23rd May 2018
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Smiles short-lived as Orkney wins

, by , in Sport

HOCKEY
Shetland 1, Orkney 4

THE VISITORS’ 4-1 victory was not as easy as the score may suggest, Shetland’s underdogs putting in a fine performance.

Orkney started with most of the pressure in the first half with continual attack on Shetland’s defence while Shetland sweeper Corrine Dalziel looked confident, soaking up and passing the ball around her defence.

Orkney’s greater width and penetration did, however, frustrate the Shetland tactics and resulted in many penalty corners which ultimately would be the ruin of Shetland’s aspirations for victory.

Orkney captain Inga Kemp and her team mate Hetty Jenkins both made their mark early on, thundering in diagonal balls only to be denied by the brilliance of Victoria Duthie in goal for Shetland.

It was not long before one of the many short corners resulted in the first goal for Orkney when a well-worked training ground set-piece gave Jenkins the opener.

Shetland captain Kristen Jeromson had been relatively tame until this point and it was only after Shetland went 1-0 down that she unleashed her impressive side. Deep in defence she began to make menacing runs up the wing, forcing the packed Orkney defence to collapse at times. Combining her moves with the wizardry of Zoe Irvine in midfield the pair made a devastating impact.

However, it was a move from midfield master Aimee Keith, surging forward, which put Orkney under severe pressure and won Shetland a penalty corner. From the set piece Rhiannon Inkster struck the ball magnificently to draw Shetland level.

Orkney were not long responding though and just before half time another penalty corner resulted in almost a duplicate of the first goal, putting the reds 2-1 up at half-time.

Shetland started the second half well with a bit more action on the wings.

Great distribution from Lorna Scott on the right provided lots of new opportunities and Emma Inkster continued to threaten the Orkney defence. The substitutions for Margaret Johnston and Shelley Sandison were well timed and both played an excellent role in keeping the left wing active.

Meanwhile, Orkney seemed destined to close the game out and continued their pursuit on the Shetland defence. Ava Sim’s strength and perception at the back had held out the Orkney attack on several occasions and she was unlucky to have been at the hands of this defeat after such a great all-round performance. Her skills featured enormously throughout the game and it was evident from this performance why she is number one on most of the Shetland hockey teams’ wish lists.

As the second half continued Shetland were undone by two more Orkney goals. The first of these was scored by the diminutive Emma Kirkpatrick who leapt into the box and pounced on the ball, pushing it wide past the Shetland keeper.

From an innocuous clash a penalty corner awarded in the last minute gave Inga Kemp her final signature on the game as she slotted the ball into the goal for a fitting tribute to her a great performance and leadership which gave Orkney another victory in the 61st inter-county.

The Shetland coaches will be bewildered as well as dejected by the outcome, for their team to have played so well but to have come away with so little. They have to be congratulated for raising the standard in Shetland and on the evidence of this it will not be too long before Shetland can look to getting back on a level playing field.

The score may have flattered Orkney; they were far from authoritative and on a better day Shetland may well have exploited their weaknesses somewhat, but they were comfortable in victory.