Camanachd Cup abandoned as conditions put player safety at risk

Torrential rain and a fierce wind made for atrocious playing conditions in Fort William, eventually leading to the abandonment of the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final between Newtonmore and Oban Camanachd.

Oban's Daniel Sloss and Newtonmore's Michael Russell at the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final. Picture: Neil Paterson
Oban's Daniel Sloss and Newtonmore's Michael Russell at the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final. Picture: Neil Paterson

The inclement weather over the previous 24 hours fuelled speculation as to whether shinty’s showpiece match would go ahead and, despite the best efforts of the ground staff, surface water appeared on the field from the outset.

Oban Camanachd started with a strong wind in their favour but it was a first half of few chances. Perhaps more tellingly in relation to the eventual outcome, Newtonmore’s Drew MacDonald went sliding across the ground after losing his balance as he played the ball forward, crashing into a safety barrier.

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Referee Robert Baxter was concerned enough to speak to the teams at half-time, noting that he would call the game off if conditions deteriorated further.

Just four minutes after the restart, Oban Camanachd’s Garry Lord drove into the surface water as he cleared the ball and matters were brought to a swift end. Baxter said: “Player safety is paramount and, with the rain getting heavier, it was my call to bring the game to an end.”

Oban Camanachd manager Stephen Sloss agreed: “It was getting dangerous out there so it was the correct call. The game probably shouldn’t have started but because it’s the final it was given a go. ”

Newtonmore boss Paul John MacKintosh added: “We wanted to finish the game but the referee made the right decision as he has responsibility for player safety. Conditions weren’t great when we started the game and we weathered the first half elements, when there was a big wind in Oban’s favour, and there weren’t too many sliding challenges or injuries.”

The rescheduled final will take place at the same venue next Saturday.

Elsewhere, Kingussie went level on points with Lovat at the top of the Mowi Premiership as James Falconer’s strike and Roddy Young’s hat-trick helped them beat Caberfeidh 4-1 whilst Ross MacRae’s brace helped Kyles Athletic win 3-0 at Lochaber.