REIGNING champions Newtonmore got the first points of their Mowi Premier League season on the board thanks to a comfortable 3-0 away victory against Caberfeidh at Strathpeffer on Saturday. The win came as a relief for ‘More’s serially successful manager PJ MacKintosh, particularly in the light of last weekend’s unexpected 2-0 defeat at home against newly promoted Kilmallie.

“I can certainly say I’m much happier than I was last weekend,” said MacKintosh. “There was a big improvement in how we played against Cabers compared to our opening game.

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Last week we didn’t take any of our chances, this week we were able to finish off our moves with goals, though to tell the truth we should have gone on to score more. All in all though, and bearing in mind we have players like Stevie MacDonald and Ewan Fraser still to come back into the squad, I’m satisfied with what was generally a good team performance.”

It was a performance delivered in miserable conditions, with driving snow at one point in the second half almost threatening the completion of the fixture. By that stage ‘More were well in control having taking the earliest of leads inside two minutes, after wing centre Jamie Robinson had carried the ball forward from midfield. With the defenders slow to come forward to challenge he was able to chip the ball over Caber’s goalkeeper Ewan Pilcher for the opener.

Newtonmore then lost frontman Evan Menzies to injury and while it took them a little time to adjust, they still enjoyed the bulk of the possession. Caberfeidh’s Craig Morrison could have levelled before the halfway mark but despite finding himself clear just outside the D, he fired the ball over the bar from close range.

Menzies’s front-line replacement David MacLean then extended ‘More’s lead in 35 minutes when he controlled a shy knocked forward by Fraser Mackintosh and fired the ball low past Pilcher to make it 2-0.

Newtonmore went on to tighten their dominance of the centre ground, with only Ali MacLennan of the home side’s midfield trio putting up any serious resistance. It was he who provided the shot of the day, from his own half, when he flicked it up for a volley, forcing ‘More keeper Kenny Ross to use his stick to keep the strike out of his net.

The second half followed essentially the same pattern and the only disappointment for the visitors was that their highly rated frontmen did not make more of numerous chances to increase their lead, though the excellence of Pilcher between the sticks was certainly a factor. In the end it was left to yet another midfielder ,Fraser MacKintosh, to show the forwards how to find the net when, finding himself unmarked at the back post in 52 minutes, he completed the scoring with the simplest of tap-ins.

Elsewhere in the Premiership, ‘More’s Badenoch rivals Kingussie passed up the opportunity to pick up both points when they drew 1-1 with visitors Lochaber at The Dell. This was a game which Kingussie dominated after taking the lead in seven minutes when centre Bob MacGregor played in full-forward Roddy Young to drill in a nice finish from just outside the D. Kings then pressed to extend their lead but ultimately lost out to a late Ben Delaney strike.

Finally, in the only other Premiership match of the afternoon to go ahead, home side Oban Camanachd drew 2-2 with Lovat at Mossfield.