After a stressful morning trying to dry The Dell for the final, emotions run high on field of play

Kingussie ................. 3

Oban Camanachd ... 0

Kingussie's prodigious effort in taking a third successive Grand Slam and three years unbeaten for 78 games was surpassed only by their Herculean effort in getting the pitch they played on at The Dell fit for Saturday's Glenmorangie Camanachd Cup Final.

Torrential rain in Badenoch had threatened to wash away shinty's show-piece occasion, but the champions, who have two golf green-keepers in their pool, pulled out all the stops, borrowing water-clearing machines from Boat of Garten first of all and then Elgin at the crack of dawn on Saturday, to sweep surface water off the pitch which was, just 24 hours before the throw-up, unplayable.

When the game did get underway, watched by a crowd of more than 2500, it proved to be a wretched affair. Not just because of the conditions, but because of the ill-tempered nature of much of the play.

Oban were clearly psyched up for the job in hand, and eager to repeat the glorious victory of three years ago. It was never really on and they lost the game in the first 20 minutes which they dominated territorially and certainly in terms of capturing the attention.

Most of the incidents in a tetchy opening spell which could have won the game for the Argyll team revolved around Oban's full forward Neil Ross. The red mist descended on the shepherd in the opening minutes and never cleared. Ross committed his first indiscretion in seven minutes when he was booked for felling goalkeeper Andrew Borthwick.

The big custodian then collapsed minutes later when he went to effect a clearance to complete the wrecking of his knee which now looks to have suffered appaling medial ligament damage.

He was replaced by defender Willie John Fraser who covered himself in glory with excellent hitting and a tremendous save.

The mis-fortune of losing their keeper added an urgency to Kingussie's game which halted Oban in their tracks. A rash of bookings followed as referee John Henderson battled to control a game which was rapidly turning into a nightmare.

Then the inevitable happened. From a Michael Clark hit-in in 22 minutes, leading scorer Ronald Ross lashed home the opener.

Five minutes later, with Oban still dominating but using the long ball game to little effect, Ali Borthwick edged home a second.

Oban's keeper John MacGregor had been a virtually by-stander up to this point but ended up taking the ball out of the net twice.

Ten minutes later, the match was virtually over as a contest when Barry Dallas, playing in his first final, completed a sweeping move to crack home the best, and final, goal of the game.

Oban at this point began to disintegrate. Only Fraser Inglis and Dougie MacIntyre looked capable of turning the tide. Neil Ross however removed any semblance of opportunity they had of

rescuing what was increasingly becoming a lost cause. Just on the stroke of half time, having tested the referee's patience to the limit, he committed another foul and was dispatched to the side-line, the first player in 15 years to be red-carded in the final.

The second half was utterly predictable. Eleven-man Oban battled gamely but could never inflict a telling blow on Kingussie's vastly experienced defence. Fraser Inglis of Oban was the unanimous choice as man of the match.

Three Kingussie players now have 10 Camanachd Cup winners medals, Stephen and David Borthwick and Ally Dallas. The momentum and will to win appears still to be there for an assault on the record of 12 held by Hugh Chisholm and Dave Ritchie of Newtonmore. Given that there appears to be no team capable of offering a sustained challenge to the Badenoch side's domination of the sport, that record is by no means unbeatable.

At the end of the game, Grand Slam manager Jim Gow announced his retirement, too late for inclusion in Saturday's Queen's birthday honours no doubt. For goalkeeper Andrew Borthwick it was a weekend

to remember, or not as the case may be.

A casualty after just 10 minutes, he did not last much longer at the post-match reception.

Summoned by his wife Gail, they were dispatched to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness as another more important celebration threatened. Mother, baby daughter

and father (albeit on crutches)

were all doing well yesterday

afternoon as the carnival continued.

Kingussie - Andrew Borthwick, Stephen Borthwick, Ian Borthwick, Rory Fraser (captain), David Borthwick, Ally Dallas, Ewan Grant, Michael Clark, Kevin Thain, Ali Borthwick, Barry Dallas, Ronald Ross. Substitutes - Martin Genini, Willie John Fraser, Garry Munro, James Hutchison, David Anderson. Manager - Jimmy Gow.

Oban Camanachd - John MacGregor, Alex MacVicar (captain), Gareth Evans,

Nonnie MacInnes, Duncan Morrison, Ian Hay, Dougie MacIntyre, Fraser Inglis, David Devine, David McCuish, Gordon MacIntyre, Neil Ross. Substitutes - Colin Dairon (goalkeeper), Daniel MacIntyre, Andrew Pearson, Ally MacInnes, John Cameron. Manager - Iain MacMillan.

Referee - John Henderson (Caol).