Swimming, hockey, football, table tennis and county team up for young awards
The contenders in another two categories for this year’s Shetland Sports Awards sponsored by The Shetland Times and Shetland Recreational Trust are announced today.
In the young sportsperson of the year category the three nominations are table tennis player Lynda Flaws and swimmers Felix Gifford and Amy Harper.
In contention for young team of the year are the overall junior inter-county squad, the under-17 Shetland football team and the Shetland junior inter-county hockey team.
Young Sportsperson of the Year (nominations)
Since coming to prominence as an eight-year-old Lynda Flaws has gone from strength to strength in her sport. She was Scottish primary schools champion for two years running and in 2005, still aged only 12, was the youngest competitor when Shetland staged the island games, picking up one silver and two bronze medals.
Lynda went on to become Scottish under-15 champion and did likewise last November when she progressed to the under-18 ranks.
Just a few weeks ago she entered a top competition in Denmark, the Århus Open, and won the Ladies’ Class Two Singles, reached two other finals and picked up 650 Danish krone into the bargain.
Not content with all that, Lynda is also a very talented footballer, and is now a regular in the Shetland senior women’s team.
Right up there at the top of Shetland’s many talented young swimmers is Delting Dolphin competitor Felix Gifford. He has been committed to the sport from a very young age and has consistently improved his times and won many medals and trophies for several years.
Felix was a member of the successful team which comfortably saw off Orkney in this year’s junior inter-county competition and a few months ago he travelled to Åland with the Shetland island games swimming team.
Recently he was picked to represent the Scottish schools team, the only competitor in Shetland to achieve the accolade this year. He is also well known for the great encouragement he gives his team mates in the Delting Dolphins squad, usually with a smile on his face.
The achievements of swimmer Amy Harper have been well documented in this newspaper for several years, particularly when she broke the one-minute barrier for the 100 metres freestyle, the first Shetland female to achieve the feat.
She has been a long-standing member of the junior inter-county squad and this year again showed her power in the pool with three first places in the freestyle, backstroke and relay events.
This summer at Åland in her first island games Amy produced a tremendous swim on the final day of action to gain a memorable bronze medal in the 100 metres freestyle.
More recently she had more success in the north district sprint championships, where she improved her personal best to take gold in the 50 metres freestyle.
Young Team of the Year
Overall Junior Inter-county team
The recent record of the squad in the annual junior inter-county against Orkney makes excellent reading from a Shetland point of view.
Since 1995, when they ended a four-year period of Orkney dominance, the Shetland team have recorded 14 victories with only one defeat.
Last year in Lerwick the overall score was a resounding 236 points to 167, and to prove that was no rare winning margin they went to Kirkwall in June this year and returned with a 214-153 overall win.
In the individual events the hockey team won 3-0, the athletics squad wrapped up a 104-90 success, the netballers triumphed 33-25 and the swimmers were 62-32 winners. Only a very unlucky 1-0 defeat by the footballers prevented a clean sweep.
Junior Inter-county Hockey Team
The Shetland junior hockey team were very much the underdogs for this year’s county clash, having not won since 2002.
However, against the odds they returned with a tremendous 3-0 victory. A hectic first half finished goal-less but after the break Shetland really turned up the heat.
With a few minutes gone Ava Sim opened the scoring, Tammi Anderson, making her county debut, got the second and the icing on the cake was applied by Rowan Nicolson. Margaret Johnston supplied the cross for the first with Zoe Irvine providing the assists for the second and third goals.
On the occasions that Orkney came close to scoring they were met with great resistance from Shetland goalkeeper Jessica Bradley, who ensured her team kept a clean sheet.
Under-17 Shetland football team
One of the best performances by a football team at any age group in recent years was recorded this summer in the Loch Lomond International Youth Soccer Festival by the Shetland under-17 squad.
In the group stages of their competition Shetland defeated Alloa Albion 5-1, drew 1-1 wih Hillfield Swifts and beat Blackburn Rovers 5-1.
Those results put them through to a final against well-known Perthshire junior side Luncarty, and in an action-packed match Shetland triumphed 3-1. The marksmen were James Aitken, Lorne McNiven and Haydn Thomason. McNiven was named player of the tournament and captain Martyn Stevenson had the honour of receiving the trophy at the players’ reception after the competition.