We are underdogs in Milne Cup clash, says Shetland manager Main

Shetland football team’s coaches Kevin Main (on left) and Robert Geddes at a training session at the Gilbertson Park last Wednesday. Photo: Kevin Jones

The Shetland men’s football and women’s hockey teams go head to head with their Orkney opponents in tomorrow’s inter-county matches.

Both games are at Pickaquoy in Kirkwall, with the hockey at noon and the football following at 2pm.

A celebratory dinner will take place in the evening to mark the 100th anniversary of the Milne Cup football encounter, and a veterans’ game is due to be played on Sunday morning.

As far as the main football match is concerned, Shetland manager Kevin Main is optimistic that his side can get a good result and keep hold of the trophy which they regained with a 2-0 win in Lerwick last year.

He said: “I feel it’s very important to be confident going in to any type of sporting arena. I think if there’s any doubt in any competitor’s mind, that will show up a weakness.

“So it’s important our guys feel confident and from the experience of Shetland inter-county matches before – of which me and [assistant manager] Robert [Geddes] have had a couple – we know that this team is capable of meeting the standard required to win.”

However, Main is under no illusion about the scale of the challenge facing his side.

He said: “Orkney at this moment in time in my mind are clear favourites [due to] their home record over the last year, albeit in a different format – the North Caledonian competition.

“In addition, two years ago we went with great confidence and unfortunately came away with a defeat so we know they are extremely strong and difficult on their home park.”

Football squad*: Saul Swanson (Thistle), Grant Wood (Spurs); Piotr Drozdowski (Whitedale), Leighton Flaws (captain, Delting), Joel Bradley (Celtic), Richard Arthur (Whalsay), Liam Flaws (Ness United), Calvin Leask (Thistle), Cameron Gibbs (Spurs), Jack Clubb (Celtic), James Aitken (Celtic), Stuart Copland (Ness United), Connor Regan (Celtic), Lewis Harkness (Spurs); Greg Tulloch (Whitedale), Gary Sutherland (Delting), Paul Molloy (Spurs), Sam Maver (Spurs).
*Eighteen players will be travelling but only 16 can be selected for the match.

Meanwhile, hopes are high that the Shetland women’s hockey team can improve on their recent record against Orkney.

This year’s game will see Orkney attempt to record a 14th straight victory.

Shetland’s last success came via a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in 2003, but joint coaches Derek and Brenda Leask believe the team is close to finally turning the corner.

Derek Leask said: “The team is well prepared and have been focusing on strength and speed work with weekly Sunday morning training sessions at the Factory Gym at Whiteness.

“Dhanni Moar and his coach Bryan Pearson, devised a 12-week training programme to have the lasses in peak condition. The squad demonstrated great commitment in tuning up in large numbers to every session. The hockey team really appreciated Dhanni and Bryan giving up their time to help them perform to their best in this fixture.

“It’s been a long time since Shetland won the cup in Orkney [1982] but despite the reds’ recent success the team is confident of pushing them all the way this year.

“We’re really looking forward to putting on a competitive display and showing that there is a high standard of hockey in Shetland too.”

Hockey squad: Megan Nicholson (Spurs), Francesca MacColl (Delting); Janetta Williamson (Delting), Rhiannon Inkster (Spurs), Megan Hibbert (Delting) Vicky Wiseman (Burra), Nicola Balfour (Delting), Kristen Jeromson (Burra), Emma Michael (Spurs), Aimee Keith (Zetland), Kayleigh Irvine (Zetland), Maggie Kay (Whalsay), Rhea Nicolson (Burra), Victoria Duthie (Whalsay), Cara Leask (Delting), Kristan Robertson (Burra), Stacey Laurenson (Burra) and Sarah Williamson (Burra).

• Follow The Shetland Times’ website and Facebook page this weekend for scores and updates


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