SATURDAY will be a huge day for St Duthus Football Club. Ahead of their third annual Sportsmans' Dinner, the Tain club shall compete in what could be their season finale OR the game which sees them book a place in the Jock Mackay Memorial Cup Final for the second time in three years.
2018-19 has been a season of mixed fortunes for the Saints. That mixture had been almost neatly halved as the Saints ended a dismal run of six straight defeats with a draw against Thurso last October. What followed was a remarkable run of six straight league victories, and since that time they have lost just twice in 2019. Complimenting their upturn in form, St Duthus are currently enjoying an unbeaten run in Tain - having "held fort" for seven games in succession - a run that has been spurred on by the move up to their new home at Grant Park in January.
Cup competitions have thus far heralded little success for Saints during this season, however Stuart Ross's men have been reaping the rewards of their recent good form and having disposed of Thurso in the Quarter Final, a place in a final now awaits them. If St Duthus can repeat what they did in January and claim a victory over cup holders Invergordon for a second time this year, they will reach the Jock Mackay Cup Final.
Fresh off of winning the North Caledonian Cup, Invergordon will be in no hurry to surrender their grip on the Jock Mackay Cup - a trophy which is near and dear to the their town - but with one eye on the league championship also, it is possible that their attentions could be elsewhere on Saturday. A draw between Orkney and Golspie in Kirkwall would put Invergordon in pole position for the North Caledonian League title on goal difference, creating a three team standoff which could see the league decided between all three teams on the same point total. Retaining the Jock Mackay Cup will not be taken lightly though we're sure - and it is expected that the visitors will turn up to Grant Park at full strength.
St Duthus will be underdogs no doubt, coming up against a side chasing a potential treble. But whatever the eventual outcome, an Easter Ross derby in a semi final at the end of the season will be a big attraction and a fitting way to round things off on home soil. A win and a place in the Jock Mackay Memorial Cup Final would just be the icing on the cake.
In the evening, St Duthus players, committee and supporters will be joined by special guests Murdo Macleod and Donald Findlay, along with MC Rab Mulheron, for the club's Sportsmans Dinner. The evening promises to be an entertaining one with a fantastic contrast of guests contributing to what is always the club's biggest fundraiser of the season.
If all the stars align, it could be a weekend to remember!