Archive for August, 2014

Four Years – A look back at the stats – updated

August 27th, 2014 No comments

Camanachd Leòdhais went into the final game of the historic 2011 season, their very first, hoping to avoid a big defeat to try and avoid conceding more than 100 goals. Four years on, how things have changed.


2011 Final Standing 10th/10 W 1, D 1, L 16, GS 18, GA 101, PTS 3

2012 Final Standing 8th/10 W 3, D 2, L 13, GS 26, GA 69, PTS 8

2013 Final Standing 9th/10 W 3, D 4, L 11, GS 37, GA 62, PTS 10

2014 Final Standing 2nd*/6 W 6, D 2, L 6. GS 29, GA 30, PTS 14


Once the Camanachd Association trial period was vanquished and the Mòd Cup secured, the club was mightily satisfied by the win and a draw secured against Ardnamurchan and Strathglass, which was more than had been expected by the naysayers in the first season.  The goal statistics were secondary and at least, the club had scored on average a goal per game. The main damage was done in the 15 nil loss to Aberdeen Uni, but 8 or 9 goal defeats to Strathglass, Boleskine and Lochcarron did not help the numbers. It was a year for playing shinty and securing league status was the result that mattered.

Lewis Camanachd

In the second season, points were collected nice and early, with a league double over Inverness and points gained with the now legendary 6-6 draw against Strathspey and there was a significant tightening of the defence in those games the team did lose, apart from a disastrous last day 12-0 defeat by a weak side against a rampant championship winning Beauly. It was definite progress and leaping from 10th to 8th made a big difference.

2013 saw Lochcarron first team enter the league but we showed steady improvement, starting with a draw against the fallen giants and eventually beating our previous points record but with a more competitive bottom half of the table, a final day draw against Inverness was all that stopped us from finishing bottom of the league, courtesy of goal difference.

In terms of goals, both Duncan and Will got into a great groove, with both scoring double figures. In terms of the defence, there was a general improvement and the goals against total  would have been even better without a couple of drubbings from Lochaber, who were far and away the best side in the league and therefor it was only 7 less than the previous year’s 69. However, 2013 was in many ways a frustrating year, where going the extra mile to victory seemed to evade us. There were four games lost by a single goal. We let Kilmallie off the hook and there were two sloppy performances against Inverness which cost three points and home form was poor, except for a great home win in the rain against Strathspey.

So on to 2014, and the improvement is there to be seen. The 2014 season has been a shorter season, with only 14 games. The debate regarding the merits or otherwise of the league split is for another day, but Lewis was happy to guarantee a top three finish with a point against Lochbroom. Shawbost has become a less welcoming park for visitors and only regret is that almost all these great performances have been on miserable West Side days, meaning that watching spectators have been kept to the loyal few.

Whilst Duncan and Will haven’t hit the same heights this year, (but still lead the scoring charts) we have seen goals spread around the team, with Donald Lamont returning to a semblance of form and Paul Duke more settled in the forward line. The defence has played well, losing only 30 to this point, and a third of those goals lost came in just two games against Cabers.

All over the park, skills have improved and there has been a good depth in the squad. There has been some great shinty played at times and everyone can be proud of the effort put in this season and the majority of their performances.  There have been defeats and setbacks but how you respond to these is the mark of a true sportsman and we, more often than not, respond well. Four years has gone past in a flash, but it is heartening to know that the bulk of the squad is the same as that which began the journey back in 2011 and before that in 2007, and that there are plenty that came from Boyd MacKenzie’s training still involved.  There is still a long way to go, but we can be proud of our progress as a club to this point.

The end of the season will hold an autumn which will see us focus on our youth system and a winter which will see us mark the 20th anniversary of shinty returning to Lewis in 2015.

*(This article has been updated to reflect that Strathspey have conceded the points for the final game of the season. Whilst second place is not yet confirmed as of 28/8/14, Strathspey require an eight goal margin of victory against Caberfeidh in their remaining game.)


Dukey and Marie’s Big Match – A Tribute to Dukey

August 21st, 2014 No comments

Now comes the time to pay tribute to a man who lives and breathes Camanachd Leòdhais as he prepares for the biggest match of his career this Friday at a slightly more different Caberfeidh than usual.

“Dukey” holds the appearance record for Lewis Camanachd having appeared in 90 matches for the Dubh is Gorm but none will have been as special as what awaits him as he marries his sweetheart Marie MacKay.

Paul, who works in the Gaelic media sector, hails originally from Newtonmore, where he learned his skills up against many of the current Camanachd Cup winning team. Indeed, one of Dukey’s ushers, Scott Campbell, will be dashing off on the late night ferry in order to play in the MacAulay Cup Final in Oban on Saturday afternoon. Scott, who was a Camanachd Cup winning captain in 2011 said “I’m extremely proud of what Paul’s achieved. It’s great that a boy from Newtonmore has left one shinty stronghold to help create a new shinty stronghold in the islands.”

Whilst a student at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Paul travelled to play for Kincraig before work took him to Stornoway. At one time, this would have led to his shinty career going on hiatus but it coincided with the re-constitution of shinty on the island and the first cup matches in 2007. Paul has been a practical ever present since Lewis first played Lochbroom in February of that year.

Minch Cup

The Starting XII V Lochbroom 2007 (Strips on loan from Nicolson Institute)

Paul missed a golden opportunity in the first ever cup match away to Glasgow Mid-Argyll to score Lewis’ first ever senior goal, a penalty miss at 4-nil down but with Lewis having had an extended spell of pressure. Needless to say, some of his older teammates have never let him forget it! Here is a photo of the fateful moment!

Paul had solely a playing role for the club until 2010 when he became co-manager with Eoghan Stewart. Ascendancy to the league in 2011 was to see Dukey step up to the hotseat on his own and guide the team through the first tumultuous season. Whilst never a heavy man, he also credits the league entry with his new trimmer figure. “I’m two stones lighter than I was before we entered the league.”

Masterminding the famous victory over Uist in the Mod Cup in 2011, Paul then continued to oversee an improvement in 2012 but stepped down as manager to dedicate himself more fully to family life through the week. He continued as captain into 2013, contributing to further improvement on the field but Paul’s versatility has sometimes prevented him from having a settled role in the team, playing every position on the park except goalie in his eight season career with Lewis. However, this year he has flourished as a forward with a decent goal return and many years of playing beckon still.

One day he will hopefully be joined by his two sons, Seumas and Angus. Seumas famously almost stopped his father being present at Lewis’ first ever home game, but he arrived safe and sound with plenty of time for his dad to take the field. “I’m really grateful to the club for what it’s done for me. It’s been a big part of my life on Lewis and it’s helped myself and Marie and the boys to make this our home.”

Marie herself is a former secretary of the club and a keen supporter of the club, brought up in Sleat, Skye, where she and Paul met, she is also immensely proud of her Uigeach roots and also works in the Gaelic media.


 Everybody at the club wishes Paul and Marie all the best on the big day; As club manager Iain “Diablo” Sinclair said, “They are a lovely couple and we know they will have many happy years together as they follow the old wedding tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed and something dubh is gorm!”

“Paul’s contribution to the club has been immense. His dedication to the cause combined with his exceptional shinty skills are a big factor in the improving form of the club over its 4 seasons in North Division Three. Sàr dhuine, sàr chluicheadair iomain!”


Paul Duke Lewis Uist shinty

Cabers 5 – Lewis 0

August 16th, 2014 No comments

Congratulations (and not premature ones this time) to our great friends Caberfeidh on winning North Division Three and lifting the trophy today. We obviously felt guilty at pooping their title party at Shawbost so we gave away a few soft goals, which perhaps flattered the champions, although we didn’t deserve to take anything from the game there were bits of the performance which were heartening. We had several players missing and a few in unfamiliar positions, but everyone worked hard and we finished with youngsters Scott MacLeod and Ronan Diablo on the park, as well as Ally MacKenzie getting a decent run out. We never fully tested the keeper although several shots went just wide. It’s been a great season so far and hopefully we can keep building.

Cabers were brilliant hosts as usual, even giving our kind words on Facebook a mention over the tannoy, and we certainly will miss them next year. Hopefully we can fit in a friendly pre-season and you will always get a warm welcome to travel over the Minch as well for a game (or indeed a dram, Fiona and Donald especially!). Paul and Marie’s nuptials next week before the final game of the season against Strathspey on August 30th. Let’s finish with a flourish. Dubh is Gorm!

Strathspey 2 – Lewis 1

August 2nd, 2014 No comments

It took a late Mark Macdonald penalty to give Strathspey a 2-1 win at Grantown On Spey today against our boys in Blue and Black. Strathspey opened the scoring but Donald Lamont scored one of the most spectacular goals in the club’s history from 40 yards to level the match in the first half and was cruelly denied a further cracker for his second moments later due to an offside call. A hard fought match by a young Lewis squad and a great improvement on recent Leòdhasach performances on Speyside, as well as maintaining our second place on goal difference.

Commiserations to Carloway FC who were also on the ferry back after a 2-1 defeat in the Highland Amateur Cup to Avoch. A great buzz around Island sport right now, may it long continue.