Alba v England in international action for English Camanachd Cup

Alba, the national select for Gaelic speakers will face England in an international representative match at Drumnadrochit at 11am on the morning of Saturday 16th September in the run up to the 2023 Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final at the Bught Park.

The teams will be competing for the English Camanachd Cup. The trophy is so named as it was originally donated by Dr Peter R. English of Glenurquhart iin the 1970s to encourage shinty in the North East of Scotland. It was won by teams such as Aberdeen Camanachd, Dundee and Tayforth before disappearing for almost 40 years.
The trophy was recovered from the Perth City Sports and Social Club in 2021 by Iomain Cholmcille and was returned to Peter’s family. The family have now re-gifted the trophy in order to further the incredible legacy of their father and grandfather.

A renowned agricultural scientist and social historian, Dr Peter R English (1937-2009) was an innovative and creative force in the world of shinty. A vice-president of the Camanachd Association, he was crucial to the creation of the Shinty Yearbook, the growth of the sport in the cities and the universities as well as an important figure in the history of his beloved Glenurquhart. His book, Glen Urquhart : Its Places, People, Neighbours and Its Shinty in the Last 100 Years and More is an important record of the development of the sport of the Gael in both the Glen, and further afield.
It is highly appropriate therefore this representative game will be hosted at Blairbeg in Drumnadrochit. Glenurquhart Shinty Club has its own proud history of international innovation including their trip to Tartan Week in 2016, and the English equivalent of the Camanachd Cup, the Shinty Shop Challenge Cup, being donated by Russell Fraser of Glenurquhart in 2012.

Billy MacLean of Glenurquhart Shinty Club and Dr English’s nephew said “Glenurquhart Shinty Club are delighted to host the international representative match between Alba and England at Blairbeg Park on the 16th September. It is particularly fitting that Dr English’s cup is to be utilised for this fixture as his maternal grandfather Alexander “Ali Bàn” MacDonald was a Gaelic speaker who played in the famous challenge match against Strathglass in 1887 while his father Bill English was a proud Londoner. We look forward to welcoming both teams to the Glen.”

Eoghan Stewart of Iomain Cholmcille, who co-ordinates the Gaelic shinty project said “Thank you to Glenurquhart for hosting this historic match and to the family of Peter English for their kind gift of the cup. Thanks also to the Camanachd Association for allowing the game to be part of the final fringe events. We hope that this will be an entertaining and exciting event before the Camanachd Cup final itself at the Bught Park in the afternoon, and we look forward to sharing hospitality with the English players afterwards at the big game.”

Alba will be managed by Skye Camanachd’s Ally “Digg” Macdonald and he will release his squad in the coming weeks. This will be the second meeting between Alba and England, after a game between the two sides in Kingussie in 2018.
Craig-Lee Stephen Holt of the English Shinty Association (ESA) who will be England manager on the day said “5 years on from our first historic encounter with Alba, we will once again play the only fully fledged shinty international in 2023. With the fixture back on the calendar this year, and hopefully in years to come, we hope that players living in England will re-engage with shinty through competitive selection opportunities such as this versus Alba. Everyone at the ESA would like to thank Glenurquhart for their hospitality in hosting this game.”

Aarron Duncan-MacLeod, Marketing Manager at the Camanachd Association said: “It is really inspiring to see our cousins from south of the border come north to play what I am sure will be a hard fought contest against Alba. The 16th September now looks set to be an even greater feast of shinty.”

The England team will be announced in the coming weeks by English Shinty Association captain Barra de Burca.
Pictured is the English Camanachd Cup with Cornwall Shinty Club president Jack Fitt on their recent visit to Strathglass where Billy MacLean presented the cup on behalf of the family.

Alba v England, Saturday 16 September, 11am Blairbeg Park, Drumnadrochit.

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