Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

R.A.F. Uig Crash Land In Carloway

There were some fine teams and fine players in Lewis at that time,and particularly so "re na samhraidh a bhalaich Goill" (ie.during the summers of the Lowland boys). These lads brought their own skills to the Lewis game,which meant that no one could be sure of the outcome of a game, as few realised the calibre of these "new signings",nor from whence they came. They played throughout the year in a very competitive and often punishing arena. Their close season would allow them the luxury of playing during Lewis'"summer season".
A game which is still remembered,and which is probably the finest ever on Lewis soil, took place around 1958 in Carloway,between Carloway and the RAF team from Uig, where the RAF then had a sizable base. Today Aird Uig, with the remains of that camp, has an eerie quality about it,and in some ways reminds me of the location for "The Wicker Man". Being a services' team,they wanted for nothing,and were immaculately turned out and well supported. What became apparent later was that over half the RAF team were signed players with various English sides(Divisions 2,3 and 4). Carloway could boast Donald Maclennan(Renfrew Juniors) and the "Pralan" twins,Murdo and Duncan from Upper Carloway,who both played for Ardrossan Winton Rovers at that time.Seen for the first time,certainly by me,were the binovular twins of Anna Gherchy, two lads called Donnie and Ronnie Mackinnon(father was from Skye,you see)who took to the field that evening. I must say that they they looked the part, and their recent slim history was impressive. They had recently played for Dunipace Juniors and Rutherglen Glencairn and had been signed by top Scottish clubs,Donnie by Partick Thistle and his twin brother,Ronnie by Glasgow Rangers. In the first half,RAF proved to be the professionals, of which we were unaware,and led 2-0 at the interval. As bad as the result was,continuing taunts of "Come on Carloway,show us your style!"began to exercise the sizable home support. Every English accent from Newcastle to the Thames estuary were arrainged in belittling the Carloway boys.
Murdo Mackay ("The Bear")was the team's manager by dint of having bought the orange juice and the plastic pail. He pulled Donald,my brother aside,and in not so many words,asked what the hell was going on. "Don't worry,A' Mhurchadh,we'll take six off them". In Glasgow,such a statement is one of hope over promise. Whatever was said or agreed among the Carloway team,the crowd witnessed a brilliant display of football,probably never repeated again on the island.Ronnie Mackinnon moved up to the centre of the forward line,Donnie remained in midfield,and Donald my brother had a roving commission down the right flank.The idea was to feed Ronnie down the middle,and being the consumate professional,he scored five brilliant goals fed to him mainly by my brother,who scored himself to make the final score Carloway 6, RAF Uig 2."We'll take six off them". Maybe a wee bit of a prophecy.What do you think?
During the second half,the Sassenach support were beginning to get a tad tired of my cousin,Aonghas Hearradh, continuing to cry "Come on RAF Uig,show us your style!"

1 comment:

thecroft said...

Haha! Good story.