Kenny “Nostie” MacLeod Memorial Trophy
Monday, October 1st, 2012 at 10:01AM
Caithness 6-5 Sutherland
On Saturday afternoon Caithness played Sutherland for the second time in the history of the tie. The match was held in memory of shinty enthusiast, the Reverend Kenny ‘Nostie’ Macleod of Thurso Free Church, who died in April of this year. Heavy showers and wind in the morning gave some concern to the organisers of the event, but as the day progressed conditions steadily improved. The occasion began with a vote of thanks to all parties who had helped to make the event possible; this was followed by a speech from a close shinty colleague of Kenny, Mr Paul Stewart of Halkirk. In his speech Paul praised Kenny for his passion, not only for shinty, but for all the things that mattered to him in life. Paul then proceeded to lead the gathering crowd in a round of applause for Kenny.
The game got off to an exciting start when after five minutes Kenny’s niece, Katie Booth who plays for Aberdour Camanachd, pounced on a Sutherland goal keeping error and put the home side into the lead. Sutherland responded quickly when one minute later Donald ‘Dodie’ Mackay sent a twenty yard shot into the back of the Caithness net. Minutes after that, Jamie Macleod ran in to score from close range and give the visitors the advantage. The Sutherland lead was consolidated eight minutes later when Oliver Taveras sent a low thirty yard shot past the Caithness keeper Ruaraidh Stewart. Only two more minutes passed when Sutherland struck again – keeper Stewart didn’t manage to clear his lines and Kyle Clark took the initiative and increased the Sutherland lead to 4-1. It was only a quarter of the way through the game and the spectators, although enjoying the thrills of a goal packed match, were beginning to fear that the home side were going to be at the receiving end of a drubbing. Caithness dug in though, and on the 37 minute mark a deflected 25 yard shot from Lovat player, Duncan Davidson, got past Sutherland goalie, Mark Macdonald. Four minutes later Seb Sandedeki found himself wide of the Sutherland defence with an open goal and made no mistake in guiding it across the line. Annoyed that their lead had been erroded, Sutherland had the last say in the first half when Luke Bruce’s thirty yard shot from the right wing soared into the Caithness goal. Half-time, and it was 5-3 for the visitors.
If the first half belonged to Sutherland, the second half belonged to Caithness. Sutherland should have increased their lead after the fifty seventh minute when they were awarded a penalty. The biggest hitter on the pitch, defender Iain Allison, was beckoned forward from defence to do the honours, but hit wide of the Caithness goal. Caithness started piling on the pressure. A former Kinlochshiel colleague of Kenny’s, Stewart Macrae, showed his class in stiffling Sutherland forays and getting the ball forward to his attack line. The home side’s pressure finally paid off when on the seventy second minute Duncan Davidson brought his goal tally for the afternoon to two, with a fifteen yard shot from the right hand side. Caithness then played their trump card and brought on another Kinlochshiel veteran, friend of Kenny’s, Donald ‘Doe’ Macrae. Fifty eight years old, dressed in jeans, not wearing appropriate footwear, the Sutherland defence must have thought there was nothing to worry about …. how wrong they were ! With the lightness of feet of a teenager, Doe created a merry dance in the Sutherland goal area and in the space of three minutes scored two goals and put his old friend’s side into the lead for the first time. Unfortunately for Doe, he had to leave the field due to injury when he took the full force of a flying ball in the face – thankfully no serious damage was done. In the final ten minutes Sutherland retook the initiative in an attempt to bring the game to extra time, but Caithness held out to clinch the inaugural Kenny ‘Nostie’ Cup.
Shortly after the final whistle, Kenny’s wife Marianna presented medals to the winners and the runners up. Caithness captain Euan Scott and Kenny and Marianna’s daughter Isobel together lifted the trophy. It was a wonderful afternoon of sport and entertainment for all those involved, and the verdict from the Sutherland players and supporters … dissappointed to lose to their neighbours for the second time, but considering the occassion it was appropriate that Caithness won.