The fixture was first proposed in 2007 when Sean MacLeod approached Caroline MacLennan, director of the Hebridean Celtic Festival about including a shinty match as part of the Festival Fringe. At this point the Saturday of the festival was quieter than the Friday, and so having provided a trophy, the Festival left the club to organise the game.
The fixture was started in 2007 but with Uist unavailable the game was played between Camanachd Leodhais and a Hebcelt Allstars team which had some guests over for the festival cameo. This was played at the old Acres Pitch which is now a car park. Lewis won 3-0. There are no photos in evidence!
The Festival made the game a more formal part of the programme the next year. The 2008 version was played over two legs, with the first game held at Sgoil Phaibil in North Uist at Easter. Lewis won that game 4-2, but the game at Smith Avenue grass pitch on the Saturday of the Festival was a close 2-2 draw, with Lewis grabbing the draw in the final seconds to secure the cup.
In 2009, there was a cloud over proceedings with the recent death of Craig Morrison. On a rainy day which seemed to reflect the mood, in that sense the result was secondary although Uist played well to win 3-0, their first win in the competition and the first time the fixture was played at Bayhead. The picture at the top is also from that fixture with Lewis’ Scott Murray competing for the ball with Uist’s Steven Morrison as Sean “Rubens Banterchello” MacLeod looks on.
In 2010, Lewis made an emphatic 4-1 win as the fixture returned to Bayhead, with Titch Morrison, Calum Stamper and Paul Duke piling in the goals. The weather again was fairly inclement in the run up, but the game still drew a sizeable crowd as the weather improved rapidly in the second half.
2011 saw a Lewis team in their first season in the North leagues up against a Uist side who put up a good fight (although the fixture was reduced to 10 a side) in a 3-2 classic in blazing sunshine. Perhaps upwards of 500 people attended the match.
In 2012, Uist, with a couple of mainland additions caught Lewis napping and won the cup 2-1 on penalties after a 2-2 stalemate. There was some more fine weather and another bumper crowd, which meant a good day for Hebridean Shinty no matter the result.
2013 saw a dominant Lewis performance under the tutelage of Iain ‘Diablo’ Sinclair as the team made amends for the previous year with a 7-0 demolition of the Southern islanders. Duncan MacIntyre scored 4 in a complete performance against a strong Uist side.
2014 was a 4-0 win for Lewis with goals from Will, Duncan, Ally and Dukey. It was another win for Diablo’s troops over another strong Uist side.
2015 was another win for Lewis to make it 3 in a row for the first time. It was a tighter game with Uist restricting Lewis to only two goals, king of the Hebcelt Duncan scoring alongside Connor Chalmers. Diablo retired as manager having never lost the cup.
2016 saw a controversial last minute move to the astro at Smith Avenue, which robbed the game of appearances by Will Church and Keith “Trumisgarry” Macdonald but it was an entertaining match for what it was. Donald Lamont matched Duncan’s 2013 four goal haul alongside 2 from Scott MacLeod in a 6-nil game. However, Uist were much better than the scoreline suggested and Graham Black of Uist was a deserved man of the match.
2017 saw Uist up their game with Keith back in midfield and some new signings. It was the closest match in years and Lewis were pushed all the way for a 4-2 win. Dougie Shaw grabbed a brace alongside David Cleary and Paul Duke’s efforts to make it 5 in a row.
2018 saw Uist grab the cup with a fantastic perfomance against a Lewis side who were performing well in the league that season. They won 5-3 to stop six in a row and take the trophy south for only the third time.
2019 saw honours even at full-time after a 1-1 draw. The penalty shootout was won by Lewis, avenging their 2012 defeat.
2022 saw Uist win the cup again for the first time since 2018, and 10 years since their epic 2012 win. Lochcarron’s Kenny Cushnie was a strong featured guest who won man of the match, but Uist legend Keith Trumisgarry Macdonald was key between the sticks for the Southern Islanders. There is also this sure to be iconic photo of Rab and Gaga.