Sunday 15th April - The Coasters Cup
A trip to Oban was always on the cards but, instead of a game for the Alexander MacGregor Memorial Shield, which sits proudly in somebody’s house in Glasgow (nope, no idea who has that one), we were invited to the inaugural Coasters Cup.
So, finally, after many years, Coasters got their finger out and organised a three way tournament with Ormond Saints being the other team.
But there were problems on the horizon.
Oban is always a great day out, and people always look forward to it, but we couldn’t get a minibus and, much worse, we couldn’t get a team either.
After much organising, and people calling on and off, we ended up with two cars and Mister C and Uncle Crossers travelled up by service bus which made eight players and a manager.
Luckily Callum Weir was home in Appin and able to get us some help and they arrived in the shape of Gregory and Ruaridh Black and Murdo MacKenzie.
Gregory was well known to us as he regularly played against us in the early days of QP v Appin contests and on one occasion ripped us apart at Barlia.
Eventually we all met at Mossfield, where we were changing, before playing on the pitch at Glencruitten.
Unfortunately we were too late to play in the first game so the fixtures got changed and Coasters played Ormonds first with the hosts winning 2-0 while we “warmed up” and worked out a starting line up.
A ten minute break between games then we were on against Ormonds.
Safehands was in goals; Murdo debuted at right back with Wee Al at left and CC and Uncle Crossers in the middle; Ally and Adam were in their usual wide positions with Paul and Gee in the centre of midfield; the dynamic duo from Appin, Callum and Gregory, were our forward line. Ruaridh was our one and only sub.
It was a large pitch and the games were 25 minutes each way (if I remember correctly) but we played exceptionally well and competed for the whole game against Saints.
Even in a shortened game we created chances and were unlucky to not be well ahead when, naturally, Ormonds scored the opener in the first half.
Ruaridh came on for Murdo at half time and we got back into the game when Gregory headed home an Ally corner.
Another corner saw us come close to going ahead but Gregory’s header this time went wide.
Midway through the half Uncle Crossers, who hadn’t really travelled to play, limped off with Murdo going into central defence alongside CC.
The pressure and possession were all ours and, with only a couple of minutes remaining, Ally chipped the ball over Craig in the Saints goal but his shot struck the post.
Ormonds then went up the park and CC was adjudged to have fouled an opponent in the area and the referee awarded a penalty.
To say that CC was incensed by the decision would be an understatement and his mood wasn’t help by the lack of support he got from his complaint from his team mates !
The penalty was duly dispatched and we’d lost a game we should have won.
A quick break, while we listened to CC moan, and we were on again against Coasters.
The team that finished the game started with Uncle Crossers only available in case of emergencies !
As we were in Oban Coasters had a cast of thousands, including many of their legends from the early days, and it was always going to be an uphill battle.
But, we rose to the occasion and Safehands was in excellent form early on as he made an outstanding double save from a close range header.
The home side did take the lead soon after that but we equalised when Gee fired a free kick past the keeper from outside the area.
Level at the break we brought on two local youngsters, Matthew and Fraser, whom we had previously met at the Appin Show in August 2009.
On that day in Appin we’d allowed them to play for our sixes side when they were both twelve years old and they impressed everybody with their skill and ability.
Obviously it was a wee bit of a step up to play against Coasters but the boys did well and one of them nearly snatched a goal for us with a long range shot.
It would have been an equaliser as Coasters had regained the lead and held on till the end to be crowned Coasters Cup Champions.
Back to Coasters for food and the presentations and our very own Safehands was the winner of the Player of the Tournament, a well deserved award.
There was room in the cars for the two Mr C’s so they travelled home with CC after we’d stayed for a good while in the pub.
A big thanks to Coasters for their hospitality and to our local lads for turning out for us and making sure we had eleven in the team.
Also a huge thanks to Wee Al and CC for driving to Oban and making the day possible.