SHINTY suffered yet another difficult weekend as a result of atrocious weather conditions with the only game to go ahead in either of the sport’s top two divisions being the Mowi Premiership clash between Lovat and Kingussie which ended in a 2-2 draw at Kiltarlity.

This is the second weekend in a row in which both clubs have dropped points but after Saturday’s tied contest the happier of the two managers was Kingussie boss John Gibson.

“It was certainly a solid performance. I was pleased with the character of our boys who never gave up – and kept plugging away on a difficult pitch. All in all though a draw was a fair result. It certainly leaves us in good heart to travel down the road to Newtonmore for next weekend’s Badenoch derby.”

For Lovat, however, the dropped point is definitely an opportunity missed. Though they do head the Premiership and are as yet unbeaten, the hard work of picking up a point at Oban last weekend has now been undermined by an unconvincing home performance.

There was little hint that things would turn out that way as Lovat took a firm early grip on proceedings and pressed forward strongly for the opener. Indeed they were unlucky not to take an early lead when a fierce strike from full forward Marc MacLachlan smashed off the inside of the Kingussie post and rolled clear with no other Lovat forward close enough to knock it home.

Gradually, the Kingussie defenders began to compose themselves under the relentless Lovat pressure with fullback Robert Mabon and in particular half back Rory Mackeachan – who was charged with shackling Lovat’s star forward Greg Matheson – both putting in solid performances.

Eventually, on the half-hour Kingussie’s Ruaraidh Anderson got his side’s first shot on target and though Lovat’s international keeper Stuart Macdonald wasn’t particularly troubled by that attempt he certainly was by the next King’s effort from full forward Roddy Young.

Lovat continued to have the upper hand, however, and just before the halftime break they finally got off the mark when Matheson scored from a tight angle with King’s keeper Dawson seeming to misjudge the pace of the under-hit ball which rolled past him for the opener.

Shortly after the restart, Kingussie were back level thanks to an excellent strike in 49 minutes by wing forward Savio Genini when he pounced on a weak clearance from the Lovat back line to smash the ball low past an unsighted Macdonald.

The next phase of the match then became a more balanced contest with Lovat’s close season signing from Glenurquhart Fraser Heath showing his value when his strong running in the tough conditions eventually created a chance for front man Marc Maclachlan in 65, which the striker accepted gratefully to make it 2-1 for the home side.

With the addition of substitutes Kieran Macpherson in the middle and Ryan MacWilliam giving them a fresh impetus, Kingussie slowly began to turn the game in their favour.

As Lovat tired, Kingussie halfbacks Calum Grant and Alexander Michie pushed up to take control of midfield – and eventually in 90 minutes they got their reward when a touch back from MacWilliam set the ball up for Genini and he steered it high past Macdonald for the equaliser.