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Football: Arthur wins player of the year

WHALSAY captain Richard Arthur was named player of the year at the Shetland Football Association’s annual awards ceremony held at Shetland Hotel on Saturday to mark the end of the 2010 season.

The defender skippered the side through an extraordinary year in which they won the Highland Fuels Cup, the Manson Cup and the Fraser Cup on top of the premier league title. Just to add the island’s glow of pride, their ‘B’ team won the reserve league.

Whitedale striker picked up the premier league’s top goal scorer award with 22 goals from all competitions, a full six goals ahead of his nearest challengers Laurence Pearson and Scott Henderson, both of Scalloway FC, who picked up 16 goals each.

SFA president Magnus Flaws thanked the many volunteers such as fixture secretaries and referees without whose dedication the sport would cease to function in the isles.

He also acknowledged the support of Shetland football’s three sponsors: association sponsor Brudolff Hotels, premier league sponsor G&S Flooring and reserve league sponsors Shetland Chiropractic.

After an excellent meal the season’s trophy winners were presented with their cups and then the individual awards were handed out.

As well as player and goal scorer of the year, an award was reserved for the best referee who this year was judged to be Robbie Goudie.

The 2010 season got underway with the Highland Fuels Cup which saw Whalsay get off to a good start, eventually beating Celtic 2-1 winners despite their stiff challenge.

The league season began with last year’s runners up Delting beating Celtic 3-1 and Whitedale giving Spurs a 4-0 drubbing. Whalsay played host to Ness and ground out a 2-1 win to get their title defence up and running, whilst Scalloway succumbed to a 5-1 defeat to Thistle.

The league continued to the end of April with the focus moving onto the Madrid Cup. Due to the number of teams competing in the G&S Flooring premier league, this contest was played in a group format – two groups of four playing each other home and away with the top two from each group going on to the knock-out stages.

Group One consisted of Celtic, Scalloway, Spurs and Thistle; Group Two consisted of Delting, Ness Utd, Whalsay and Whitedale. The competition threw up some interesting results over May with the semi-finals finally contested by Celtic and Delting, Whalsay and Spurs. Both games were won by the away teams 3-1, and Spurs clinched the cup after 2009’s disappointment with a 1-0 over Delting.

With league duty underway again Whalsay were steady in defence and managed to win important games against the pre-season favourites Delting to challenge them for the title.

June saw the two old adversaries’ first meeting in the league when they battled out a hotly contested 3-3 draw. The isles’ side had earlier won the battle to sign Unst hit man Erik Thomson, who showed his worth by netting all three of the team’s goals in Brae.

Ness Utd were finally rewarded for their hard work picking up their first win of the season with a 6-0 win over Thistle, while they had a good 2-0 away win over Celtic in an entertaining game at Seafield.
June saw the Manson Cup get underway again in a group format for the early stages of competition. This cup was only played as a single league though and the semi-finals saw Scalloway beat Spurs 3-1 at Fraser Park to book their place in the final with Whalsay who won 3-0 at home against Whitedale.

The final was a keenly contested game finishing 2-2 at full-time, but Bryan Irvine clinched the winner with eight minutes of extra time to go, bringing in Whalsay’s second piece of silverware of 2010.

July saw Whalsay increase the gap between themselves and the pack, as Delting succumbed to defeats to Scalloway and Celtic.

Spurs avenged their Manson Cup semi final defeat to Scalloway with a 10-0 victory over the village side, while Celtic won 4-0 against Ness to level the scores after their defeat to the south mainland outfit in Lerwick.

The Shetland Chiropractic reserve league title race was warming up with 2009 champions Celtic on a run to keep the Queens Hotel Shield for 2010, but Whalsay were managing to hold the challenge off with some important victories earlier on in the season.

The Fraser Cup got underway as a knock out in July and saw some high scoring games. Scalloway squeezed past Ness in a close game in the quarter finals to claim a home tie versus last season’s winners Delting, who won out in a high scoring game that the north mainland side won 6-4.

Whalsay won in the town against Celtic 2-0 at the quarter final stage to meet Whitedale who they beat 5-2. The final at Fraser Park was an entertaining game which saw Whalsay win 3-2 over Delting.

As well as the domestic competition, the Shetland County squad returned from Orkney with the Milne Cup after a 2-0 win over their hosts at the Pickaquoy centre in Kirkwall with both goals coming from Ross MacDougall.

August saw the run in to the premier league start with Whalsay in pole position and winning the 2010 title with a 5-2 win over Scalloway at Fraser Park, leaving the rest of the chasing pack to fight it out over second place. It was a composed defence of their title and up until this point the isles team were undefeated.

Whalsay’s reserve side went a long way to cementing their claim to the Shetland Chiropractic reserve league title with a 2-1 win over Celtic who were breathing down their necks. Celtic reserves did pick up some silverware though with a 4-2 win over Delting reserve in the Bloomfield Cup final.

The County Shield got underway in earnest with representation from the premier league, but no entries from the Shetland Works league. Eventual finalists Whitedale beat Ness 5-3 in the quarter finals to gain a semi final slot versus Whalsay who they defeated 2-1 at Harbison Park. Spurs beat Delting 2-0 in the other semi after passing the quarter final stage with a win over town rivals Thistle 3-1.

The final was an entertaining game and not without controversy. It was 2-2 at full time with Spurs in the ascendency, but Whitedale had weathered the storm and ran out eventual 6-2 winners after extra time to round off the 2010 season.