22nd May 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Sporting Chance – Jillian Copland

, by , in Sport

Shetland’s hockey players will be doing battle with Orkney next weekend in the annual senior inter-county match at Kirkwall. One of those in action will be PE teacher JILLIAN COPLAND from Ollaberry. She tasted success at local level last week as a member of the Delting team which won the Lizzie Polson Shield, but is under no illusions about the task ahead against an Orkney team which have been very impressive in recent years.

My first taste of action was at . . .

After my twin sister Janetta beat me to it, I arrived feet first at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on 19th December, 1980 at 3.07pm.

I mainly got into hockey because . . .
In my early days I showed an interest and took part in a variety of sports such as swimming, athletics, netball and badminton to name a few. Hockey became a favourite during my secondary school days when I played as part of the Brae school team in the junior league. This led on to playing for Delting seniors at an early age.

A big influence was . . .
My teachers – Janice Graham and Colin Kirkness – played a big part in my hockey development. Many times Janice gave us lifts to Lerwick in order to meet our senior team commitments. My first coaches at junior county level were Greg Burgess and Fiona Black who were extremely influential and supportive. They were followed by Fiona Grant (now Shearer) and Lesley Jamieson (now Spence) – those were the days!

As a youngster my sporting heroes were . . .
If there was sport on TV I’d be watching it (with a few exceptions) and as a result I have many heroes including athletes Linford Christie, Colin Jackson, Liz McColgan and Sally Gunnell, swimmer Sharron Davies, rowers Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent and tennis star Stefi Graff. The list goes on . . .

Currently I most admire . . .
At a local level I admire my work colleague, team mate and friend Jill Hibbert for her dedication and commitment to hockey for a remarkable number of years.

I am also in complete admiration of athletes who compete on an individual basis. The junior inter-county high jumpers spring to mind as they are under immense pressure within their event.

At national level I keep an eye on Linda Clement as she was in my class at university. She plays predominantly as a midfielder and currently has 120 caps for Scotland and I believe nearly 30 for Great Britain.

My best achievements have been . . .
At junior level joint captaincy of the inter-county team with my twin sister was a great moment. Disaster nearly struck when Janetta discovered her stick was broken during the warm up. However, we managed to draw against Orkney at Clickimin. Well done team.

Being selected to play at senior level for Shetland is an accomplishment I enjoy greatly and hopefully I’ve got a good number of years still to come.

Also achieving my wish to become a PE teacher by completing my degree at Moray House (Edinburgh University). Thanks must go to Colin Kirkness for his support throughout my schooling, training and now teaching.

The best thing about hockey is . . .
Being part of a team, scoring goals, winning . . . It isn’t just the taking part that counts – or is it?

And the worst thing is . . .
Nothing springs to mind.

Abiding memories were . . .
After coaching the junior inter-county team for five years along with Kerri Moulder, I would have to say the goal the lasses scored versus Orkney this year will stay with me for a long time. Well done to this year’s squad and good luck to whoever takes over the coaching role for 2009. It’s been a pleasure to work with you all over the years.

The occasion of the 50th anniversary of the junior inter-couinty in Orkney. It was great to be involved in such a milestone.

Away from sport the arrival of my nephew Stuart and my two nieces Ellie and Hannah are very special moments for me. Stuart is showing a keen interest in sports and is making his mark on the junior football scene with Lerwick Thistle FC.

A way of improving hockey would be . . .
There is no way I can get away from the need for a second artificial surface to help with the improvement and development of the game in Shetland. It has been given much press coverage recently and a working group has now been formed to take the venture forward.

At the moment we have a shortage of qualified umpires which does cause us a few problems. If we were able to recruit more umpires this should aid consistency throughout the leagues and help improve the standard of play.

The introduction and development of hockey from an early age is under way and must be encouraged throughout Shetland. A second surface would make it more accessible for all and save many a dad a colossal fuel bill – like my dad had to suffer! Having been involved with primary leagues there are some very promising young players who must be supported at all costs.

My ambitions are to . . .
See and play on the new surface mentioned above. Travel more – I’m already on my way with this one as I’m off to Canada for the festive season.

My hobbies apart from hockey are . . .
Rowing, that is when we manage to get enough to go off. I’m not sure that has happened this year . . . I also enjoy volleyball, reading, dancing, playing my fiddle/double bass, eating out and catching up with friends.

Musically I like to listen to . . .
A wide variety from country, pop, jazz to rock but I probably favour the Scottish dance band music, especially our home grown talent. You know who you are.

I like to read . . .
Anything with a little bit of truth. I enjoy autobiographies and have read those of Peter Kay, Sharon Osbourne, Michael Barrymore and John McEnroe. Recently I have read Unbreakable by Lindsey Hunter, telling the story of her life with her late husband Paul who was known in the snooker world as “the Beckham of the baize”. It was a heartbreak­ing read from beginning to end.

And watch . . .
Any crime series with Taggart and The Bill hot favourites.

The best films I’ve seen are . . .
I am not suggesting these are the best films I’ve ever seen but I am extremely partial to watching the Die Hard quadrilogy!

My favourite actors/actresses . . .
Based on my last response it has to be Bruce Willis.

My favourite food and drink is . . .
Mutton roast, the way Mam makes it, wins hands down. To drink – a good cup of tea takes some beating.

The best places I have visited are . . .
I haven’t travelled very far but to date the best place was Zantè with my university pals after finishing our course and before graduation. We had a blast!

If I could live anywhere in the world other than Shetland it would be . . .
I’m not sure if I could live anywhere else but Australia definitely appeals to me.

My pet hates are . . .
People being late; dishonesty; poor organisation; and people who are not involved in sport who try to spoil it for others – the same goes for Up-Helly-A’.

The living person I most admire is . . .

This is a very hard question to answer but in general terms anyone who sticks to their principles no matter what opinions others have rates highly in my book.

Because . . .
I admire people who stick up for what they believe in and can be honest in difficult situations.

The five people I would invite to my dream dinner party are . . .
If this dinner was to turn into a Come Dine With Me style arrangement I would definitely invite chefs Nick Nairn, Gordon Ramsay, Phil Vickery and Marco Pierre White. Plus MSP Tavish Scott (so I can put the case for a second artificial turf across at a higher political level).

Anything to add . . .
I guess growing up as a twin has had its special moments. Believe it or not we are not identical. We are very easily mistaken for each other and it’s fair to say the conversations I have had with people while they think I am Janetta have been interesting and very informative. However, I am extremely aware of how quickly the tables can be turned so I will say no more.