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Kyles win MacAulay Cup

By SPP Reporter

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NEWTONMORE were left pondering what might have been after Kyles Athletic staged a late fightback in Saturday’s Artemis MacAulay Cup final at Oban to stun the Badenoch side with a 2-1 victory.

With the Newtonmore side defending a 44th minute goal from John MacKenzie, Kyles’ captain Dunkie Kerr scored a dramatic equaliser with just three minutes of the match remaining.

It was a deserved leveller for Kyles and the stage seemed set for extra-time. But with just seconds remaining, Roddy MacDonald sprinted on to a crossfield ball to fire a 20-yard drive beyond Michael Ritchie in the ’More goal.

Newtonmore fans were left in disbelief as for long periods of the match they looked on course to celebrate their first MacAulay triumph since 1986, particularly after a first half performance during which they looked the more confident side and perhaps should have built a more commanding lead.

Danny MacRae, however, struggled to make an impact against a Kyles defence that was well marshalled by Donald Irvine. Behind Irvine was the peerless Kenny MacDonald, the Kyles goalkeeper who at the age of 47 was picking up his second winners medal, 22 years after collecting his first.

Kyles proved the fitter team on the day and in the end that may have proven decisive in the latter stages.

With two trophies won, Kyles’ biggest challenge remains the Scottish Hydro Premier Division where their main rival will again be Newtonmore.

In the only match in the top league to take place, Kilmallie held Kingussie to a 1-1 draw with the goals coming in the first half through James Hutcheson in two minutes for the Kings and Michael Rodger for Kilmallie nine minutes later.

Dornie became the party capital of Wester Ross after Kinlochshiel clinched the Marine Harvest North Division One title and with it promotion to next season’s Premier Division.

Their 5-1 win over Skye in Portree sparked wild celebrations and dispelled memories of the dark days of the mid-90s where the very existence of the club fell into doubt.

A lack of players had forced the club to disband their reserve side, but a gradual rebuilding has seen the club rise to become one of the strongest area league sides in the sport.

Saturday’s victory over West Coast rivals Skye maintains ’Shiel’s 100 per cent record in the league and sees them crowned champions with two matches to spare.

Elsewhere, Caberfeidh’s 2-1 win at Spean Bridge ended Lochaber’s outside chance in the league.

Glenurquhart’s match in North Division Two was postponed after Kilmallie’s Canal Parks pitch was ruled unfit to stage the two matches scheduled.

Fort William stay in contention for the title after a 3-2 win against Glengarry, while the battle to avoid the drop intensifies after Skye were hammered 5-1 by Lochaber and Kinlochshiel dropped a point following their 1-1 draw with Kingussie.

In North Division Three, two matches ended in walkovers after Ardnamurchan and Strathglass were unable to raise a team for the matches at Caberfeidh and Aberdeen University respectively.

Beauly secured second spot in the league with a 5-2 win at Inverness. In their penultimate match, Boleskine had a fine 5-3 win at Lochcarron.

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