Stunning victory in junior inter-county

Shetland’s junior inter-county team regained the Stuart Cup in Kirkwall this week, defeating Orkney by an overall points tally of 214-153.

Shortly before we went to press the athletics team completed the week’s action with a 104-90 victory, following the earlier successes in netball, swimming and hockey. Only the footballers came up short, losing by a single goal in match they dom-inated for long periods.

Shetland had held a 47-point lead going into yesterday’s athletics match, which was extended to 61 in the end.

The main shock came with the hockey team’s 3-0 win on Wednes-day evening, the first victory on Orkney soil for 16 years.

After an even first half, with Orkney gaining three short corners to Shetland’s three, captain Ava Sim opened the scoring four minutes after the break. Margaret Johnston created the opening, laid the ball in and Sim swept it into the net.

Tammi Anderson made it two with a back-post tap in following good work by Zoe Irvine and the icing on the cake was provided by young Rowan Nicolson, who deflected home an Irvine strike.

Shetland had most of the play in the second half with Orkney’s best effort being well saved by keeper Jessica Bradley and cleared by Debbie Sneddon.

The victory was an unexpected boost for coaches Stacey Laurenson and Kristan Robertson, who were in charge of the team for the first time.

Laurenson said she was absolutely delighted with the result. In her opinion the whole team performed well, with possibly Sneddon and Sim just shading their colleagues.

She said: “It feels really good. It was basically a brand new team this year with eight new faces and I don’t think many folk expected us to win. Zoe Irvine had been injured but she played a full game and she played really well.

“It was a brilliant night for the team and I can hardly believe that they won.”

(Full hockey and athletics reports will be included next week).

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Orkney 25, Shetland 33

Netball was the first event of this year’s inter-county, and another close game was anticipated with only four goals separating the two teams in last year’s encounter. With the match being played at noon on Tuesday there was a smaller than expected crowd in the Pickaquoy Centre. However, the Shetland contingency were in fine voice, im­mediately getting behind their team.

Orkney scored first despite Shetland having the first centre pass but the visitors countered with some slick passing and well-timed move-ment allowing them to draw even.

Having gained possession deep in their own defensive third Shetland demonstrated great team work to play the ball up court and edged ahead by two goals. Impressive linking play from Inga Woods and Sophie May Leyland gave them command of the centre court and they crept further ahead at 9-3.

At this point Shetland captain, the ever reliable Christine Jamieson, who was suffering from a chest infection, had to leave the court. Ava Sim moved to goal attack and first cap Chloe Miller stepped into goal shoot. With her first touch of the ball Chloe received a pass at the edge of the circle and wowed the crowd with her long range clean-through shot. This settled her nerves and allowed her to net another before the end of the first quarter, with Shetland leading 11-4.

The second quarter was an end-to-end affair with the Shetland defence working very hard to contain the determined Orkney attack. However, with tight man-to-man marking and good aerial awareness from Louise Kelly and Emma Leask the Orkney shooters were forced into making futile long-range attempts on goal. Shetland retained their lead with the score settling at 16-12.

The third quarter proved to be the toughest for the Shetland team with the Orkney goal attack suddenly coming on to form and missing very few chances, even from the edge of the circle. The Shetland players’ mental strength and resolve was put to the test as the score swung for the first time since the first goal of the match in Orkney’s favour at 19-20.

Suddenly the Shetland players dug deep and with all of them fighting for every ball and working resolutely as a team they once more turned the game in their favour. As well as closing down the Orkney wing attack as a front line feed, Louise Birnie supported the Shetland attack to good effect, allowing Ava Sim to effectively work the circle alongside Chloe Miller and the shooters netted five goals in quick succession. That brought the score to 25-22, putting Shetland in a good position for the final and deciding quarter.

With captain Christine Jamieson taking to the court once more the whole team were re-energised and immediately took control. The Orkney defence struggled to handle the well-grooved passing and well-timed movements of the Sim-Jamieson shooting duo and accurate feeds into the circle from Leyland and Woods.

The Shetland defence were still working tirelessly to limit the Orkney attack – Louise Kelly frustrating the goal shooter with her incessant pressure and presence and Emma Leask successfully keeping her opponent outside the shooting circle. Orkney were therefore denied the opportunity to close the widening gap and the Shetland team claimed the victory with a convincing eight-goal margin.

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Orkney 1, Shetland 0

Shetland started this game brightly when Daniel Johnston was played in and the Orkney goalkeeper did well to block the ball away for a corner.

The corner almost led to a goal with the home defence scrambling the ball away at the far post.

After 10 minutes the visitors had the chance of the match as James Aitken played in a cross from the left and Connor Regan’s cut back was knocked wide by Daniel Johnston with the whole goal gaping.

With Shane Jamieson dominating midfield it only looked a matter of time until Shetland gained the lead, however Orkney began to gain confidence and the Shetland attacks foundered on a committed home defence.

Twenty-five minutes in good work by Daniel Johnston led to a shot from Connor Regan that shaved the far post.

Orkney’s first real chance arrived when their number nine David Delday broke down the right and Graham Rendall shot just wide.

Minutes before the break Shane Jamieson curled a free kick just wide of the far post.

Orkney had the first chance of the second half when Delday spooned the ball over bar when well positioned.

Shetland had the ball in the net minutes later following a long throw from Stuart Goodlad. The ball was flicked in but the Shetland attacker was penalised correctly for climbing all over an Orkney defender.

Slack play in midfield from the visitors led to the only goal of the game. Orkney broke and Graham Rendall sped away down the right and smacked a great shot across the keeper Grant Wood into the far corner.

Shetland responded by taking the game to the home side. David Thomson cracked a shot just wide and Connor Regan did likewise before Shane Jamieson’s header shaved the far post.

Shane played James Aitken through the centre as the visitors rang the changes but his effort crashed off the cross bar. It just wasn’t Shetland’s night.

A very disappointing performance from Shetland whose movement off the ball and composure left a lot to be desired after the first quarter. Two poor, shapeless sides who could hardly string a couple of passes together was the verdict of an experienced Orkney spectator.

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Orkney 32, Shetland 62

Shetland had another convincing win in the swimming. Orkney’s only first place came in the opening race, the 50m butterfly, as Morna Brown stormed home in a good time of 31.49, but Shetland took second and third with Megan Nicolson followed by Nicole Petursdottir. Orkney’s Jo Donaldson was fourth.

The boys’ butterfly set the pattern for that side of the competition as the Shetland lads gained first and second in all their races. Calum Macgregor won, setting a new record of 27.29, followed by the former holder Tom Raikes in 27.99.

In the girls’ 50m backstroke Amy Harper improved her own record to 31.40 while Orkney gained second and third through Morna Brown and Ami Garriock with Jessika Swanson fourth.

Felix Gifford won the boys’ backstroke in 30.19 with Calum second in 31.59. Andrea Strachan and Nicole Petursdottir then gained a one-two in the 50 metres breast sroke while Craig Nicolson and Jake Swanson did likewise for the boys. Andrea’s time was 34.86 while Craig achieved a personal best of 34.

The 100 metres freestyle produced another double with Amy Harper pipping Andrea in 1.21 while in the boys’ event Felix Gifford led home Tom Raikes and was only 0.16 away from breaking the record (set way back in 1983) in 54.26.

The girls comfortably won the 4x50m relay with Amy Harper leading off followed by Megan Nicolson, Nicole Petursdottir and finally Andrea Strachan.

The boys turned in a brilliant relay to smash the record set by Shetland back in 2000. Calum Macgregor led off followed by Craig Nicolson, Felix Gifford and finally Tom Raikes and they recorded a time of 1min 43.06 which was around 1.7 seconds inside the old record.


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