TUESDAY, JUNE 5
Tomatin United 3 Strathspey Thistle Colts 1
I have spent the day on a spectacular, deserted, sun-drenched beach near Aberdeen and am now making my way towards The Cairngorms for a Badenoch & Strathspey Welfare League match in the evening.
My route takes me through Braemar and then across the moor-covered Lecht summit, ominously shrouded in thick cloud. I basically follow the route The Olympic torch relay will be taking in a couple of weeks’ time. Magnificent!
Tomatin United play in the tiny hamlet of Raigbeg on the banks of the River Spey. It is at the head of the Findhorn Valley, colloquially known as ‘Eagle Valley’ amongst birdwatchers.
I join 29 spectators and five million midges (did you know it is only the females that bite? Insert your Sunesque sexist joke here…) to watch the game in this superb setting.
Scheduled start time is 7.15pm but we are underway at 7.05pm. The stand-in linesman is using his flag to waft away the midges, which causes some initial confusion. The players dash about enthusiastically, no doubt trying to outrun their insect pursuers!
There are some excellent youngsters on show. Colts take the lead through a penalty and then add to it on the stroke of half time, or so I thought. United put on a determined show in the second half and snatch a win by the odd goal in five, or so I thought. They even miss a penalty; the crowd giggle when it is scuffed wide. In summary, it is a cracking match.
The evocative bubbling call of the curlew accompanies the referee’s final whistle and the spectators are finally able to seek refuge from the drizzle and pesky insects.
Imagine my surprise when I read the local pape’s report on Tomatin’S excellent “3-1 victory”!!! Either I am going crazy or the report is incorrect. It turns out I am going crazy.
The Strathspey goal on the stroke of half-time must have been disallowed (he was miles offside when his cross-cum-shot went sailing over the keeper). Maybe I will never know but I am aggrieved to have been mysteriously robbed of a goal!