Whalsay and Spurs both had resounding victories in senior hockey’s Grutness Trophy competition, against Zetland and Burra respectively.
Spurs 7, Burra 1
Spurs won the toss and immediately made an impact, keen to overturn their poor performance the previous week. Fielding a different line up than normal, the settling period took a little longer, and both teams were patient.
Initially, play commenced evenly and end to end but neither goalkeeper was tested at this stage. Spurs looked the more hungry and were unlucky at times not to score, Morag Fox hitting the post, Sarah Grogan clipping the netting and Fiona Shearer shooting wide.
Spurs were strong in attack and Rona Simpson, Karen MacKay and Shearer were creating opportunities for their strikers. However, their chances were either off target or blocked by Burra defenders Kirsty Halcrow, Kayti Jeromson and Julia Halcrow.
Burra were often sharp on the counter-attack, and were thwarted by Louise Moar, Louise Kelly and Gayle Johnson. Emma Gray was covering well in the Spurs goalmouth. Burra were awarded a penalty corner but to the relief of the Spurs defence Stacey Laurenson’s strike was blasted wide.
Lara Thomason, along with Grogan and Shearer, were creating difficulty down the left flanks for the Burra defence. The pace was fast and a well-placed ball by Simpson found Fox, who was unlucky again not to open the scoring.
The deadlock was broken when a Simpson free pass found Shearer just inside their shooting circle. Her first-time strike was picked up by Grogan, whose timely connection was deflected into the top right corner of the goal just before half time.
Burra came out in the second half all guns blazing and attacked from the outset. Lori Robertson was working well with the speed of Jessica Bradley and the experience of Laurenson. Three minutes into the half Burra were awarded a series of short corners. They were initially saved by Moar and the rebounds cleared by Gray, but then Robertson slotted the ball away to draw level.
Spurs had been here before, having been up against Whalsay last week, and were determined not to make the same mistakes again. Seven minutes in a ball through to Fox from Gayle Henry saw her round the Burra defence before cleverly slotting home to regain the upper hand. From a penalty corner two minutes later, a first-time strike from Fox saw her score her second of the evening.
Bethany Laurenson was re-introduced for Burra and together with Sarah Young they tried to create gaps in the Spurs line-up. However, Shearer intercepted in midfield and drove at the Burra defence. She slipped the ball to Grogan who made no mistake in sliding the ball under the keeper.
Ten minutes later it was Grogan who scored again to claim her hat trick. Another well-worked move down the left saw Grogan and Shearer play a one-two for Shearer to again selflessly slip the ball to Grogan to flick home to go 5-1 ahead.
Burra worked tirelessly, and made use of their youth and experience to try and drag the Spurs defence. However, Johnson was commanding well and encouraging Moar and Kelly in support. MacKay came back into play, as Spurs switched more of the action down the right wing. MacKay linked well with Fox and Henry. A neat ball through to Henry from Thomason saw Henry turn the Burra defence to go solo with the keeper and she calmly put the ball in the net to open her season’s scoring.
Never disheartened, Louise Kok and Mel Henry were doing a fine job for Burra, ably supported by the Laurensons and Vikki Anderson. Unfortunately, Burra footwork saw them concede another penalty in the dying minutes of the match. A Fox strike was picked up on the back post by Grogan, who squeezed her shot in at the near post.
Spurs came away from the match with regained confidence, and Burra should be commended for their performance, and they made life difficult for Spurs throughout.
Best for Burra was Sarah Young while Sarah Grogan stood out for Spurs for her goal-scoring prowess.
Whalsay 9, Zetland 1
Zetland stole the ball from a Whalsay pass-back to apply immediate pressure on the Whalsay defence. Whalsay, however, stood firm at the backline, closing down Zetland’s advances.
Whalsay began to fight back, resulting in end-to-end play for the beginning of the first half. Whalsay took the lead with a touch from Natalie Polson on the back post from a squared ball.
This was quickly followed by a goal from Shelley Sandison who was well positioned within the circle to slot the ball past the keeper.
Zetland fought back with Abbey Irvine sweeping the ball through the Whalsay defence where Helen Robertson found time to strike in a goal. Maggie Irvine then came on and scored straight away.
Whalsay continued to pressure the Zetland goal where Debbie Kane stood strong, making suberb saves and stopping the ball from crossing the line from a particularly long goalmouth scramble. Kara Thomson and Maisie Unsworth also stood strong in midfield for Zetland, with quick passing and closing down Whalsay’s advances towards the Zetland defence.
Whalsay then took advantage of being awarded a short corner with Deborah Mowat scoring her first of the night with a strike from the penalty spot. Natalie Polson then scored at the very end of the half from another short corner.
Whalsay continued to pressure the Zetland defence in the second half and Nicola Duthie scored early on from a cross sent through by Victoria Duthie on the right. Deborah Mowat slammed in another goal from the edge of the circle.
Nicola Duthie was denied a second goal by Kane who managed to deflect an overhead shot onto the crossbar. Deborah Mowat pounced on the rebound for her hat trick.
Later through the half Maree Simpson, in an unusual role as right winger, squared a ball to Deborah Mowat who finished off the scoring.
Zetland unfortunately suffered a few injuries throughout the match which led to a reshuffle of positions.
Players who stood out were Zoe Irvine for Whalsay and Kara Thomson for Zetland.