15th August 2009 - The Appin Fives
We were invited to Appin to take part in the football competition at the Appin Agricultural Show when we were at the Scotspurs Sevens and, despite the short notice, we managed to get a squad of six for what was a five a side tournament.
Crossers, Craig and Mr C remained from the Edinburgh squad and they were joined by Psycho, Calum MacDonald and his brother-in-law Tam.
Although we have played Appin at elevens in Glasgow, Oban and North Connel, we have never played in the village itself which lies between Ballachulish and Oban and is just over 100 miles from Glasgow.
We drove up in two cars and Mr Robert MacDonald also made the journey with his son Calum as there was a special football trophy in the name of our good friend Rab MacDonald and young Fraser Black who both passed away in accidents earlier in the year and lived in the village.
On arrival at Stalker Croft, opposite the famous Castle Stalker, we had our first look at the pitch which had been prepared by Jim Weir and it looked good, well apart from the clumps of grass and the cow/sheep dung which was on it !! The rule about no slide tackles for your own safety was not something anybody was prepared to object to !
Naturally our first port of call was to the beer tent but only to make ourselves known to Mr C's brother Donald who was supplying overnight accommodation for four of the squad. To be sociable we obviously had to partake to get into the spirit of the day.
Originally the tournament was going to be a five team event but only four teams were present, Appin Oldies, Appin Youth, Benderloch and ourselves.
Mike Kitcher, a former Southampton player in the 70's, was in charge of the football and our first game was against Benderloch who included in their team John Napier who had played for Appin in Edinburgh and his son who is about eleven or twelve.
Don't be fooled by youth though as we got well beaten by four goals to nil with young Napier scoring a delightful fourth with a superb lob over the keeper (Mr C was the keeper which kind of spoils the moment !).
There was a break for a skills school involving kicking a ball through a hoop and keepie up but we didn't do very well with only one shot through the hoop and not much in the keepie up although Crossers did beat his previous record by one. Yes he scored two !
There were a host of young boys watching and one of them, Fraser, asked if he could play for us and we were happy to oblige in our next game against Appin Youth, all of them about fifteen or sixteen.
It was a closer game, Crossers was in goals and Mr C was in the beer tent, and Calum scored straight from the kick off then Wee Fraser netted a second after showing some superb skills on the bumpy surface. Fraser's wee pal came on for him before the end and we also lost a goal but held on for a 2-1 win.
Not much of a break before a game against the Appin Oldies (oldest 21 !) and we enlisted the help of Ross MacDonald, Rab's eleven year old son, to play for us.
Ross and his Uncle Calum ran amock up front but neither of them could find the net in an unbelievably open game that somehow finished goalless.
This meant we finished second as Benderloch won all three games to retain the trophy.
There was a gap until the presentations so it gave us a chance to have a look round the Show and see the various cows and sheep that were on show as well as a prize bull which weighed a ton and a half, luckily it was well tethered to a fence.
There was also a "Throwing The Sheaf" competition which Psycho, Craig and Calum took part in but the experienced locals easily took the prize against our weaklings.
There were a lot of presentations to go through for the various stalls and competitions which make up a village show and John Napier's son collected the huge cup on Benderloch's behalf before Ross MacDonald presented the inaugural "Rab MacDonald and Fraser Black Trophy" to the Young Appin side who won the skills school.
Calum, his Dad and Tam said their farewells and headed for home whilst the other four of us got a lift to the local Creagan Inn for our dinner and a small libation whilst we waited for the Appin Show dance to begin.
The dance started after nine in the village hall and was very well attended with young and old mixing for a night of modern and ceilidh music and dance.
Mr C's brother was working in the bar so we managed to get an after hours drink before getting in the local taxi which picked up as many people as it could and dropped them off at various places around the area.
Our stop was in Duror, seven miles away, and it was about 4am before we got to our beds after a long and enjoyable day.
Thanks to everybody who helped with the organising, especially Jim and Mike, and it was nice to be invited to a tournament played in such a good spirit. The scenery was superb as well, despite the weather which was rain one minute sun the next.
Hopefully it won’t be our last football visit to Appin and we will see some of their team throughout the season.