CABERFEIDH SHINTY CLUB
Caberfeidh Shinty Club was formed in 1886 at a meeting held within the Spa Pavilion, Strathpeffer. The meeting had been called to discuss the formation of a combined team to represent Strathpeffer and the crofting township of Knockfarrel which lies on the higher ground to the south of Strathpeffer and which separates the valleys of the Peffery and the Conon. The chief initiator at the meeting was William F. Gunn, the son of the Cromartie Estate factor at the time, and it was at his suggestion that the new Club was called Caberfeidh. Two separate Clubs, Strathpeffer and Knockfarrel had existed prior to the meeting in the Spa Pavilion.
William F. Gunn was elected as the Club’s first captain and represented the Club at the meeting held in Kingussie in 1893 when the Camanachd Association was formed, while John A. MacMaster was the Club’s first Vice-Captain. The Club has taken part in competitions every year since with the exception of the War years.
A win over Beauly in the Macgillivray League Cup Final in 1926 heralded the Club’s most successful period which continued until the outbreak of war in 1939. During that period the Club made four appearances in the Camanachd Cup Final, winning the premier trophy in 1934 and 1939. The Club also appeared in eight MacTavish Cup Finals, winning on four occasions. The MacGillivray League Cup was won on eleven occasions, including “ Ten in a row “. The Club were the first team to win the Camanachd Cup, the MacTavish Cup and the MacGillivray League Cup in the same season, in 1934.
At the cessation of hostilities in 1946 Caberfeidh, along with most other Shinty Clubs, entered for the recommenced competitions, and although able to field strong teams which reached the Final of the MacGillivray League Cup, and the Semi-Final of the MacTavish Cup on a number of occasions, and also the Semi-Final of the Camanachd Cup on one occasion, success eluded them until 1963 when, once again, they won the MacGillivray League Cup.
In the early to mid 1970s the Club was at a low ebb and was reduced to fielding only one team in adult competition. However, in the late 1970s, some years after the launch of a successful coaching programme at Fodderty Primary School in 1971 under the guidance of the late Ken MacMaster, a decision was taken at the Club’s AGM to again enter a second team in Junior competition in order to recruit more players for the Club and in an effort to maintain the interest among those who had been part of the coaching programme at Fodderty School.. Success was not long in coming with the first team winning the Strathdearn Cup and the Dewar Shield in 1980 and the first and second teams winning the North League Divisions Two and Four, respectively, in 1981. There followed a period when the teams went up and down between Divisions One and Two and Divisions Three and Four.
For several years the Club had run an Under 17 team, reaching Finals on several occasions but without success, and in the early 1980s competition was introduced locally at Under 14 level where the Club, over the years, has met with considerable success. In 1986 the North Under 14 competition, run by the Camanachd Association, was inaugurated, and a team comprised of pupils and ex-pupils of Fodderty School won the competition for the first two years. That competition was won again by the Club in 1993 and 1995. In the 1992/93 season the Club were the first winners of the newly inaugurated National Under 14 competition for the Kenneth A. MacMaster Trophy.
In 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and again in 2000, the first team won the competition for the Balliemore Cup, the National Intermediate Championship and in 1996 after the reorganisation of the shinty leagues by the Camanachd Association, and the introduction of the National Premier League the first team were the first winners of the new North First Division, a feat they repeated in 1997 and 1999. Unfortunately the first team missed out in each of those years, by the odd goal on each occasion, in gaining promotion to the National Premier League.
It is interesting to note that of the 1996/97 first team no fewer than six of the players had been members of the successful Under 14 team of 1986 and 1987 and a number of them still play for the Club.
Currently the Club runs 4 teams (Senior, Reserve, Under 17 and Under 14) playing a total of 60 or more games per season.
At the start of the 1999/2000 season the leagues were again reorganised and the first team were placed in the new National League Division 1, which involved travel to the Isle of Bute, Glasgow, Inveraray, Oban and three North Area venues. Due to the travel distances involved this format did not suit a number of Clubs this format was scrapped and underneath a National Premier League teams were placed once again in Area Leagues. The Club’s 1st Team is currently playing in North Division 1, while the 2nd Team, having won North Division 3 in 2005, are now playing in North Division 2.
Training sessions are held twice weekly throughout the season at Strathpeffer and on the astro-turf pitch at Dingwall. Coaching sessions are also held for Under 14 players, while players over 14 are encouraged to attend the adult coaching/training sessions.
The Club also likes to support, in whatever way it can, shinty in the local primary schools. Over the years the Fodderty School team has met with considerable success having won National competitions on three occasions as well as numerous Local competitions. The players in Fodderty School have been coached weekly by members of the Club over many years and a similar arrangement now exists with the new Strathpeffer Primary School which replaced Fodderty and Contin Primary Schools. Dingwall, Maryburgh and Conon Primary Schools also have regular coaching from members of the Club.
The Club hopes to be able to continue to support and promote the Game of Shinty in the way it has done over the last 122 years but to do so it will have to be able to raise between £ 16,000 and £ 20,000 per annum.
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