THE main feature of Saturday’s shinty card was the Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup final at Kingussie where Skye eventually lifted the trophy for the second time in the club’s history.

They defeated Badenoch 8-6 after a high-tempo match which kept the enthusiastic crowd at the Dell on tenterhooks for the full 80 minutes. This match was a rerun of last season’s final in which the Islanders lost out 4-1 but this year the young Skye side made no mistake and put the emphasis on attack from the off.

In the end, the win was a personal triumph for Skye forwards Lorna Macrae and Abby MacLean, who both bagged four goals apiece – but spare a thought for Badenoch striker Kirsty Deans who managed to hit a hat-trick but still ended up with a loser’s medal.

For Skye manger Robbie Gordon, there was only one way to approach the match: “There is literally nothing between those two teams. They have good players who will always score so we needed to push forward as much as we could and get goals ourselves. It was important that when Badenoch began to get back into the game we did not let our heads go down.”

Despite the Skye game plan, it was Badenoch who opened on the front foot with Deans pushing forward from the middle. The first opportunity of the afternoon fell to Badenoch captain Zoe Reid but she pulled her shot wide. Skye fought back quickly and following a ball up from the midfield by Caitlin MacLean, full forward Macrae dribbled past Badenoch defenders Jeanette McGregor and Rachel Borthwick to open the scoring for the Islanders.

The lead did not last long, however, with Badenoch quickly equalising when Deans broke free on the left to fire the ball past Ferguson from a tight angle to make it 1-1. Badenoch had the upper hand at this stage and Ferguson had to be on her toes to keep out a drive from Badenoch’s Mairi Stewart. Their second goal wasn’t long delayed however and in 11 minutes Stewart had played in Rhona McIntyre who finished well from close range to put Badenoch 2-1 ahead.

The Skye management, mindful of the direct running of Deans from the middle, pulled the experienced Sarah Corrigall back to midfield and gradually the Islanders took control of the game. The equaliser eventually came in 32 minutes when slack defensive marking allowed Macrae to make it 2-2. A quick-fire double then followed from youngster Abby MacLean to give Skye a convincing half-time advantage and when they resumed after the break two equally fast goals from Macrae took the score to 6-2 and made the prospect of any Badenoch revival pretty remote.

Badenoch shinty teams never know when they are beaten though, and strikes from McIntyre and Deans made it 6-4 with time left to claw back the differential. A solo effort from the eventual player of the match Macrae restored Skye’s three goal advantage. When Deans again reduced it to two, Macrae was on hand with another fine strike to make it 8-5. Though a late Badenoch flurry did see Rachel Forbes further reduce the leeway, when Reid hit the Islanders’ bar in the dying moments of the game, it was clear it was not going to be Badenoch’s day.

Earlier in the Mowi Challenge Cup final,the trophy for lower league women’s teams, Lovat beat Inverness 7-1. Lovat goals came from Laura Gallagher (4) and Fiona Urquhart (3). Aisling Healy was the Inverness scorer.