Published: 24/08/2017 09:37 - Updated: 24/08/2017 09:44

Promotion rivals set for battle at Fort William

CABERFEIDH head down the Great Glen on Saturday to An Aird where defeat for Fort William would virtually write off any fading hopes they have of gaining one of the two Marine Harvest National Division promotion spots.

The teams have met twice already this season, with Cabers winning 1-0 in the league at Castle Leod, while Fort came out on top after a penalty shoot-out in the final of the Balliemore Cup at Drumnadrochit last month.

Cabers, along with Skye, look the two most likely teams to finish in the top two with victory essential for Cabers if they are to pip Skye to the title.

However, for the Strathpeffer side to do this, they not only need to defeat Skye in Portree in a week’s time, but would also need the islanders to drop points in the other two matches they have.

These fixtures, at home to Inveraray, and away to Fort William will be far from easy for Skye.

Beauly take on Inveraray at Braeview Park seeking revenge for a 5-1 defeat suffered at The Winterton on the opening day of the campaign.

Aray, like Fort William, still have a very slim chance of a top two finish, however this would virtually be destroyed should Beauly make home advantage pay.

National Division leaders Skye, meanwhile, will be aiming to become the first club from outwith shinty’s top tier to compete in a Camanachd Cup final when they take on holders Newtonmore in a Bught Park semi-final showdown on Saturday.

Skye have been performing consistently in the National Division and look set to make a quick return to the top-flight next season.

Their management team of Willie Cowie and Peter Gordon were members of the only Skye side to lift the Camanachd Cup back in 1990 through a 4-1 victory over Newtonmore, and these two wily campaigners are sure to call upon all their experience to engineer another famous victory over Newtonmore.

Many will point to the fact that More are at their most dangerous after a defeat and, with their second half collapse against Kyles last week in the MacAulay Cup final, there will be careful analysis of the factors that led to that defeat.

Manager P J MacKintosh will think long and hard about his on field options with a view to ensuring his team confirms their place in the final and go on to retain the trophy.

The teams have met already on cup business this season, with More winning a MacAulay Cup first round tie by a 3-1 scoreline in Portree in late April.

With the match live on BBC ALBA, the throw-up is at 4pm.

As the Marine Harvest Premiership campaign heads towards its climax, Kyles, along with Kinlochshiel, are the prime contenders for the title.

Although Newtonmore are not out of it with matches against both coming up, they need these teams to drop points elsewhere as well.

On Saturday, Kyles head north to face Kingussie and this will be one of the rare occasions where those of a Newtonmore persuasion will be hoping Kings can record a win and do them a massive favour in to the bargain.

Kyles were 3-1 winners when the teams met at Tighnabruaich in early June and Kings will do well to contain a rampant Kyles attack that has netted 19 goals in their last three matches.

Lochaber are running out of games to remove themselves from the relegation zone with Saturday’s clash against Camanachd Cup finalists Lovat at Spean Bridge being their penultimate game of their programme.

A home win would open up a three-point gap on eighth placed Glenurquhart which would leave Glen having to win both their remaining matches to go above them.

Lovat’s mid-table position leaves them relatively free of relegation worries, however the Kiltarlity side will be keen to prepare well for their big day at the Bught in five weeks against Skye or Newtonmore by racking up a few confidence-inspiring wins.

There was little to separate the teams when they met at Balgate in May, with Martin Bell’s early goal earning Lovat a 1-0 victory.

Kilmallie, currently occupying the second relegation slot, travel to Mossfield Park desperately needing of points when they face Oban Camanachd for the first time this season.

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