0 An Aird pitch fit for Camanachd Cup final, say officials

Shinty's spotlight will tomorrow fall on Fort William in a final it almost lost even before the first ball had been struck.

Because of the state of the An Aird pitch in the Lochaber capital, the sport's governing body had considered moving the Camanachd Cup final to Bught Park in Inverness.

Highland Council has been under fire over its maintenance of the pitch, where there have been problems with drainage and rabbit infestation and claims of overuse. Following urgent repair work and an inspection earlier this week, council officials gave assurances that the pitch would be fit for tomorrow's showpiece.

It will bring together cup holders Fort William, making their sixth successive final appearance, and Kingussie, who have appeared on 33 occasions, winning 22 of them. The game, which gets under way at 2.45pm, will be televised live on BBC2.

And for the first time the event will be broadcast on radio in both English and Gaelic.

It comes at a time when the Camanachd Association is working closely with BBC Scotland and MG Alba to ensure shinty's television and radio shinty coverage continues to develop in the future.

The cameras will also bring highlights of the Scottish Hydro Electric Development Trophy under-14s game between Strathglass and Aberdour, gates opening at 10am.

It will be followed by the Ken MacMaster Trophy tie involving Fort William and Oban Camanachd under-14 teams. In a departure, Lochaber Pipe Band will lead a procession along the High Street to An Aird, starting at 1.30pm at the West End Hotel.

They will be followed by youngsters from local primary schools carrying the names of teams that took part in the cup's qualifying rounds.

They will later lead out the teams at An Aird.

The Camanachd Association's competitions director, David MacMaster, said: "This cup represents the pinnacle of shinty and together with our sponsors Scottish Hydro Electric we look forward to a great day of shinty."

Source:-The Press and Journal

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