Whalsay remain in pole position in the race for hockey’s Grutness Shield after some of the main opposition took points off each other in last week’s matches.
Spurs 3, Delting 1
Spurs looked to have got their mojo back by fielding a full complement of players. However, they managed only 10 players by the time the match started.
Delting looked to be in fine form and tried to expose the Spurs weaknesses. Lorraine Johnson, Donna Murray and Jade Wilson were attacking well and the experience of Nicola Blance and Jillian Copland in the heart of the Delting defence made Spurs wonder if they were in for another whipping.
After the initial 10-minute panic, Spurs began to settle down and find their rhythm. Kristen Jeromson was instructing her team well and play began to switch more through pivotal player Rona Simpson at centre-midfield. Gayle Johnson made her trademark drives down the right wing, connecting well with Morag Fox. Lauren Devonald and Blance were reading them well, however, and put paid to any advances the Spurs lasses made.
Delting always looked dangerous on the break and goalkeeper Elaine Smith was called upon to make the first saves of the game. From there on in Smith instructed her defence of Louise Moar, Ava Sim and Emma Inkster and they appeared more organised for the duration of the game.
A period of end-to-end play continued with both teams making advances into their attacking circles. Spurs were first to be awarded a penalty corner but their attack was cleared to safety by Toni Sidgwick in the Delting goal. This appeared to give Spurs the belief they could have a share of the points, despite being a man down.
Fiona Shearer and Lara Thomason became more effective as the first half wore on. They were coming more into the middle of the park, collecting balls and feeding them wide to Johnson and Jeromson.
The scoring was opened following a drive down the right from Johnson. A ball squared in to the penalty spot by Fox was met by Jeromson who slotted home from close range. Her delighted team mates were now keen for more.
As half time approached Spurs appeared to tire, just as Delting were stepping up a gear. To their disbelief, a penalty corner was awarded to Delting after a series of obstructions in the Spurs circle. Donna Murray swept home the equaliser as the umpires blew for half time.
Not to be outplayed, Spurs came out in the second half refreshed and ready to go. They appeared more aggressive and passionate than in the first half. Shearer put in many well-timed tackles and fed the ball through to Thomason and Jeromson. Spurs were passing well and opening up the field, enabling them to run on to the ball, and take advantage of the extra space.
Fox took up a floating role and sucked her defenders out of position. It was a sneaky trick which worked to Spurs’ advantage as Simpson, Thomason and Shearer were given space in the circle to execute strikes on goal. Sidgwick was alert, however, and dealt with the attacks.
A goal was not long in coming though, as another penalty corner was awarded. Keen to capitalise, Fox switched the ball left to Jeromson whose initial strike was saved, only for Shearer to pop up unmarked and slam in the rebound.
Not to be outshone, Delting also put in some fine performances. Copland became more dominant and the younger Delts always looked to put balls through her. As Spurs cottoned on to their tactics Copland and Murray were more tightly marked. Moar, Sim and Inkster were coping well with the Delting advances and Smith made a few timely saves.
With 10 minutes remaining Spurs scored their third. A fine ball through to Jeromson by Shearer was met by Fox at the top of the Delting circle. Her strike was saved by Sidgwick, only for Johnson to pick up the rebound and calmly push the ball wide into the back of the net.
Delting never gave up and applied pressure to the Spurs defence right to the end. Johnson, Copland, Murray and Blance attacked at the edge of the circle but Spurs dug deep and defended well, knowing that they just had to run down the clock to ensure a long-awaited victory.
Best for Delting was Lauren Devonald who defended consistently throughout the game. For Spurs any of the 10 players could have picked up the honours. However, it was awarded to Fiona Shearer, who battled away continually throughout the 70 minutes.
Scalloway 1, Zetland 2
A well matched game saw end-to-end running from both teams. Zetland’s Maisie Unsworth and Aimee Keith started strongly, putting the Scalloway defence under pressure instantly.
With Scalloway taking time to organise themselves they were caught flat-footed on a number of occasions early in the game and found themselves a goal down after a nicely-finished short corner from Abby Irvine.
Scalloway eventually found their feet and opened up the pitch, spreading the ball deep and wide and stretching Zetland, allowing more tempting runs from Mel Inkster and Rheo Laurenson. Zetland’s Dawn Anderson in defence worked tirelessly to clear the Scalloway threat.
A misplaced Zetland clearance from the circle found the stick of Kerri Redfern who drove in a scuffed shot. She watched it dribble past the Zetland defence to thankfully find Mhairi Moncrieff perfectly poised to tap the ball over the line, leaving Zetland speechless and finishing the half at 1-1.
The second half continued in much the same manner with both teams having a number of chances. Zetland’s pacey forwards were through countless times but Scalloway’s Aimee Topp, Lara Kay and Anne Marie Robinson worked tirelessly to chase them down and with Ann Nicolson between the sticks doing well to close down shots.
A breakdown in communication from Scalloway’s free pass was rightly punished by Zetland when the ball found Aimee Keith one on one with the keeper and she slammed it into the back of the net to secure Zetland’s second.
Scalloway pressed in the dying minutes and were awarded a number of short corners. But they were kept out by keeper Debie Kane, helped by some fantastic running from Dawn Anderson.
Players of the match were Rheo Laurenson for Scalloway and Aimee Keith for Zetland.
Zetland 2, Spurs 1
Spurs started strongly although they only had nine players with good passing between Gail Johnson and Morag Fox. However, the Zetland defence of Vikki Henderson, Dawn Anderson and Lara Jamieson kept them at bay.
Spurs seemed to have much of the play in the first half but good saves from Zetland goalie Debie Kane denied them. Zetland made a break up the park with good passing between Aimee Keith and Stacey Gardner allowing the latter to put one in the back of the net.
The second half saw Spurs re-group and a goal from Lara Thomason drew them level. The Zetland players became more focused, however, and good passing from Helen Robertson and Abbey Irvine resulted in Gardner getting the winner with her second.
Players of the match were Vicki Henderson for Zetland and Ava Sim for Spurs.
Delting 1, Scalloway 0
The continuous rain at Brae made conditions difficult for both players and umpires alike.
Delting started strongly, continually pressurising the Scalloway defence with Kerry Burgess, Donna Murray and Toni Sidgwick all being unlucky not to open the scoring. Scalloway cleared their line well with crucial saves by Christine Georgeson in the early stages.
Scalloway looked dangerous in attack with Mhairi Moncrieff distributing some early balls through to their young target players Karis Irvine and Rheo Laurenson. Clare Stout in the Delting goals dealt calmly with any shots on target.
After a bit of shelter at half time both teams returned to the field eager to secure a victory. Delting were awarded a few penalty corners in quick succession and were delighted to see Brenda Leask convert from the left post in the 47th minute.
Scalloway battled hard to the end but the goal from Leask was to be the only one in the game.
There were numerous great individual performances from Scalloway and Delting and player of the match honours went to Sidgwick for her meandering runs in attack and Christine Georgeson for spectacular saves.