Published: 03/08/2017 09:30 - Updated: 01/08/2017 11:48

Pressure on Kinlochshiel and Kilmallie in Kirkton clash

A FIRST Marine Harvest Premiership title is within the grasp of Kinlochshiel, who have reserved their best performances for the league this season.

With the Tartan Heart Festival taking place at Belladrum this weekend, many clubs have requested a free day, meaning a limited fixture programme this Saturday and Shiel’s clash with Kilmallie at Kirkton is the pick of the bunch.

A victory for Shiel looks a foregone conclusion, however the Caol club’s manager Mark MacPherson will be determined to make it tough for their hosts to give his side – currently sitting alongside Glasgow Mid Argyll at the foot of the table – a chance of avoiding a quick return to the second tier.

With points crucial to both teams for different reasons, this could prove an absorbing tussle.

Kyles Athletic also have home advantage, which they will be expected to exploit when Lochaber provide the opposition.

The season was going exceptionally well for Kyles until recently, however back-to-back defeats by Newtonmore and a hard-fought draw against Kinlochshiel has seen the Tighnabruaich team win just once in their last four matches.

A 4-2 win for Kyles was the outcome when the they met at Spean Bridge on the opening day of the season, however Lochaber can look back to last season for inspiration when they defeated Kyles 2-1 in a Camanachd Cup third round replay after drawing 2-2 at Tighnabruaich.

Glasgow Mid Argyll are also desperately seeking points to lift themselves off the bottom and will be hopeful they can obtain some joy when Camanachd Cup semi-finalists Oban Camanachd visit Peterson Park.

While GMA have taken just three points from their seven home league fixtures to date, only Kingussie and Lochaber have defeated them by more than one goal.

A win for Oban, sitting in sixth spot right now, would go some way to removing themselves from the relegation equation.

With Caberfeidh being idle, Skye have the opportunity to take over pole position in the Marine Harvest National Division and should do so at the expense of visitors Oban Celtic.

A league double over a side they defeated 3-1 earlier in the season will be the target of the islanders.

Fort William need a win at Inveraray to maintain their promotion push in the only other fixture in this division.

This will be the first of two meetings between the teams and only two points separate them. An Aray win would move them level on points with third-placed Fort.

The weekend action starts tomorrow with the Badenoch derby between Kingussie and Newtonmore at The Dell which will be broadcast live on BBC ALBA.

Kings go in to this duel three points ahead of their rivals in the Premiership table, however with three games more played, Newtonmore look better placed at this moment in time.

More still have their eyes focused on catching pacesetters Kinlochshiel and Kyles and, if P J MacKintosh’s men are to achieve their objective and make it eight titles in a row, defeat at the hands of Kingussie is unthinkable.

More appear to be building up a fair head of steam as the season goes on, and with an interest in all competitions, three further pieces of silverware to add to the MacTavish Cup already in the trophy cabinet, a grand slam is still there for taking.

Standing in their way will be a young, but rapidly developing Kingussie side who will enjoy nothing better than defeating their oldest rivals to throw a spanner in the works of their title dream.

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