Shetland 0, Deeside 15
THE SHETLAND rugby team played their second home match in the league against Deeside last Saturday at Clickimin.
So far this season preparations have not been ideal, but there was a good turnout for the squad, with some having to be content to spectate for much of the game.
Despite the numbers the lack of experienced players was apparent quite early, with Deeside going over for the first of two soft tries from a tighthead at an early scrum, which became a regular feature of the match.
Shetland began to settle a bit and put some good phases together, rucking well and showing more confidence with the ball in hand.
However, passing was an issue and it was not long before Deeside scored their second try from a quick tap penalty. Their goal kicking hooker, using the ancient art of the torpedo place kick, was having no luck and missed his second conversion attempt.
Shetland managed to make two or three good breaks, with Scott Standring and Dhanni Moar featuring, but were unable to support them well enough to make it count.
At half time Shetland were down 10-0 but Deeside looked to be tiring and Shetland would have the benefit of the light wind for the second half.
Shetland started well and with Matthew Nicolson and Stuart Jamieson working hard at lineout time, pressure was on Deeside every time the ball went into touch.
A long range penalty by Shane Jamieson hit the post, then a Deeside player, before being touched down. The referee called for a drop out 22, but after captain Nicolson questioned the decision, the referee called for assistant David Smith to advise. Rightly the call was changed to a five metre scrum in favour of Shetland. Unfortunately they were not able to capitalise on their best opportunity to score, as it could have swung the game in their favour.
Shetland spent plenty of time on attack but were unable to capitalise and get over the line. The scrum, which had been wobbly most of the match, started to crumble midway through the second half, with Deeside winning several tightheads when Shetland were in an attacking position.
The ball to the backs was slow and the passing laboured, the lack of training and match time very obvious when Deeside applied pressure on the Shetland youngsters.
With 15 minutes to go Deeside broke out and scored their third try, again unconverted, which left the Shetland team deflated. Up until then they had still been in the game. The Deeside pack was well drilled and their backs sharp, with the fly half especially catching the eye.
There were some good performances for Shetland, but consistency and aggression were the missing ingredients up front and skill work is required if the backs are to trouble Orkney tomorrow.
Two areas that have improved since the first match were in and around the ruck and defence in the backs, led by winger Peter Sidgwick, who despite his small frame left several big men wondering what had hit them.
Tomorrow at 3pm Shetland take on Orkney at Clickimin for the Shetland Times Trophy. This is the first inter-county in Shetland since 2005 and will be the county debut for most members of the squad, so supporters are encouraged to get along and support the Shetland team against the auld enemy.