Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Thank Goodness For The Clach - Inverness Clachnacuddin 1 Forres Mechanics 0 - Scot-Ads Highland Football League - 29/12/07

My mini Highland break was supposed to provide me with the chance to see three games during the week, unfortunately global warming does not yet seem to have affected this part of the World! Travelling up on the Friday night I had a sense of what was to come as we wnt through patches of freezing fog in The Borders, saw the temperature plummeting to -9 degreec Celcius around Glasgow and the whole of Inverness a glorious white colour as we drove to our destination. Needless to say all games on the saturday were postponed due to frozen pitches and I had to go to the pub instead.
Still, an afternoon in The Clachnharry Inn is never too much of a hardship! As I sipped my pint of Isle of Skye Red Cuillin I wondered how cold it would have been on the terraces of Elgin City or Nairn County.

My midweek fixture was going to be at Ross county, and the day before it looked good, the pitch was playable if a little soft after a bit of a thaw. Then the temperature dropped once again, the game was called off overnight (the opponents were Stranraer, that's a hell of a journey for a last minute postponement) and I was stuck again. Johhny Foxes and The Castle Tavern provided some comfort though.

I was determined to see one game before I went home and the secretary of Clachnacuddin was contacted three times before he finally convinced me that their match with Forres was definitely on! So me and Cameron took a stroll along the banks of the River Ness to The Lilywhite's ground in the rather less than salubrious Merkinch area of the city.

Grant Street Park is not a ground to go to if the thought of a Highland League game conjures up images of distant snow-capped mountains and majestic lochs! It is set back just behind a railway bridge surrounded by houses and a whitewashed, razor wire topped wall. Inside isn't so bad, there's a tidy seated stand down one side and a large, if rather leaky, terraced stand at the far end. The other side to the seats has a typical Highland League grass bank and the rather ugly, shed-like clubhouse, changing rooms and snack-bar complete the ground. The clubhouse was a warm haven from the cold wind and sleet that greeted our stroll to the ground but the choice of beverages wasn't great unless you like lager!

'Clachnacuddin' literally translates from the Gaelic as 'The place of the washing stones', I wouldn't fancy washing my clothes on a stone in the Moray Firth in this weather!

Both teams were mired in mid-table before this game and to be honest it was a mid-table sort of match. Clach were the better side for most of the first half, carving out several chances that their forwards contrived to miss in a variety of ways. Clach got the basics right, get the ball down (essential in the swirling wind) get it to the wings, get the crosses in and get an attempt in on goal, the bit that was missing was the 'get it on target' bit!

HT and a very nice scotch pie and a warming black coffee, no return to the clubhouse, I don't drink lager.

Second half, muc of the same, Clach continued to press, Forres huffed and puffed with little end product and my first 0-0 of the season was looking increasingly likely. Then a speculative low cross came in from the Clach right, a Forres defender got an unneccesary touch to it and the ball rolled slowly on off the far post for the winner. This finally woke up a fairly soporific crowd and we actually had a chant in support of the home club rather than a barrage of abuse aimed at Forres.

Rushed home to find out that Tamworth had lost again, this time to Klattering and then hit the whiskey in a bid to warm up.

Attendance: 180 (Heid count!)
Admission £6, Cameron free.
No programme but teamsheet available on request.


Alex said...

lovin the 'heid count' quip. My brother showed me a newspaper interview with the Livingstone chairman once which made me laugh, he said he'd brought Richard Gough to the club to give the fans some good old fashioned "blood and snotters" football. Love it.

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