Following an entertaining season the West Highland league title still hangs in the balance and will be decided in the final league fixture this Saturday when first-placed Sleat & Strath face second-placed Mallaig.
The two teams have dominated the league for the last four seasons, winning two titles each in that time.
Once again the race is going to the wire for two teams who were also joint top last season and needed a play-off to decide the title
Sleat won that match and the league to complete the treble, but this season Mallaig hold the edge over the islanders in direct matches.
They dumped Sleat out of the GF MacRae cup at the semi-final stage before a 2-1 win in the league in August narrowed the gap at the top of the table.
So far that was Sleat’s only league defeat, meaning they enter Saturday’s match with a two point advantage and need only a draw to secure a second title in a row. Mallaig need a victory to win back the trophy.
WHAFA league secretary Raph Scott said: “In terms of form, Mallaig do look to have the upper hand. They’ve not lost since June and beat Sleat & Stath in their past two meetings whereas Sleat will have to recover from a tough Ewen MacRae Cup defeat against North West Skye last week.
“I have really enjoyed the season, some great games all around and with the league going down to the wire again this month is exciting – three cup finals coming up as well as the league decider.”
Sleat’s management team, made up of senior players, will hope to bounce back from their NWS defeat with a strong performance.
Player-coach Ben Yoxon said: “Both teams have had good seasons, and we’ve battled it out for a few years now, so we both know what to expect from one another.
“Our squad is looking okay – we have a few boys missing, but we’ve still got a good group together, so let’s hope that we cross that last hurdle.”
Mallaig manager Jamie Macgregor gave an update on his squad for the match.
He said: “We’re looking okay, although we have three or four who had injuries and we were hoping would be back. It doesn’t look likely for this weekend.
“I’ll always back my team but we know how tough it can be to go win these games, especially away from home. We had a similar opportunity last season and we didn’t equip ourselves well enough and got what we deserved as a result.”
Kick off in the big match is at MacKinnon Park in Broadford this Saturday (9th September) at 2pm.
Article by DANIEL CULLEN