A baking hot day at Smith Park, Inverarnie was the setting for the 2022 Strathdearn Cup Final which once again saw Newtonmore and Lovat come together to battle it out for the trophy. The Final the previous year was one of the most bizarre games in cup final history, 0-0 at Full-Time, 4-0 to Newtonmore at Half-Time of Extra-Time and 4-4 at Full-Time with Lovat going on to win the penalty shootout. To make it to the 2022 Final Newtonmore had beaten Caberfeidh comfortably at home while Lovat had edged past local rivals Beauly in their semi-final.

John Matheson got the game underway in front of a healthy crowd who had come out to enjoy the sunshine and shinty – a rare combination!

It didn’t take Newtonmore long to get going, Craig MacLeod dribbled the ball down the wing and cut the ball back to the edge of the D, from there top scorer Glen MacKintosh turned the ball and fired high into the net. Two minutes later and it was Evan Menzies who struck for ‘More, a shot from MacLeod was well saved by Ronan MacMillan in the Lovat goal only to fall at the feet of Menzies who hammered home from a tight angle.

Lovat bounced back quickly this time though grabbing a goal of their own, Ryan Ferguson held off his man well on the right-wing before drilling the ball into Player/Manager Raymond Rennie who fired across Jason MacDonald in the Newtonmore net to make it 2-1. Newtonmore kept up the pressure for most of the first half but were kept quiet by a resolute Lovat defence, the Kiltarlity side weren’t without their chances though Lewis Bryson putting one agonisingly wide of MacDonald’s left hand post 10 minutes from half-time.

The remainder of the half came and went and both sets of players, and indeed the officials would have been glad to get some rest out of the baking sun. The second half started much as the first had ended, some half chances here and there but nothing to get either sets of fans too excited. That was until the 62nd minute when MacLeod picked up the ball, ran down the right wing and lashed a shot high into the opposite corner for 3-1. Four minutes later and it was four for ‘More after Evan Menzies was taken out in the D – Glen MacKintosh stepped up to fire home his second of the match from the penalty spot.

Ten minutes from time and Newtonmore bagged another – Menzies, who wore the number 4 in memory of his best friend Andy MacKintosh, with his second of the game after the Lovat defence failed to clear from a corner. With that goal, what energy remained in Lovat legs seemed to fade and three minutes later MacKintosh grabbed his hat-trick, finishing from a tight angle after getting the ball broke to the by-line from a botched clearance. Charlie Ferguson put the cherry on the icing on the cake after Glen MacKintosh – double marked at this point – found him with the freedom of Smith Park on the edge of the D to pick his spot in MacMillan’s bottom left corner.

In fairness to Lovat, despite the score line they continued to battle away, they just came up against a ‘More side that was too strong on the day and John Matheson brough the game to a close at Newtonmore 7-1 Lovat. All that was left was for Newtonmore Captain James Ross to collect the Strathdearn Cup from Camanachd Association Director Kirsty Deans and lift it high in the air much to the delight of his teammates.