly before the interval when the ball broke to Oban’s Andrew MacCuish inside the penalty, who made no mistake from close range to take his side in to the clubhouse 1-0 ahead.

Lovat’s equaliser came in the 64th minute through Lewis Tawse finishing a well-executed move from the edge of the penalty area.

Two minutes later, Duncan Davidson fired Lovat’s winner when he reacted quickly to pounce on a loose ball after stand-in keeper Cameron Sutherland’s superb save from a Marc MacLachlan drive.

Oban pushed hard to salvage a share of the points, but stout defending from Lovat’s rearguard thwarted their efforts with keeper Stuart MacDonald ably backed up by Drew Howie and Daniel Grieve in protecting their lead.

This was the third time this season that Lovat have come out on top over Oban by a 2-1 result and takes the Kiltarlity club one point above Newtonmore in the final table.

Lovat boss Gallacher, while disappointed at not lifting the Camanachd Cup for the second time in three years, can reflect on a good first season in charge which has seen his team finish above Newtonmore and Kingussie and will take time out to consider his future.

Oban Camanachd and Kilmallie bring the curtain down on the Premiership campaign on Saturday at Canal Park.

This match will throw up at 11.30am to allow the Oban players and travelling support to take in the London Shield Under-17 final at nearby Invergarry involving their juvenile team and Kingussie.

An unplayable An Aird forced the postponement of the outstanding Marine Harvest National Division fixture between Inveraray and Fort William, which has been rescheduled for Saturday.

This leaves Caberfeidh waiting patiently to have their promotion to the Premiership officially confirmed.

Fort are to match the points tally of second-placed Cabers, but a significantly poorer goal difference means Fort would have to defeat Aray by a 14-goal margin to finish above the Strathpeffer side.

With Beauly being unable to field a team to travel to the Granite City to face Aberdeen University for their Marine Harvest North Division One fixture last weekend, the points were awarded to the students.

In Marine Harvest North Division Two, all three fixtures failed to take place.

The Bught Park was unavailable to host the match between Inverness and Kilmallie, while Boleskine and Lochcarron were unable to raise teams for their fixtures against Caberfeidh at Castle Leod and Strathspey at Battery Park respectively, resulting in walkover victories.

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