Spurs moved level at the top of hockey’s Association Rosebowl league with a comfortable win over Juniors but Whalsay, with two games in hand, maintained their advantage with a single-goal victory against Scalloway. The week’s action also saw Burra and Zetland pick up three points apiece.
Spurs 5, Juniors 1
Juniors looked confident following their inter-county match last week and pressed the Spurs defence early on.
Captain Rowan Nicolson was communicating well with her midfield of Karis Irvine, Karis Fraser and Hannah Hunter. However, the Spurs defence of Louise Moar, Louise Kelly and Kara Thompson were sharp on the ball, protecting stand-in goalkeeper Andrea Tait from any danger.
Spurs soon turned the game around and were attacking from all angles. Gayle Johnson and Karen MacKay were creating space on the right wing, weaving through holes in the Juniors defence. Likewise on the left, Rona Simpson and Fiona Shearer were playing many one-twos, threading the ball through to striker Emma Gray at centre forward.
Megan Nicolson was having a fine game in the Juniors goal, saving strikes on goal by Gray, MacKay and Shearer at awkward angles.
Juniors saw a chance for a counter attack with Debbie Sneddon using her silky skills to wrong foot the Spurs defence. However, Andrea Tait was pulling off some amazing saves for Spurs.
An unfortunate decision by the umpire saw Spurs concede the first penalty corner of the match, following a save by Tait. The ball was passed into play quickly before the Spurs defence were ready. To the delight of the Juniors team, Sneddon had converted the penalty into the net.
Following much miscommunication, Emma Inkster was awarded a green card. With Spurs now a player down, Shearer rallied her team and got them refocused. This seemed to do the trick as they were fired up and ready to go.
A nice flick on between Ava Sim and Shearer found Emma Gray ready to pounce on the ball and she slotted home from close range to make the half-time score 1-1.
Spurs came out with all guns blazing in the second half. Inkster returned to the pitch and, supported by Sim, they opened up play in midfield. Wide midfielders Johnson and Shearer were now dominating the game and were popping some fine passes in to their forward line of Gray, Simpson and MacKay
As a result Spurs were awarded a series of penalty corners. Learning from what happened in the first half, Shearer played in quick balls in. This seemed to pay off as Simpson and Gray scored two goals in quick succession.
Despite the Juniors’ best efforts Spurs were now on fire, playing deep and wide and spreading the ball around.
Juniors introduced Megan Hibbert up front. Irvine and Nicolson were trying to play long balls through to her, but Louise Kelly and Louise Moar were quick to mop up any through balls. Andrea Tait was commanding her goal area magnificently and did well to force the strikers into making errors.
As the game drew to a close Karen MacKay managed to tap in at the back post to make it 4-1 in Spurs’ favour before Emma Gray scored to get her third hat trick of the season.
All in all it was a great team performance by Spurs. The best player could have been any of the 11 but it was judged to be Gayle Johnson, despite an awesome game by Andrea Tait in goal. For Juniors, another gutsy performance saw some strong performances, Megan Nicolson just nudging out team mates Debbie Sneddon and captain Rowan Nicolson.
Burra 5, Zetland 0
Burra and Zetland both started full of energy and were determined to get a good start. Burra, however, were stronger and pushed the Zetland defence.
Burra were unable to capitalise from a few good runs up to the Zetland goals with a few shots going wide. Zetland were eager to fight back but the Burra defence were standing strong and didn’t let them through. Burra were rewarded with a goal from Bethany Laurenson and the half time score stood at 1-0.
Zetland fought back in the second half with good play from Erica Leask to pressurise the Burra defenders. Good linking play from Vikki Anderson, Stacy Laurenson and Kristen Robertson saw a goal come from Stacy Laurenson.
After that the next three came in quick succession for Burra with Kristan Robertson getting two and another from Bethany Laurenson.
Player of the match for Burra was Vikki Anderson while Aimee Keith was picked out for Zetland.
Scalloway 0, Whalsay 1
The game started well for both teams with end-to-end play. Whalsay’s penetration of Scalloway’s circle resulted in a few short corners but Scalloway’s organised defence robbed them of goal conversions.
Just before the first half finished a quick attack from Whalsay’s midfield caught Scalloway’s defence off guard and Angelina Jamieson converted the attack into a goal.
The start of the second half saw Scalloway make some formation changes to help them get the goal they were hungry for. The game was again end to end but Scalloway’s pressure was more dominant with a few attacks on Whalsay’s circle.
Whalsay had a few attacks towards the end of the half which again caught Scalloway’s defence off guard. The attacks were dealt with by the defence, however, with Kate Moncrieff making a few good tackles. Scalloway put pressure on the Whalsay defence but it was not their night to see the ball hit the back of the net.
Players of the match were Kirsten Flett for Scalloway for her reliable skills throughout the game and Maggie Irvine for Whalsay.
Zetland 4, Juniors 0
Juniors began with the first pass back, but Zetland came out strongly with Aimee Keith attacking well as they settled quickly into the game.
Juniors managed to stay strong in defence and began to play the ball up to their forwards with some good running from Rowan Nicolson. But it was Zetland who managed to capitalise on their strong start, quickly playing the ball up the pitch to Maisie Unsworth whose quick run into the circle and strong strike led to their first goal of the match.
Both teams continued to push looking for the next goal, but it was good passing and linking play through the midfield that saw Zetland stretching the Juniors defence. They were awarded the first short corner of the game. Hannah Irvine pushed the ball out to Keith who struck the ball from the edge of the circle and scored Zetland’s second.
Juniors settled more into the game in the second half with Karis Irvine controlling the ball well but Zetland’s defence stood strong with determined play from Dawn Anderson and Joanne Stewart.
Zetland were made to work hard with Juniors pushing to get back into the game. Following a series of attacks on goal, Debi Kane finally cleared off the goal line to give Zetland some breathing space.
Zetland managed to gain some composure and push forward once again. The Juniors defence were put under pressure with a short corner awarded, but good clearances from Debbie Sneddon and Lindsey Morrison kept the score at 2-0.
Juniors were again pushing for the next goal with good running from Lori Robertson. However, Zetland did not give in and after more attacking play were awarded another short corner which Vicki Henderson slotted home from close range.
When Juniors restarted after this goal, Keith was instantly applying pressure and managed to win the ball back and a brilliant run ended with a strong strike from the edge of the circle to score Zetland’s fourth.
Juniors continued to fight with tireless running and skilful play from Abby Irvine. However, Zetland managed to stay in control to finish the game with a clean sheet.
Players of the match were Aimee Keith for Zetland and Abby Irvine for Juniors.