The next few weeks see the next stages of the London Shield trophy approaching with the winning teams from each of the four sections going on to play each other in knockout stages .
Oban Camanachd progressing from group A which included; Fort William, Lochaber and Kilmalie. The Oban side stormed through their group, winning all of their 6 games, finishing with an impressive 12 points and also accumulating a goal difference of 27. All of group A’s teams struggled to challenge Oban at the top as the established a 5 point lead with Fort William being the closest in second place.
Oban are likely to be one of the most dangerous teams in the next stage with many of their youngsters also playing first team shinty. The amount of goals the team scored shows how prolific they are as Section “A” features some very good defensive teams. However, Oban themselves also have a great defensive record, having only allowed 2 goals to be scored against them. The team who will have to face them will have a difficult task on their hands breaking down this formidable defence.
Section “B” sees Newtonmore continue after their playoff match against local rivals Kingussie. The Eilean side have only suffered two defeats this season, both coming from Kingussie in very close games. Newtonmore have only conceded 3 in the entire competition with a very solid defence and a reliable keeper in Xavio Vastano.
‘More isn’t short of any dangerous players either with Straun Ross having played a dominating role at full centre and centre forward throughout the competition. Between Ross in the middle and Declan Brennan at half back, a strong and physical partnership is formed which will deny any team of obtaining long periods of attacking pressure without a battle.
Beauly have seen their way through section “C” with an impressive defensive record having only conceded three goals in all six of their league fixtures, and also having made their way through undefeated. The team who has to face them will likely have to rely on constant attacking pressure in order to wear down the sturdy defence. However Beauly also comes armed with a strong attack having scored a grand total of 46 goals making them the highest scoring team in the competition.
Finlay Maclennan will likely be the player to watch, having racked up a goal tally of 13. However Beauly will not have to rely solely on Maclennan for goals with the rest of their forwards also putting up impressive numbers.
Section “D” sees Skye progressing to the next stages. In a tight group which featured Glenurquahrt and Kinlochsiel, Skye emerged on top. The Portree side features a lot of experience in senior shinty, with the majority of their starting team playing at a senior level as well, which could prove vital against less experienced players. Skye also boast an impressive goal difference heading into the next stages with 16, having only conceded one goal throughout this stage of the competition.
Ross Gordon will be a key factor in Skye’s team as a versatile player both in the middle of the park and as an attacker, being able to act as an anchor in midfield while also being able to get forward and support the forward line and using his fitness to his advantageHis ability to get forward has helped Skye with Gordon scoring 6 goals to help his side progress.
Skye are yet to be defeated in the London Shield and will be a formidable team to face and will prove difficult for any side to break down and overcome. Their combination of a strong defence and attack, which are supported by a fit centre line, will cause any opposition trouble.