Strong Shetland triumph in senior netball inter-county match

The senior netball inter-county team with their trophy. Back (from left): Lauren Smith, Sarah Kay, Ava Sim, Louise Moar, Dawn Manson. Front: Emma Leask, Andrea Tait, Vicki Henderson (captain), Marie Clark and Inga Woods. Missing from photo is Sophie May Leyland. Photo: Kevin Jones. Click image to enlarge.
The senior netball inter-county team with their trophy. Back (from left): Lauren Smith, Sarah Kay, Ava Sim, Louise Moar, Dawn Manson. Front: Emma Leask, Andrea Tait, Vicki Henderson (captain), Marie Clark and Inga Woods. Missing from photo is Sophie May Leyland. Photo: Kevin Jones. Click image to enlarge.

Shetland won the A match of the 29th annual senior netball inter-county on Saturday, defeating Orkney 43-29. Shetland also picked up the B team trophy as Orkney were unable to field a team, with the home B team losing out 37-30 in a friendly against the Orkney A team.

Shetland A 43, Orkney A 29

Shetland had the first centre pass and Marie Clark scored within the first 30 seconds. Both teams then had a series of errors with each missing a shot on goal.

Orkney’s Michelle Clouston opened Orkney’s account after three and half minutes and the score quickly reached 3-3 with furious play from both sides. However, Shetland pulled ahead to 6-3 with some great passing play between Clark and Ava Sim, combined with strong defending from Andrea Tait and Emma Leask to deny Orkney their shots on goal.

Shetland capitalised on Orkney’s errors to pull ahead 10-4. Tait had a wonderful interception in Orkney’s circle, which was easily passed down the court to Sim, bringing the score to 11-4. At the end of the first quarter Shetland led 12-6.

The second quarter saw Orkney lose their opening centre pass, followed by two quick goals from Shetland. The combined force of Shetland’s Vicki Henderson (captain), Sophie May Leyland and Inga Woods saw them dominate in the centre third of the court and score seven goals in a row.

Orkney defenders Shona Slater (captain) and Claire Wilson made several interceptions, but their team were unable to convert their hard work due to the strength of Shetland’s play in the centre of the court and defence in the circle. Shetland’s Clark was injured with just three minutes left to play in this quarter, and was replaced by Dawn Manson.

Manson settled immediately into the game and scored almost instantly to bring the score up to 23-9. This was followed by another goal from Manson right at the edge of the circle after a flying interception from Leask.

Orkney regained composure and had some strong, confident passing between Joanna Sinclair, Vicki Copland and Caron Bews to enable their shooting combination of Beverly Campbell and Michelle Clouston to easily score two goals in a row.

Shetland were quick to reply with a goal from Sim, despite the excellent lean from Orkney’s Wilson, and the quarter closed at 25-12 in Shetland’s favour.

After half-time Orkney had swapped their C and WD players around while Shetland made no changes and started play with the first centre pass. The defence for both teams had a strong opening to this quarter, denying goals at both ends of the court.

Shetland’s Sim was the first to score after three minutes and her team continued to dominate despite being unsettled with the change at GA. Manson and Sim passed the ball ably around the circle, using Henderson and Leyland to their full advantage.

Orkney’s Wilson managed to disrupt the shooting performance of Manson and Sim with her height advantage and defence of the post. Shetland’s Tait made another of her inspired interceptions, but Shetland were unable to convert it to a goal.

Orkney’s passing and confidence seemed to increase with a period of strong scoring from Campbell and Clouston. Both teams seemed unsettled and at times subdued during this quarter, which finished 33-19 to Shetland.

Shetland allowed Leask to have a much deserved rest and brought on Sarah Kay in her place. Orkney changed their centre. Shetland scored quickly after their opening centre pass but Orkney were quick to respond and looked the more dominant side for a time – closing the gap to 35-23.

Orkney’s centre court play improved with strong marking and passing from all their players. Each team scored quickly following their own centre pass and Shetland had much less possession and control over the game.

The mood within the Shetland team changed after a fantastic Tait interception which seemed to lift the home side. The introduction of Kay unsettled the Orkney GS, pushing her further towards the edge of the circle. There was some lovely play between Shetland’s Henderson, Manson and Sim to bring the final score to 43-29.

Shetland thoroughly deserved this win, looking the more confident and fitter side.

Shetland Ladies Netball Association fixtures secretary Jenny Wylie presented the Donaldson Trophy to captain Vicki Henderson.

Tribute must be paid to Orkney GD Shona Slater who announced that this would be her last appearance in Shetland for the senior inter-county fixture after 25 years of play.

Shetland B 30, Orkney A 37

Unfortunately Orkney were unable to field a B team for the fixture and the trophy was awarded to the Shetland B team captain Hazel Uren. Instead a friendly was played between Shetland B and Orkney A.

Shetland won the first centre but Orkney were quick to gain possession and score the opening goal.

The Orkney reserve players from their A team were used during this fixture and were quick to stamp their mark on the match. Orkney scored four goals in a row with some lovely shooting from GS Michelle Clouston and GA Hannah Nixon.

Shetland GA Louise Jamieson scored the home side’s first goal after four minutes, following some good play from Catherine Williamson and Uren.

Orkney were quick to get the ball back into their circle but Shetland GD Natalie Polson caught the rebound and this was converted by Chloe Miller into an excellent goal from the edge of the circle. Shetland closed the gap to 5-4 despite Orkney being the first team to settle.

Orkney’s Caron Bews suffered a nasty injury and was replaced by Shona Slater. Orkney were able to adapt to this change quickly and scored several times in a row to bring the score up to 11-6.

Shetland’s Jennifer Thomson caught a rebound and with strong support from Maree Simpson enabled the ball to reach Jamieson who scored three goals in a row to end the quarter at 11-9.

Orkney began the second quarter confidently, scoring another four goals before Shetland could reply. The Shetland team were struggling to find space for their passes and Orkney quickly increased the lead to 17-10.

Shetland seemed to find their feet and were able to score with some great play between Williamson, Uren and Jamieson, closing the gap to 19-14. Orkney were quick to respond with confident and accurate shooting from Clouston and Nixon, ending the quarter at 24-16.

At half time Shetland made several changes, bringing on Karen Mackay, Catherine Henry and Fiona Dally. Orkney replaced Shona Slater with Joanna Sinclair.

Orkney opened the scoring but Shetland’s Henry was quick to get her first goal from the edge of the circle.

Strong marking from Dally saw some forced errors from the Orkney attacking players. Shetland worked hard to get the ball into their circle and were able to score three goals in a row, largely due to the centre third control from Mackay, Williamson and Uren. However, poor discipline from Shetland saw Orkney score five goals in a row to finish 32-22 ahead.

In the final quarter Shetland brought back Louise Jamieson and there was some great defending and interceptions from Polson and Dally.

Jamieson was extremely unlucky not to score more goals in the opening part of this quarter, the ball rolling out of the ring on several occasions. Orkney had two amazing goals from the edge of the circle, increasing their lead to 35-23.

Following good linking from Shetland’s Mackay and Uren, Jamieson went on to score three goals in a row to bring the score to 37-28. Shetland found their fighting spirit and went on to score a further two goals, closing the gap and ending the match at 37-30.

This was an admirable score for the Shetland B team given that they were competing against many of the Orkney A players. A spokeswoman thanked the Orkney A players who were willing to compete in two matches to enable the B team to participate in a game.

Also thanked were umpires Anne Marie Peacock and Leighanne Carracher, timekeepers/scorers Mandy Henderson, Stella Oldbury and Diane Thomson, coach Valerie Morrison, assistant coach Sarah Grogan and fitness coach Karen Craigie.

Finally, the spokeswoman congratulated the Shetland competitors for their hard work which had paid dividends with the results achieved.


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