CLIVE’S NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2021

December 2 We welcome Steve Rattray who has joined the club to work with the team management as both match-day physio and part of the coaching staff.   

December 4 We were able to arrange at short notice a friendly against an Elgin City XI at the new football complex next to their Borough Briggs ground. The pitch is 4G and the facilities are really impressive. Use will be made of the complex seven days a week.

December 10 John Campbell will succeed Rod Houston as the Breedon Highland League’s new secretary, replacing Rod at the end of the season. Rod has been secretary for six years and has been a big help to me personally since I joined Strathspey. John is 53 and from Lossiemouth. He was a referee in the SHFL and the Scottish League and has been CEO of the Scottish Welfare Football Association for the last ten years.

December 11 After receiving a call from Wick FC’s secretary that the game was on we left Grantown and Inverness and headed north on the A9. A break in the journey was made at Golspie before arriving at Harmsworth Park just as the weather started to change for the worst. Conditions were difficult for both sides with the Jags more than holding their own only to concede a penalty right on half-time which Wick converted. To compound our problems we lost goalkeeper Robbie Donaldson to a straight red card two minutes into the second half. Andrew Skinner took over in goal and was outstanding considering the pressure he and the team were under.

Andrew Skinner without the keeper’s gloves!

It was a long journey home with thoughts turning to the visit of Forres Mechanics next Saturday, weather permitting.

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December 13 The search was now on for a replacement keeper for the next game as Michael MacCallum has a broken finger and it is not known when he will be fit. 

The weather in the early part of the week was mild and the pitch, after rolling, was in good condition. Grantown Golf Club have given us permission to use their car park as an overflow if we need to in order to protect the grassed area running from the main entrance to the Golf Club fence. 

December 18 As the weather has changed and snow and frost are forecast a pitch inspection was arranged for Friday afternoon at 4pm and again at 10am on the morning of the match. A frozen pitch meant the game was called off, much to everyone’s disappointment and the long range forecast leading up to the holiday game with Clacnacuddin at Seafield Park also doesn’tlook promising. 

December 23 We have allowed Andrew MacLean to join Alness United on loan for a week and have signed Ryan Hunter, formerly of Fort William, as a one game replacement for the suspended Robbie Donaldson. 

At a meeting of the Highland League instructions were received that all signed players are to test daily using lateral flow testing kits and sending the results to the club. The club also decided to suspend boardroom and paying guests hospitality in order to help the fight against Omicron and Covid. Hospitality for the Clachnacuddin game had been sold out. Ewan Neil and Shane Davies have had their loans extended to the end of the season.

December 26  After a pitch inspection at 4pm the game with Clachnacuddin was called off due to a frozen park. A disappointing end to 2021 and let’s hope for a good start to 2022 at Lossiemouth on Sunday January 3.

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