UPDATE 29/08/2008 15.30pm: MATCH CANCELLED DUE TO WESTERN ISLES TEAM BEING FOGBOUND IN STORNOWAY
SHETLAND will play host to the Western Isles football team tonight for the BP International Island Games Trophy, first claimed by the Western Isles with a 3-1 win in Stornoway two years ago.
Both teams won medals at the 2005 NatWest Island Games, with the Western Isles claiming the bronze medal and Shetland taking gold in front of a home crowd of thousands. However, the teams were both in different groups during the competition and never actually met.
The Western Isles also took part in last year’s island games in Rhodes, where they took the bronze medal again, beating Bermuda 1-0 in the medal play-off and proving their consistency as new entrants to the games.
As the outdoor football season draws to a close in both Shetland and the Western Isles, this will be one of the last opportunities for both teams to play in the build-up to next year’s island games in Åland in July.
Tonight’s match rounds off a bold season for the Shetland county squad that has seen them beat Orkney, Deveronvale and Fort William, with the only defeat last week’s 6-2 reversal against reigning Highland League champions Cove Rangers.
Shetland Football Association president Magnus Flaws said: “It will be the last match of the season for Shetland and a good chance to test ourselves against some island competition before Åland next year. We are all looking forward to the match.”
Western Isles manager Angus Morrison said: “We’re expecting a challenging match – Shetland have shown themselves to compete at a high level and I think Shetland must be one of the favourites for the football competition in Åland next year.
“We all had a great time at the 2005 island games in Shetland and are looking forward to returning to Lerwick, even just for this short visit.”
The Scottish Football Partnership has provided financial assistance to the Western Isles team towards their travel costs, as well as meeting the costs of three visiting referees who will oversee the match.
Referee Chris Boyle, who refereed the men’s football final between Shetland and Guernsey in the 2005 games, will return this weekend to take charge of the match.
SIC convener Sandy Cluness, who will present the trophy to the winning team and host a post-match reception for both teams, said: “I am pleased again to welcome the Western Isles football team to Shetland and hope that plenty of people turn out to enjoy what is certain to be an exciting game.”
The match kicks off at Gilbertson Park tonight at 6pm. Admission will be by programme on sale at venue entrances – £3 for adults and £1 for juniors and OAPs.
Shetland’s squad for tonight’s match is: Paul Grant, Craig Dinwoodie, Leighton Flaws, Ross Moncrieff, Karl Williamson, Richard Arthur, Merv Jamieson, Ross Jamieson, James Johnston, Ross McDougal, Duncan Anderson, Scott Morrison, Kevin Teale, Dominic Mann, Joe Leask, Alan Duncan, Josie Kay.