Runaway hockey leaders Whalsay continued their march towards the Association Rosebowl with victory over Zetland, while Spurs and Burra shared the points.
Whalsay 3, Zetland 1
Whalsay took the first pass back and had a quick break up the field, putting immediate pressure on the Zetland defence. Helen Robertson and Joanne Stewart consistently cleared the danger, however, and took control of the defence.
Zetland fed the ball well to midfield players Stacey Gardner, Aimee Keith and Maisie Unsworth who linked extremely well on the break, and tested the Whalsay defence who rose well to the challenge.
Whalsay struck first through a penalty flick which Fiona Dally seemed to effortlessly place in the top right corner. They increased the lead three minutes later with a well-worked passing move. Nicola Polson found space wide right and crossed an excellently weighted ball to Maree Simpson who met it on the run and swept the ball home.
Zetland mounted a comeback at the end of the half and almost got a goal back following a goalmouth scramble, from which they were awarded a penalty flick. Shona Moncrieff in the Whalsay goal stood firm, however, and made an excellent save to protect the two-goal advantage.
In the second half Zetland again moved the ball well up the field with skilful passing and running off the ball, but Maggie Irvine made vital interventions for Whalsay to regain possession.
Whalsay struck again six minutes into the half, with Deborah Mowat displaying her reverse stick dribbling skills before striking a ball goalwards which was finished with conviction by Angelina Jamieson from close range.
Zetland got a goal back from a good move involving Abbey Irvine and Stacey Gardner which saw Masie Unsworth convincingly strike the ball past the Whalsay keeper.
Spurs 0, Burra 0
On a beautiful, sunny night both teams turned out keen to grab maximum points in order to stop Whalsay running away with the league title.
Spurs and Burra were both missing key players, but were determined to prove their strength without them.
Burra were first to settle as Spurs introduced new and returning players in their line up. However, it was not long before they started stringing passing moves together. Spurs were strong on the right with Morag Fox and Gayle Johnson linking well together, ably supported by Karen MacKay who was making her presence known at right back.
Burra’s strength lay in their key marksmen, namely Stacey Laurenson and sisters Lori and Kristan Robertson. They mixed things up and weaved their way through the Spurs midfield at times. However, once Spurs found their rhythm Louise Moar, Ava Sim and Mackay soon put paid to any Burra advances.
Spurs were forced to defend a series of penalty corners. Showing off their new defensive “masks” they managed to break down many attempts at goal. Sim saved off the line and Elaine Smith in goal made many clearances.
Spurs managed to calm down and were soon on the counter attack. A well-worked move up the right by Fox found Lara Thomason and Rona Simpson in the centre. They managed to wrong foot the Burra defence to play balls into their attacking circle. Unfortunately Rozanne Georgeson and Fiona Shearer could only watch as their efforts were cleared from the goalmouth.
A period of end-to-end play resumed until the whistle was blown for half time.
After the break the teams re-entered the pitch looking to take something from the game. Spurs were first on the attack and Fiona Shearer drove balls up the left wing to her strikers Thomason, Fox and Simpson. Fox was unfortunate not to find the back of the net as her strike was saved by Andrea Henderson in the Burra goal.
Burra introduced Maria Duncan on their right who created some problems in the Spurs defence. Shearer was called upon to drop back and made many clearances from the Burra sideline hits.
As the game wore on both teams were looking desperate for a goal. Burra had the better chances and a penalty corner found the back of the Spurs net. However, their celebrations were short-lived when the goal was deemed illegal.
This only made Burra all the more keen to score and they worked the ball around the Spurs circle. Inkster and MacKay in particular were defending doggedly and made life hard for the Burra strike force. Minutes later a lifted ball struck in to Inkster deflected onto Shearer’s feet. Burra claimed for a penalty stroke but the umpires differed.
This appeared to lift Spurs as they charged up the park on the counter attack. Inkster and Simpson pushed through some fine balls but the strikers either put them wide, off the post or straight to the keeper.
As the clock ran down both teams appeared disappointed not to have scored. However, as events unfolded a draw was a fair result.
A well-fought battle saw Melanie Cooper win the honour of best player for Burra. For the home team Emma Inkster outshone her team mates with her creative and defensive play in midfield.