The final two events of last week’s junior inter-county, hockey and athletics, were both convincingly won by Shetland, contributing to an overall points score of 214-153 in the annual competition.
Orkney 0, Shetland 3
Shetland entered the pitch as the underdogs for another year, having not won since 2002.
For the first five minutes Orkney applied heavy and constant pressure on the Shetland defence to win a free hit just outside the circle. However, the Shetland defence held strong with captain Ava Sim clearing the ball from the danger area.
The Shetland midfield of Hannah Irvine, Margaret Johnston, Rowan Nicolson and Sim played cool, slick passing which led up to a free hit five metres outside the circle.
Sim injected the ball and Zoe Irvine forced a long corner. Their shot found an Orkney player’s foot which resulted in Shetland’s first short corner. The composed Zoe Irvine took a shot at goal which was saved by the Orkney keeper.
The Shetland players suddenly looked like they knew they could win the game and Orkney realised they had a battle on their hands.
Another attack was built up with Sarah Groat at left back feeding a ball wide to the young Megan Jamieson but unfortunately Shetland did not capitalise.
Orkney settled slightly and made a good run up the right wing but were once again stopped by strong defence from Sim.
Orkney broke forward and won their first short corner but the Shetland defence knew what to do and the ball was cleared for an attack resulting in another short corner. However, the Shetland strikers were not picking up the rebounds.
Debbie Sneddon played a good game at right back, closing down the Orkney attack. Megan Jamieson was replaced by Tammi Anderson with the fresh legs making a difference. Orkney tried to counter attack quickly but Shetland worked tirelessly and kept the ball in their attacking end. Rhiannon Inkster showed her skills by out-manoeuvring the Orkney attack and feeding the ball up the pitch.
Play was stopped when Sneddon took a free hit which rose and struck an Orkney player on the head. Orkney won two short corners in a row but were cut out by the Shetland defence with Debbie Robertson at sweeper staying strong and keeping the score 0-0 at half time.
Two minutes into the second half a great run from Shetland’s Johnston finished with a cross ball into the circle where Sim shovelled the ball into the bottom left corner.
Shetland were hungry for another goal and a few minutes later their efforts were rewarded when Zoe Irvine crossed in the ball from the left wing and Tammi Anderson, in her first game of her county career, hit home the second.
Shetland were now dominating and the Orkney players’ heads went down. A fragment of pressure from Orkney was comfortably soaked up by the Shetland defence. Orkney’s only threatening chance came from a long corner which was brilliantly saved by Jessica Bradley. Their rebound appeared to have gone under Bradley but Sneddon was alert and whipped round and hooked it off the line.
Shetland activated the attack mode and Orkney’s defence were having trouble. After a number of tough battles Shetland worked the ball up the park with skilful passing. Zoe Irvine hammered the ball into the circle and Rowan Nicolson struck the ball into the back board to make it 3-0.
Near the end of the game Margaret Johnston was replaced by Caitlin Holmes on the right wing where she provided good linking play. Tammi Anderson came off for Bethany Laurenson and Shetland kept Orkney at bay. Hannah Hunter replaced Rowan Nicolson and had a few good runs at the Orkney defence. Shortly after Julie Brown came on to play sweeper for Debbie Robertson and showed composure in her first ever short corner for Shetland.
As the final whistle blew the Shetland supporters, who had given amazing support throughout the match, invaded the pitch to congratulate the deserved winners.
Shetland 104, Orkney 90
The final day saw the athletics events get under way with everyone hoping for better weather than last year and the Shetland team looking to maintain the dominance of recent years.
The 1,500 metres races got the team off to a terrific start with Joshua Morrison and Bobby Bristow taking first and second respectively and Katie Bristow and Emma Leask echoing the boys’ success with first and second in the girls’ race.
The first field events of the day saw Jordan Morrison and Scott Jeromson compete in the javelin. Jordan built on his recent success, throwing a new personal best of 47.80 metres to win and put him back at the top of the Scottish rankings. Scott also threw extremely well with his furthest throw over 39 metres, just shy of second place.
At the other end of the track both Sophie May Leyland and Caitlin Watt threw season’s bests in the shot, taking third and fourth place and valuable points for the team.
The 100m races were much closer, with Stuart Donald snatching second and Haydn Thomason taking third in the boys’ race, both in very fast times. In the girls’ event Allie Elphinstone ran well to take second and Caitlin Watt was fourth.
In the girls’ 200m Megan Smith came first with a fantastic PB, knocking over a second off her previous best time, and Inga Woods took third place. The honours in the boys’ 200m went to Orkney with Shetland’s Haydn Thomason third and Stuart Donald fourth.
Maurice Williamson smashed the junior inter-county shot putt record, which was set at 13.80m, with a throw of 14.99m, and Craig Sneddon took third in a close contest.
Inga Woods came second in a competitive girls’ javelin event with a new personal best of over 30m and Sophie May took fourth place.
Joshua Morrison and Katie Bristow dominated the boys’ and girls’ 800m with Bobby Bristow and Lauren Odie both finishing third in hard-fought battles.
Michael Heubeck and Sean Maver swept the board in the boys’ long jump while Karen Bannister and Sophie May ensured a share of the points, splitting the Orcadians in the girls’ high jump. Haydn came second in the boys’ 400m with Lewis King fourth and in the girls’ race Emma and Megan came first and second for maximum points.
Maximum points from Eilidh Peterson and Allie Elphinstone in the girls’ long jump and a first and fourth finish in the boys’ high jump made the result of the relays a formality. However, both teams put in good performances with Shetland winning the girls’ 4x100m and Orkney the boys’ race.
The coaches involved with the Shetland squad said they would like to express how proud they were of the athletes’ performances and their commitment to training over the past few months.