Rugby triumph in inter-county

, by , in Sport

Shetland 42, Orkney B 14

THE SHETLAND rugby team won the Shetland Times Cup for the first time since 2003 with an excellent performance against a young Orkney second team.

With a fresh wind blowing diagonally across the pitch at Clickimin, Shetland won the toss and decided to play with the wind advantage in the first half.

Orkney kicked off deep and Shetland looked sharp. From the start the forwards were retaining possession and punching holes in the Orkney defence and the backs looked more fluid than in previous week. In the first five minutes possession was 50/50 but the Shetland defence was solid and pressurised Orkney well.

From a Shetland scrum at halfway the ball was moved wide by the backs. Full back Shane Jamieson cut through the Orkney defence and passed to Lewis King who got into the Orkney 22 but was well tackled by the cover defence.

Shetland retained the ball at the ruck and Orkney were penalised for encroaching offside in midfield. From a kickable position scrum half Jeff Dobson took a quick tap and passed to inside centre Steve Kershaw who picked a gap in the disorganised defence to score. The conversion was missed by Shane Jamieson to leave Shetland 5-0 ahead.

From the kick-off Shetland continued to have the better of the game and after a number of phases in the forwards the ball was played to Joe O’Connor who attacked the line at pace. Quick ruck ball was played out to Shane Jamieson who drew two players by arcing his run and passed to Peter Sidgwick on the right wing who outpaced the cover defence and managed to evade the Orkney full back to score at the corner. The conversion was missed again but Shetland were 10-0 ahead with 12 minutes played.

Soon after Shetland were awarded a penalty just outside the 22. This time they decided to go for the points and Shane Jamieson kicked it to put Shetland 13-0 ahead.

Orkney did start to come into the game after this and had the better of the next 10 minutes but Shetland defended well in their 22 and managed to hold on to stop Orkney scoring.

After this period of pressure Shetland did manage to get to halfway. From a ruck tight head prop Dhanni Moar burst through, showed good pace and managed to evade the last defender and score a fine individual try. Jamieson converted to put Shetland 20-0 ahead.

Orkney now started to dominate possession with Shetland guilty of silly penalties at the breakdown. After five minutes of sustained pressure, Orkney inside centre Adam Towrie picked a good line to score near the posts and the successful conversion made it 20-7 to Shetland with 10 minutes of the half remaining.

Shetland continued to struggle for the remainder of the half but crucially managed to stop Orkney from scoring further.

Shetland kicked off knowing the next score would be important and got back into their stride to pressure Orkney. They regained possession and went through a number of phases using their forwards and backs.

(Continued on page 51) From an attacking scrum just outside the Orkney 22 Shetland ran a back move which checked the Orkney defence. Fortunately a poor pass to Maurice Williamson bounced into his hands and the ball was shipped to Peter Sidgwick on the wing who showed great determination to go over at the corner for his second try. The conversion was missed.

From the restart Shetland won possession and a couple of bursts from the forwards saw Shetland reach halfway. Orkney were penalised for handling in the ruck and scrum half Dobson took a quick tap to John Roy Nicholson who went through the first tackle but was tackled after gaining 10 yards. He was looking to be isolated until Dobson charged in and did excellently to drive his much larger opponent away from the ball and secure possession. The support arrived and the ball was moved wide through Stuart Jamieson and Joe O Connor. Maurice Williamson straightened the movement and managed to cut through the cover defence to score a fine team try. The conversion was missed leavilng Shetland 30-7 ahead with only 10 minutes played in the half.

The next 10 minutes saw a stalemate in midfield, Shetland seemingly happy with their lead and defending Orkney possession. Orkney scored midway through the half as Towrie got his second, running through from halfway and sidestepping full back Jamieson. The conversion was kicked to make the score 30-14.

Shetland made two changes with youngsters James Sinclair and Ian Nicol adding fresh legs and 10 minutes later the home side scored again. From a scrum on the Orkney 10 metre line Shetland number eight Matthew Nicholson picked up and scrum half Dobson ran a clever support angle to draw the defence. Nicholson ran through the gap and showed good pace to run in to score near the posts. The conversion was unsuccessful.

With time running out a break from flanker Danny Farnworth put Shetland in Orkney’s 22 and after a number of phases Kershaw scored his second from close range. Jamieson kicked the conversion to see the game finish 42-14 in Shetland’s favour. Orkney were better than the score suggests but Shetland scoring tries early in both halves made their task difficult and proved decisive. The best players for the away team were Gary Coultherd, Steven Kemp and try scorer Towrie.

In a good performance from the home team, every player made an impact with defence at rucks and handling much improved from earlier games. Best were half backs Dobson and O’Connor, forwards Matthew and John Roy Nicholson. Second row Stuart Jamieson pipped Peter Sidgwick for the Northwards man of the match with a robust performance and high work rate throughout the match. This weekend Shetland travel to West Dyce for the next game of the league campaign, hoping to gain some momentum from last weekend’s performance. Training continues on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.30pm at Clickimin. Any players new or old are more that welcome. For more information log on to www.shetlandrugby.com

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Rugby