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Orkney retain hockey cup

Shetland captain Toni Sudgwick earned the player of the match trophy for her sterling performance keeping the Orkney goal sheet so low. player of the match

ORKNEY retained the 81st Lady Hamilton Cup for the 10th time in a row as they dominated Shetland in a furiously paced inter county hockey match.

The match was rescheduled to Sunday to allow the Orkney team to arrive on the boat after fog stopped their flight.

A large turnout at the Brae astroturf pitch stood for a minute’s silence at Orkney’s request to commemorate the passing of an Orcadian hockey player before play got underway.

Orkney came out strong in the opening phases, using tight marking and strong tackles to gain possession from Shetland’s pushback.

Shetland struggled to get out of their half in the first 10 minutes and would have conceded goals were it not for the stellar defence by the lasses and strong saves from goalkeeper and captain Toni Sidgwick.

Despite some promising counter attacks – Julie Kirkness found space up the right wing on a few occasions – Shetland was unable to make much in terms of territory and possession with Orkney’s close and aggressive style of play.

Eventually the constant pressure of Orkney in defence and attack led to a goal slipping past Sidgwick after roughly 25 minutes.

Shetland looked to fight back after the goal with aggression to match the Orcadians and spent a fair amount of time camped in Orkney’s half.

Half time came and went and Shetland looked a different team.

That blistering pace and hostility Orkney started with in the first half, Shetland started with in the second.

Yet despite Shetland looking stronger than their initial performance, Orkney scored 10 minutes into the half to put them 2-0 up.

The half continued as before up to the final whistle at high pace and with several stabs at goal by Orkney.

Shetland’s defence stood up to the test though, as many strong shots were deflected.

When Shetland had the ball, a few missed passes or short clearances or free hits conceded to Orkney allowed the visitors to get back on the ball and create goal scoring opportunities.

Were it not for Sidgwick and Shetland’s defence at penalty corners, the score margin would have been far larger.

Countless shots were attempted by Orkney yet only two could make it past the sticks of Shetland’s players.

On the other end of the scale, however, there simply were not enough attacking opportunities for the Shetland lasses.

Orkney had them pinned, and even though some time was spent in Orkney’s circle, Shetland was unable to come away with anything.

Orkney, meanwhile, left Brae and Shetland with the inter-county cup for the 10th year running, and Shetland will be sure to stake another claim to the trophy next year.

Iwan MacBride