The first round of the Stafford Cup will be played on Saturday 18th April, with draw having been made as follows:
Lochinver v Dornoch City;
Golspie Stafford v Brora Wanderers;
Lochbroom v Inver;
Melvich v Kinlochbervie;
TAIN THISTLE v Embo
Byes - Helmsdale United, Invergordon Social Club & Lairg Rovers
The subsequent rounds shall be played at weekly intervals, allowing only for the prelim. round of the Highland Amateur Cup on April 25th. The first league matches will be played on May 30th.
Despite clinching the title off the park last weekend (due to results elsewhere), the Jags had to wait until full time away to Lochinver to get their hands on the North West Sutherland League championship trophy.
The title win is marks back to back championships since joining the amateur ranks two seasons ago, and their fifth in a row overall, having won the Ross-shire Welfare in 2015, 2016 and 2017 also.
The Jags collected the trophy in style with a 12 goal celebration away to Lochinver at Culag Park. The game finished 9-3 in Tain's favour, with Liam Rostock notching a hat-trick. Darran Goller and Finn As-Chainey chipped in with two goals each, while Robbie Murray and David Mackay also scored.
The Polla Cup remains the only outstanding competition, a one game final due to be played between Thistle and the winners of Division 2, Lairg Rovers.
All the action took place in the first half at Stafford Park, as a late rout before the interval put Thistle out of sight – despite Golspie having taken the lead.
The home side had gone ahead after 20 minutes when Mark Mackenzie worked his way through the Tain defence before finding the bottom corner with a brilliant strike. It took until the 38th minute for Tain to get back in the game though and the goal came from Liam Rostock who levelled with a cute chip over the Golspie stopper.
Finn As-Chainey was next to score, giving Tain the lead with a finish from close range. A Darran Goller double put Thistle on easy street for a quieter second half. They weren’t without their problems, however, as goalkeeper Steven Martin found himself dismissed for an off the ball incident.
Brora Wanderers needed just one goal to humble champions Tain Thistle at the Links today. A first half goal from Jon Campbell, who pounced on a short clearance from the goalkeeper before lobbing the Tain custodian from 30 yards was all that separated the sides at half time. It could have been 2-0 but a second half penalty for Wanderers was saved well by Will Macrae, and at the other end a foul on the Brora goalkeeper denied Tain their only netbound effort.
In the latter stages, the home side were unlucky not to score with a Finn As-Chainey shot that deflected onto the crossbar as the signs were that it was not going to be their day. Thistle’s push for an equaliser was against a Brora side who were defending resolutely, and against Tain’s best efforts the Wanderers held on to claim an impressive away win.
It was to be another first round exit for Tain Thistle in the Highland Amateur Cup, losing 3-1 to Staxigoe United. During an evenly contested first half both keepers were called into action, and on twenty minutes Thistle thought they had broken the deadlock when the ball appeared to have crossed the line – but referee Eric Robertson waved play on.
The Caithness side eventually opened the scoring with 10 minutes of the half left through Martin Banks but within five minutes Darran Goller had equalised. Capitulation followed in the second period as Staxigoe netted twice in the final twenty minutes to put the game beyond Tain. Staxigoe retook the lead via an unfortunate Paul Cowie own goal and the final goal to make it 3-1 was a second for Banks.