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by Alister Chisholm   May 2003


The Sir William Sutherland Cup which was donated by Sir William Sutherland, MP for Argyll-shire, was inaugurated in the 1922-23 season. Its aim was to develop clubs junior Shinty teams by giving then a national competition, the cup draw was made up in local districts, and semi-finals played between winners of those districts.

In the following season a team from Foyers entered and lost out to Beauly in the first round of the Northern district qualifiers.

For the next three seasons Foyers entered the Sutherland, their best run was in 1925-26 season, beating Glengarry by four goals to one after drawing three all away in first round. Fort William were defeated five goals to one away to win the Western district, only to lose out by three goals to two after extra time in the play-off for a semi final place with the Central district winners Newtonmore.

In season 1926-27 Strathnairn made their only appearance in the Sutherland cup, losing away to Foyers in the North West district first round tie.

In the 1927-28 season the Foyers and Stratherrick clubs combined to form Boleskine, whose second team entered the Sutherland for the next three seasons but with no success. Between 1931-32 season and 1935-36 season no team from the area contested the Sutherland Cup, though both Foyers and Strathnairn competed in the Strathdearn cup in some seasons over this period.

In season 1936-37 Stratherrick entered the competition for the first time, losing to Inverness in the district first round.

The following two seasons again saw only Stratherrick  entering the Sutherland, but without progressing out of their district. The Sutherland cup went into abeyance as like all sporting competition for the duration of the Second World War.

On the resumption of play after the Second World War season 1946-47 saw Foyers enter the Sutherland cup playing Caberfeidh in first round at Foyers.

Season 1947-48 Foyers were joined in the central district draw by Strathís Athletic, an amalgamation of the Stratherrick and Strathnairn clubs; both clubs had byes in the first round. In round two Foyers lost by 3 goals to 2 to Inverness at the Factory field, whilst Strathís Athletic beat the winners of the Fort Augustus/Glengarry first round tie, away to reach the District final. At Dumnaglass in the District final, the result was Strathís Athletic 2 Inverness 0 with Willie Cooper scoring the two goals.

Strathís Athletic opponents in the semi-final were Wester Ross, an amalgamation of the Kintail, Glenshiel, Lochalsh & Lochcarron clubs. The game was played at Strathpeffer where Strathís Athletic beat Wester Ross by four goals to two to reach the final of the Sutherland Cup at their first attempt, the scorerís being Willie Cooper 3 goals and Danny Ogilvie.

The Sutherland Cup Final played at Fort Augustus with local referee John Cameron officiating, between Kilmallie and Strathís Athletic resulted in a win to Kilmallie of seven goals to one. Jimmy Macpherson scored the StrathĎs consolation goal.

Kilmallie scored in the first few minutes of the game, Strathís managed to equalise after twenty-five minutes, after that Kilmallie dominated proceedings scoring three before half time. In the second half it was a backs to the wall performance by Strathís to keep the score down. The final team as far as can be ascertained was :-Tommy Macdiarmid, Jimmy, Kenny & Wulstan Macpherson, Willie Cooper, Hugh Fraser, Robin Fraser, Donald Ross, Fachie Macdonald, Ian Macdonald, Bobby Maclean & Danny Ogilvie.

Back L to R; William Batchen (referee), Willie Cooper, Jimmy MacPherson, Tommy MacDiarmid, Wulstan MacPherson, Alister Fraser, Charlie Anderson.
Front L to R; Allan MacDiarmid, Ian MacDonald, Hugh Fraser, Peter Grant, Fachie MacDonald, Bobby MacLean.

Straths Athletic 1950, pictured at the Bught Park Inverness (final of the Strathdearn Cup).
The following season, Strathís beat Foyers 4-1 at Murnich only to lose to Inveroich (an amalgamation of the Fort Augustus and Glengarry clubs) by two goals to nil in the District Final.

Season 49-50 saw only Strathís enter the competition, beating Inveroich three goals to two in District final, only to lose in the next round to eventual trophy winners Portree, by six goals to one.

1950-51 saw Strathís contesting the final once again, with a cup run of

1st round Foyers 0 Strathís Athletic 4 at Foyers (scorerís Bobby Maclean 3, Fachie Macdonald).

District final Strathís Athletic 2 Inveroich 2 at Fort Augustus

District final replay Strathís Athletic 5 Inveroich 0 at Murnich

Quarterfinal Strathís Athletic 1 Glenurquhart 1 at Foyers, game abandoned at half time because of a snowstorm.

Quarter final replay: -Strathís Athletic 4 Glenurquhart 1 at Bught Park, Inverness, scorerís Bobby Maclean 2,Tommy Macdiarmid & Fachie Macdonald. Midway through second half with the score at 3-1, Strathís goal- keeper Sandy Macdiarmid retired injured with a broken leg, there being no substitutes allowed in Shinty at this time. Strathís were compelled to finish the game with eleven men.

Semi- Final Strathís Athletic 5 Portree3 at Strathpeffer, scorerís Fachie Macdonald 2, Bobby Maclean, Sandy Campbell & Hugh Fraser.

Final Spean Bridge 4 Strathís Athletic 3 at Annat, Corpach, scorerís Bobby Maclean, Jimmy Macpherson & Willie Cooper.

The match was fairly even affair in the first half with a few good chances falling to Strathís, at half time the score was one each. In the second half both teams scored again then Spean scored twice to make it four two in their favour. From this point onwards Strathís dominated the match, including using their old ploy of moving Willie Cooper up forward to retrieve the situation. Willie Cooper made it 4-3 with seven minutes to go but to no avail, Strathís did not score again and rued all their missed chances as the cup headed to the Lochaber area. 


Team :- Alister Fraser, Willie Cooper, Wulstan Macpherson, Peter Grant, Donald Chisholm, Hugh Fraser, Tommy Macdiarmid, Allan Macdiarmid, Bobby Maclean, Sandy Campbell, Fachie Macdonald & Jimmy Macpherson.



Picture : Straths Athletic 1949 at Gorthleck hall.

Back L-R Rachel Macintosh, Tim Pow, Ewen MacDonald, John Kennedy, Angus Macgilivray.

Middle L-R Father Thain, Hugh Fraser, Sandy Campbell, Robin Fraser, Tommy Macdiarmid, Allan Macdiarmid, Alister Fraser, Danny Ogilvie, Roddie Macintosh.

Front L-R Wulstan Macpherson, Peter Grant, Bobby Maclean, Col Sopper, Willie Cooper, Fachie Macdonald, Ian Macdonald.

The 51-52 season saw Strathís as the only contestants from our area to enter the cup, but the team now consisted of several Foyers players. After a walkover against Glenurquhart in the first round, they lost to Ness Athletic (Inverness second team) two goals to one in the district final.

1952-53 saw no team from the area entering any competitions, leading once again in the following season to the amalgamation of all the clubs in the district, to reform the Boleskine Club ensuring that competitive shinty would exist in the area.

The Boleskine club found new opposition in the Sutherland cup for the next three years, as they were now drawn in the Badenoch district. They reached the district final in three consecutive seasons, 53-54 losing to Newtonmore five goals to two, 54-55 season, again losing to Newtonmore this time by four goals to one. Season 55-56 saw Boleskine beating Newtonmore four goals to nil in first round, defeating Kingussie six goals to two in the district final, only to lose to Kilmallie by four goals to two in the Quarter final.

The next four seasons Boleskine were drawn in a different district, their opponents now being Glenurquhart and Strathglass.

Season 56-57 Boleskine won the district final, only to lose to Newtonmore in the quarterfinal by two goals to one at Bught Park, Inverness. The next three seasons saw Boleskine win only one game in the Sutherland Cup this coupled with bad results in 59-60 season, may have caused no Boleskine team to enter any competitions in season 1960-61.

On re-entered competitions in 61-62, Boleskine found that the Sutherland cup was now made up of four large districts, North, Central, West and South of which they were placed in the Central district. In the first round at Foyer, Boleskine drew six all with Glenurquhart, only to lose replay by six goals to one at Foyers.

Season 62-63 saw some better results in competitions, due to the youngsters that had been introduced to the team gaining maturity. In the Sutherland first round Boleskine beat Kingussie by six goals to one, the second round saw Newtonmore beaten by six goals to three, however this fine run came to a halt by eventual cup winners Glenurquhart, who defeated Boleskine by four goals to two.

Season 63-64 Boleskine under the guiding hand of Willie Batchen and captaincy of Alister Forbes saw the dream realised,

Round one: - saw Kilmallie beaten at Corpach by four goals to three,  (Scorerís Garry Macleod, Charlie Kennedy and Ken Ross 2).

Round two: - at Foyers, Boleskine beat Lochaber by five goals to two (scorerís Ken Ross 2, Garry Macleod, Ala Macgruer and Hugh Fraser).

Round three: - at Kingussie, Boleskine beat the home team by five goals to two (scorerís Ken Ross 3, Charlie Kennedy and Garry Macleod).

In the semi-final played at the Bught Park Boleskine came out on top against Lochcarron by six goals to four (scorerís Ken Ross 3, Hugh Fraser, John Murray and Caley Maclaren).

The Sutherland Cup Final played in Strachur Boleskine beat Kyles Athletic by four goals to nil, (scorerís Ken Ross, Charlie Kennedy 2 and John Murray) as an extract from local paper reports.

Congratulations to the gallant youngsters of Boleskine, new junior champions. Making the long trip from Foyers to Strachur they had to face a gale and rain against strong favourites Kyles Athletic Juniors. In the early exchanges it seemed if the Kylesmen would go ahead, but Boleskine with captain A Forbes an inspiration had other ideas and held out at the expense of many fruitless corners. After 20 minutes sharpshooter K Ross really settled the north boys with a fine opening goal in a breakaway. The second half saw Boleskine on top, schoolboy winger Charlie Kennedy scoring two opportunist goals, one a great drive from well out.  For some reason the referee blew time five minutes early to signal the end of the second half, Kyles quite rightly protested to this and the game was resumed after the field was cleared of jubilant Boleskine supporters. In this period John Murray scored from the edge of the box settling the issue. Kyles had tried there hardest but they could not crack the North defence. All the Boleskine team played like heroes for their first success in a major competition - A Forbes, G Macleod, W Mackay and J Kennedy were five star men in the outfield,

Back Row, L to R; Ken Ross Sen, Bobby MacLeod, John Murray, Hugh Fraser, Garry MacLeod, Billy Stoddart, Ala MacGruer, Johnny Kennedy, Ken Ross, William Batchen.
Front Row L to R; Caley MacLaren, Charlie Kennedy, Alister Forbes, Alfie Fraser, Billy Mackay. Ala MacGruer did not play in Sutherland final because of injured hand .

With aspirations high for more success in season 64-65 Boleskine started well in the attempt to retain the Sutherland cup defeating Kilmallie by six goals to one in the first round (scorerís Charlie Kennedy 4, Hugh Fraser and Ken Ross). In the second round at Foyers, Newtonmore were swept aside by ten goals to two (scorerís John Murray 2,Charlie Kennedy 2, John Kennedy 2, Hugh Fraser 2 & Ken Ross 2). The third round was against Lochaber who defeated Boleskine by six goals to one, with Ken Ross scoring the consolation goal.

With the disappointing failure of the previous season fresh on their minds, it was with some apprehension that Boleskine approached the 65-66 season. With some tactical positional changes including moving Teep Macdonald up forward this gave the team a better balance and in the first round away to Newtonmore, Boleskine won by five goals to three (scorerís Teep Macdonald 2, H Fraser, Billy Mackay & Ken Ross).

The second round saw Boleskine drawn away against their bogie team of last season Lochaber, the jinx was laid to rest as Boleskine won by five goals to one (scorerís Ken Ross 3, Teep Macdonald & Billy Mackay).

The third round again saw Boleskine heading westwards this time to meet Kilmallie, who they defeated by four goals to one (scorerís Teep Macdonald 2, Charlie Kennedy & Ken Ross).

The semi-final saw Boleskine matched against Lochcarron at the Bught Park, Inverness, the result was a seven goal to one victory for Boleskine, (scorerís Teep Macdonald 3, Charlie Kennedy, Caley Maclaren, Donnie Fraser & Ken Ross).

The 1966 Sutherland Cup Final was played in Town Park, Fort William, Boleskine beat Kyles Athletic by four goals to two, (scorerís Teep Macdonald 3 Billy Mackay) as an extract from local paper reports.

For the second time in three years Boleskine and Kyles Athletic Juniors met in the Sutherland Cup final. At Fort William the Lochness- side boys repeated their 1964 victory to take their second junior championís title by four goals to two.

The game was a triumph for veteran forward W G (Teep) Macdonald who scored three of the winning goals, one a brilliant drive from 30 yards. There was a special cheer when he was presented with his medal by Provost Henderson of Fort William .It was his first winners medal after 20 years of top Shinty.

Billy Mackay was the outstanding personality at centre field, completed the Boleskine score. Paterson and MacNeil were Kyleís scorerís. Boleskine took a big following to the Fort. A bus load of younger boys were in the charge of Shinty veterans Hugh Gray, John Kennedy, Hugh Fraser and Willie Cooper.

Back Row, L to R; Hugh Fraser, Leslie Stoddart, John Brown, Billy Mackay. Bobby MacLeod, Alister Forbes, Teep Macdonald, William Batchen.
Front Row L to R; Caley Maclaren, Donnie Fraser, Charlie Kennedy, Ken Ross (captain), Johnny Kennedy.

Season 66-67 saw Boleskine with high hopes again of retaining the Trophy. In the first round tie away to Lochaber resulted in a three all draw in the replay at Foyers the following week Boleskine beat Lochaber by two goals to one scorerís were (Teep Macdonald and George Rybak). In the second round Boleskine defeated Newtonmore at the Eilan by six Goals to Two (scorerís Ken Ross 4, John Kennedy and Teep Macdonald) The present day Boleskine full back Joey Smith made his depute in this match aged thirteen years old. The third round at Foyers saw Boleskine overcome Kingussie by nine goals to two (scorerís Alister Forbes 3, Donnie Fraser 2, John Murray, Hugh Fraser, Billy Mackay and John Kennedy). The semi-final was played at the Bught Park, Inverness, against the same opponents as the previous season Lochcarron This time it was Lochcarron who prevailed beating Boleskine by six goals to five (scorerís Ken Ross 3 John Murray & Billy Mackay.

With the upheaval locally due to the British Aluminium factory closing down on March 1967, Boleskine did not field a team the next season.

Season 68-69 saw Boleskine beat Aberdeen University in the first round by three goals to one, only to lose six goals to two to Kinlochshiel in the next round.

No Boleskine team entered competitions the following season, due to non- availability of Office bearers (Secretary & Treasurer).

The following season 1970-71 Boleskine fielded a team in the competition, but were knocked out in the first round by Skye two goals to one .The next two seasons first round defeats by Skye and Aberdeen Camanachd respectively, ended our interested in the competition.

Season 73-74 Boleskine played Beauly in the first round away and won by five goals to three, the Second round at Drumnadrochit saw Boleskine overcome Glenurquhart by five goals to two (scorerís Alan Macdonald 3 Hugh Fraser and Ken Ross). At Newtonmore in the third round the home side defeated Boleskine by six goals to Four (scorerís Ken Ross, Alan Ness and Alan Macdonald).

Kilmallie away were our first round opponents in season 74-75, the result was a win to Boleskine by five goals to nil (scorerís Ken Ross 3, John Murray and Alfie Fraser). In the second round at Foyers our progress was halted by Fort William by four goals to two (scorerís Billy Mackay and Ken Ross).

Season 75-76 saw Boleskine entered no competitions due to team raising difficulties.

The following season 76-77 Boleskine regrouped and again entered competitions, this time with a very young side including some fourteen-year-olds regulars (Duncan Macdonald and Hendry Macpherson).

Every season since to the present day the club has managed to enter competitions each year, which is remarkable achievement given the small player pool and scattered community.

In the first round at the Dell, Boleskine lost six goals one to Kingussie, Sandy Steel scored the consolation goal.

The following season also saw a first round exit in the hands of Newtonmore by six goals to three (scorerís Ken Ross 2 and Tony Taylor). Season 78-79 Boleskine had Newtonmore as first round opponents again, drawing three all at Factory Field, only to lose the replay by six goals to nil at the Eilan. The next season saw a first round exit to Caberfeidh at Strathpeffer, by seven goals to two. 80-81 season Boleskine defeated Lovat at Foyers by seven goals to one, in the second round at home they lost by three goals to one to Skye. Season 81-82 saw Boleskine beat Kincraig by six goals to two, but a second round exit from Lochaber at Foyers by four goals to one followed.

The following season again saw a second round exit this time by Glenurquhart at home by two goals to one, this followed a two goals to nil victory over Aberdeen University at Foyers in the first round.

The next Season in the preliminary round Boleskine lost to Newtonmore by nine goals to two at the Eilan.

The Seasons 84-85 through to 86-87, Boleskine were not permitted to enter the Sutherland as they were playing in the North Division 2, so they played in the National Intermediate Competition ďThe Balliemore CupĒ.

For a couple of seasons 87-88 & 88-89 Boleskine entered the Sutherland with a team consisting of players from the under seventeen team and a few retired players. This was to give the youngsters more experience, on both occasions they were drawn against Inverness, losing by eight goals to nil the first time at the Bught Park and the following year they lost again, but by a more respectable score of three goals to one at the Factory Field.

Season 89-90 due to team raising difficulties Boleskine dropped a couple of league division to the North div 4 to enable their younger players to develop. In the first round of the Sutherland they beat Lochaber at home by five goals to one, the second round also at home they narrowly defeated Glenurquhart by three goals to two. In the quarterfinal away to the cup holders Kingussie they lost by nine goals to nil.

The next season Boleskine drew two goals apiece with Skye only to lose by ten goals to nil in the replay at Skye.

Season 91-92 Boleskine made second round exit from the cup beating Inverness at home by three goals to two only to lose to Newtonmore away by four goals to one. Boleskine drew three all with Lochcarron at Foyers in the first round the following season, only to lose the replay by four goals to nil. An away victory against Kilmallie by seven goals to three in the first round of 93-94 season, was followed by a three goals to nil defeat at the Balgate by Lovat in the next round.

Boleskine made first round exits for the next three Seasons. In 94-95 losing away to Fort William three goals to nil, 95-96 a home defeat by Glenurquhart of four goals to two, 96-97 after a two each draw home draw, Boleskine lost by six goals to two away to Fort William.

Season 97-98 in the first round Boleskine beat Kincraig by four goals to three at Foyers, the second round was an away defeat by Glengarry of eight goals to nil. The following season Boleskine had a home win against Skye of three goals to one nil, in the second round tie at the Eilan lost by three goals to nil to Newtonmore. In the 99-00 season at Spean Bridge, Boleskine defeated Lochaber by eight goals to one in the first round. The next round at Foyers, Fort William were beaten by six goals to two. In the quarterfinal away to Glenorchy, Boleskine narrowly lost by two goals to one, after losing two goals in the first ten minutes.

The next season saw Boleskine fail to raise a team for their away first round tie against Skye.

Season 01-02 in the first round Boleskine had a walkover against Lochcarron, against Strathglass at Cannich in the next round the result was a three goals to one victory. At the Dell Kingussie against the home team in the quarter final, Boleskine lost by four goals to two

This season saw Boleskine drawn at home in the first round against Skye, the result was a win to Boleskine by eight goals to two (scorerís Steve Munro 4, Lewis Smith 2, Garry Maclennan 2) . The game was not as one sided as the result suggests, before Boleskine scored Skye missed several good opportunities to go ahead . The second round was another home tie this time against Lochaber, who unfortunately could not raise a team to fulfil the fixture so Boleskine were through to the Quarter final draw.

This draw is an open one so Boleskine faced a long trip down to Inveraray to play the local team. Though under the cosh for long periods, we did look dangerous in the odd breakaways upfield,

things looked bleak when Inveraray scored with eight minutes to go. But a goal by Steve Munro with three minutes left, forced a replay at Inverarnie.

Inveraray were the better team in the first half of the replay and after forty five minutes were two goals to nil up. Some positional changes along with player substitution at half time saw Steve Munro reducing the leeway to one goal only to Inveraray to hit back with a long range shot to make it three goals to one. With only twenty minutes to go and the teams evenly matched things looked ominous for Boleskine then Lewis Smith scored a goal that turned the game. The whole team seemed to click together, inspired by rapturous support from the side lines there was only going to be one winner. With ten minutes to go Steve Munro equalised and with four minutes to go Steve got the winner from a close in, to put us in the semi-final for the first time since 1967.

Craigard Park, Invergarry, was the venue for the semi-final between Boleskine and Kincraig for the right to contest in the final of the Sutherland Cup. This time Boleskine started well, dictating the pace of the game and were three up by half time goals by Garry Maclennan and Lewis Smith brace. After the break Lewis secured a forth goal for Boleskine, but midway through the half Kincraig came more into the game and scored two goals in quick succession. Nervousness crept through the team and supporters at this point, but the team rallied to gain the ascendancy once more, with Steve Munro scoring from close range to put the result beyond doubt.

So now its off to the Dell, Kingussie, for the Final against Newtonmore to find out if the players of today can emulate the heroes of yesteryear and make it three in a row victorious cup final appearances, we wish them well.


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