COUNTY MEDALS AND PLAYERS OF THE YEAR PRESENTATIONS
A very successful season for the Orkney County squads was celebrated at the Annual Awards Ceremony at the Picky Lifestyle Centre last Friday night when the squads and coaches were rewarded for their efforts during the year. OYDG Chairman Dave Thomas opened the evening by providing a review of the year’s footballing competitions which started in February with St Andrews Hurricanes winning the Primary Indoor League for the first time in 5 years and finished in September with an exciting Clouston Cup and Plate with Thorfinn A and East United B emerging as winners. He described 2016 as a “transitional” year particularly in respect to primary indoor football and thanked players and coaches for their patience in implementing the new format which started in October. He then thanked all the generous and loyal sponsors who have supported youth football throughout the year:-
Northlink Ferries; Howdens Joinery Ltd; TSB; Bayview Garage; A Flett Ltd, Brian Budge, John Foulis, Bob Gilmour, Jim Cormack, Kevin Groundwater & Family, TSB, Norrie Chalmers, Orkney Builders, Pentland Ferries, R Clouston Ltd, R S Merriman Ltd, The Kemp Family, S & J D Robertson Group Ltd, S R Paterson Ltd, Café Lolz, Tesco, W Hourston Ltd, Scottish Sea Farms, and the Flotta workforce. Their continued support has been hugely appreciated.
The county teams have had another very successful year and Dave then handed over to the county coaches who provided detailed reflections and some amusing anecdotes on another busy season.
First up was Under 11’s coach Graeme Scott who detailed the Under 11's highlights of the year which included a great trip to Aviemore and Dingwall with some excellent performances by the teams in their games against Ross County and Dingwall Thistle. The Orkney White Under 11 team played well picked up excellent draws against both the Caley Thistle teams in the Littlejohn’s Under 11’s tournament in June. Unfortunately the team was unable to continue the long run of success against Shetland in the inter county J W Shearer Cup.
It was a very good year for the Under 12's and coach Davy Atkinson looked back over the best results which included a 1-0 win over Shetland to win the John Manson Trophy with the B team making it a double with a 2-1 victory over Shetland. The Orkney White Under 12 team put in an excellent display reaching the semi-finals of the Northern Counties Under 12’s tournament in June and over the course of the day’s play only lost twice – both by narrow 1-0 margins against the two Caley Thistle teams. A successful trip to Shetland in August saw the A team drawing 1-1 with Shetland and an excellent performance by all three Orkney sides saw them qualify for the semi-finals of the Andromeda Cup and with two Orkney sides in the final it was a penalty shootout that decided Orkney Whites would win the cup 3-2 on penalties over Orkney Reds. Finally an excellent display in a 6-1 victory over Dingwall Thistle in October concluded their season.
Graeme Harrison reflected on the Under 13’s year which included a very demanding but nonetheless enjoyable week-end for the Under 13’s at the Highlands & Islands Football Festival, in May with good performances playing against a variety of opponents including wins against Alness, Caithness and Shetland. A great 2-1 victory over Shetland in Lerwick in August saw the team retain the J W Thompson Memorial Trophy to complete a double over Shetland. End of season victories over Caithness and Alness completed a highly successful 2016.
And to complete the picture the Under 15's also had a great year as detailed by coach David Ryrie. There was an excellent start to the season in Edinburgh in a 1-0 victory against St Augustine’s followed by another excellent result in a hard earned 2-2 draw against top quality opposition in the shape of AM Soccer who were top of the Development League in Fife. This trip was followed by home and away victories against Caithness in June (4-0 in Thurso and 3-1 at home) to win the Louisburgh United Memorial Trophy and the OYDG Quaich, to complete an excellent double success. The only downside for the season was a 3-2 home defeat against Shetland in September with some basic errors costing the team dearly.
The Orkney squads main kit sponsor for 2016 was Northlink Ferries and Cheryl Kelday on behalf of the company was present to hand over trophies to each of the County coaches. Cheryl then presented medals to each of the County squads
The final event of the evening was the announcement of the Players of the Year for 2016 by the County coaches. The awards are presented on the basis of several criteria including: good sportsmanship, performance, effort, behaviour at training and on trips, attendance and respect for coaches and team mates. This year’s Players of the Year are Angus Darbyshire (Under 11’s); Archie Atkinson (Under 12’s;) Aidan Foubister and Charlie Corsie (joint Under 13’s award) and Andrew Mulraine (Under 15’s). The successful players were presented with their trophies by Kevin Groundwater.
Dave Thomas closed the evening by thanking fellow OYDG Committee Members for their hard work, all the parents for their support and anyone else who he may have accidentally missed for their contribution to another very successful season. He also indicated that further changes were being considered for the outdoor leagues for next year.
OYDG are grateful to the continuing support of Orkney Builders for sponsoring the County medals and the Groundwater Family for sponsoring the Player of the Year awards. Thanks also to Northlink and Cheryl Kelday for their continuing support and to Cheryl for assisting in the evening’s events.
UNDER 11's TRIP TO DINGWALL
On the 30th September the Orkney Under 11’s football squad headed south for their annual trip to Dingwall to face Ross County, a first experience playing football away from home for many of the boys. After a rather bumpy journey on the Hamnavoe we made our way down to Inverness and on to Aviemore where we were staying for the weekend. Enjoying the fantastic weather, that stayed with us all weekend, the kids enjoyed a day of activities before preparing themselves for the day ahead.
So, on Saturday morning we made our way to Dingwall to play the young lads of Ross County, kindly arranged by Chaz McPhee, having picked three 7-aside teams from our squads to play each other and with each match lasting twenty minutes.
Ross County 0 Orkney A 1 (Jason Scott)
The Orkney A team started with some good passing movements in the midfield but were finding it difficult to penetrate the Ross County defence and their keeper was pulling off some good saves. Our defensive partnership of Angus Darbyshire and Alan Sinclair were doing likewise and were quick on the ball, shutting the door on attacks, and playing neat football out of defence. Aiden Cooper, in goals, handled everything with confidence and when the opponents did create a chance he saved very well, in what would turn out to be a very good day for him between the sticks. The passing play was becoming more assured as the game went on and chances were getting more frequent. However, it took till the last three minutes for the goal to come with a move up the left from Erland Ballantine passing to Jason Scott who moved on before delivering to the right for Ewan Foubister to cross in to the box to find Jamie Tulloch whose shot was blocked, but the ball fell kindly for Jason who knocked it past the keeper and into the back of the net. Rubin Smith had a shot go wide towards the end but the match finished 1-0 Orkney
Ross County 1 Orkney A 5 (Jamie Tulloch 4, Jason Scott)
Their second match was a more comfortable win, with the team building from the first match and passing the ball well all over the pitch. Some very good attacking linkup play was evident between Jason and Erland up the left and Rubin and Ewan up the right creating many chances for Jamie Tulloch who was on fine form, scoring a hat trick in the first half. Ross County pulled one back in the second half but further goals from Jason and a fourth for Jamie finished the game 5-1 Orkney
Ross County 1 Orkney A 4 (Jamie Tulloch 2, Jason Scott, Erland Ballantine)
The third and final game started with Orkney falling behind in the first two minutes from a well worked goal that caught the defensive pair a bit cold. This however was a small blip in a defence that was proving to be strong and growing in confidence, helped by the safe pair of hands behind them. Angus and Alan played some neat football out to the midfield allowing attacking moves to build. Jason was strong in the central midfield role both in attack and defence and with the work rate and skill of the wider players, Ewan, Rubin and Erland it wasn’t long before chances were being created ultimately leading to Jamie scoring the equaliser. The second goal was probably the best of the day, created when Jason won the ball in the midfield and quickly found Ewan who passed it back to Jason, he took a touch past an opponent and made a tidy pass to Jamie, he turned, twisted and did a ‘rabona’ to find the feet of Erland who completed the very neat move by smashing the ball from 20 yards into the back of the net. Jason and Jamie added one more each in the second half with the game ending 4-1 Orkney.
Ross County 2 Orkney B 0
The B team started their first game strongly, getting forward through good movement and passing, but they couldn’t find the final touch and the first half ended 0-0. Early in the second half, against the run of play Ross County scored. The game ebbed and flowed from that point and some good defending from Alex Scarth and Alex Henderson kept them in the game, and chances were created from the wide play from Dominic Barnby and Brogan Russell on the wings the Ross county defence kept the ball from finding its target. With a couple of minutes to go Ross county picked up a loose ball from defence and quickly created an opportunity that left the keeper with no chance and the ball was slotted home. The game finished 2-0, Ross County, in a game where 0-0 would have been a fairer result.
Ross County 2 Orkney B 3 (Ross Wood 2, Brogan Russell)
The second game started well and the passing movement between the midfield players of Ross Wood, Brogan Russell and Dominic Barnby was quick and efficient. The final ball to the centre forward William Macdonald was now hitting its mark and more chances were being created. Before long Orkney took the lead with some good linking play and Dominic set up Ross with his first real chance from 25 yards out, he hesitated then moved the ball to his right and shot fiercely into the back of the net. Ross then added a second from a similar move from the Right with Brogan setting up William MacDonald who’s shot was saved and pushed out finding Ross who crashed the ball home from close range. Ross County however were not done and though Christie Macleod was making some fine saves, they managed to score two goals either side of half time to level the game. With the match heading for a draw, Christie quickly passed the ball out to Alex Henderson who played it to Ross and on to Dominic who with a few neat touches found Brogan who slipped the ball into the back of the net to make the final score 3-2 Orkney.
Ross County 4 Orkney B 0
The third and final game saw the team start to struggle having no subs due to the missing Tommy Muir (Family wedding) and injured Aarron Ratter and they started to tire that resulted in them conceding an early goal. With the exertion of the previous game taking its toll, they conceded three more goals and it finished 4-0 Ross County
Ross County 8 Orkney C 4 (George Ewing 2, Thorfinn Scott 2)
Finally, the C team, the youngest team, again with no subs, started quite nervously and were giving the ball away too freely resulting in them going down a goal in the first 2 minutes. This was short lived with Jack Wallace winning the ball back in defence then sliding a through ball to Louis Hancock whose nice interlinking play with Thorfinn Scott set up George Ewing to slot in the equaliser. Within moments an unfortunate mix-up between defender and keeper lead to an own goal being conceded at the other end. This seemed to temporarily deflate the boys as they fell a further two behind quite quickly. However, with a few nice touches and assured passing giving them some renewed confidence the ball again was played through to George who added his Second with a low drive into the corner of the net, 4-2 half time. Orkney then add a third early in the second half when Bradley Cormack worked the ball at pace up the left before slipping it through for Thorfinn who finished with a neat dink into the net. Hope however soon turned to despair as they quickly conceded four more goals before Thorfinn scored a consolation goal, final score 8-4 Ross County.
Ross County 3 Orkney C 3 (George Ewing 2, Thorfinn Scott)
The second game started with Ross county scoring a fine goal that no one could have stopped but instead of deflating the young team it seemed to spur them on and with some fine defensive work from Marcus Firth and some much more confident goal keeping from Drew Leslie who had some excellent saves, they fought back to go 2-1 up through Thorfinn and George. With five or so minutes, remaining Ross County equalised, but Bradley Cormack was having none of it and with one of his speedy runs up the left wing, after some determined play from Jack had one the ball back, he passed it back to Louis who slipped it through to George who scored his fourth goal of the day. As the clock ticked down to the last few seconds and after withholding steady pressure from their opponents with some very good saves from Drew, the goal was finally breached and an unsavable shot ended the game 3-3. This was a very good display for a young team and some of their interlinking play was a pleasure to watch.
Ross County 4 Orkney C 0
The third game however was a game too far with tiring legs and no one fresh to come on, though the defensive partnership of Marcus and Jack held strong for a while, the constant pressure and a few too many mistakes further up the park allowed Ross County to create several chances and they went on to win 4-0.
Ross County 0 Orkney 1 (Jason Scott)
With time running out a quick 11-aside game was set up and was to last 20 minutes so that everyone would get a game. Most of the players had never played 11-aside before so it was a tough ask but to be fair they performed well. The defence with four at the back were strong and the midfield had a nice balance of attacking and defensive players. Orkney had the better chances with Jamie firing just wide from a good run before some hectic goal mouth activity eventually saw Jason hit the back of the net from close range. After 12 minutes the final whistle went as the Ross County coaches were worried about us running late for the afternoon match so apologies to the boys that didn’t get on. Final score 1-0 Orkney.
The teams quickly changed and were given hotdogs and juice before going to watch the Premiership match between Ross County and St Johnstone with our Under 12 colleagues. The match unfortunately ended with Ross County losing 2-0. Thanks to the Ross County and St Johnstone first team players for taking time for post-match autographs and photos.
The next day saw us return to Dingwall to play Dingwall Thistle who had kindly gathered together two teams for us to play. We split our players into an A and B team and played each team twice in 15 minute games.
Dingwall Thistle 1 Orkney A 5 (Jason Scott, Jamie Tulloch, Erland Ballantine, Ewan Foubister, Angus Darbyshire)
Dingwall Thistle 0 Orkney A 2 (Jason Scott, Rubin Smith)
Dingwall Thistle 0 Orkney A 4 (Brogan Russell, Jason Scott, Jamie Tulloch, Erland Ballantine)
The A team started strongly and didn’t give their opponents time to settle and quickly took the lead through Jason. Jamie, Erland and Ewan added to the tally before Thistle pulled one back. Angus completed the scoring to see the match finish 5-1. The second game saw Orkney go into the lead again and win 2-0 with goals from Ruben and Jason. Regular substitutions were being made but this didn’t affect the free moving football as everyone was playing well and in the third game we saw another convincing victory, winning 4-0 (Brogan, Jason, Jamie and Erland) The last game was a bit scrappier and the A-team found themselves a goal down within a couple of minutes. However, with five minutes remaining Jason scored the equaliser and that was how it remained.
Dingwall Thistle 3 Orkney B 2 (Alex Scarth, Thorfinn Scott)
Dingwall Thistle 4 Orkney B 2 (William Macdonald, Bradley Cormack)
Dingwall Thistle 4 Orkney B 1 (Louis Hancock)
Dingwall Thistle 1 Orkney B 4 (William Macdonald 3, Thorfinn Scott)
The B-team again the younger of the two squads started of brightly with Alex Scarth opening the scoring with some nice play from Bradley and George setting him up. Soon after Dingwall scored twice taking the lead before some nice play from Alex Henderson and Louis set up Thorfinn to get the equaliser. With just a couple of minutes remaining Dingwall regained the lead and won 3-2.
The second game saw the team fall behind early again so defensive changes were made and Alex Henderson was allowed further up field to help with the attack and it wasn’t long before this paid off with him linking in well with Thorfinn who switched it to Bradley resulting in his delivery reaching William who slotted home with his first Goal. Thistle however regained the lead and added two more before Bradley scored a consolation goal, 4-2 Thistle.
The third game saw a different Dingwall side and they went on to win 4-1, with Louis scoring Orkneys goal. The fourth game finally saw the B-squad click back into gear like the first game, and William scored a hat trick with some fantastic positional play and one fearsome strike. Thistle pulled one back before Thorfinn completed the scoring and it finished 4-1 Orkney.
This completed our football and after the match Neil Ewing, who was down helping, was awarded £25 from Alex Scarth for winning the sponsored penalty kick competition the kids had done earlier in the month. Thanks to all those who sponsored the kids as it helps reduce the travel fees.
After having lunch in Inverness and some last-minute shopping, we headed North and returned on a much calmer Hamnavoe to Orkney.
We would like to thank Northlink not only for sponsoring the Orkney under 11s strip but also for subsidising our travel with them. Thanks to the Macdonald Resort in Aviemore for the discount and up-grade on the rooms as well as for their hospitality. Thanks to Landmark for allowing us in for a reduced rate and letting us tire out the kids. Next up was the deals on food, and boy could some of our boys eat, you know who you are! Thanks to La Taverna in Aviemore and Jimmy Chungs in inverness. Sincere thanks to Chaz and everyone at Ross County for organising the football and making us, as always, feel very welcome, much appreciated and thanks to Dingwall Thistle for organising everything to allow us to play you on the Sunday. Thanks to all the helpers who volunteered their time to come down and make it possible and finally a massive thanks to all the Under 11s for their excellent behaviour and obvious commitment during the weekend, much appreciated – you did yourselves proud and made it a most enjoyable weekend for all involved.
UNDER 12’s TRIP TO DINGWALL
On Friday 30th September OYDG Under 12’s headed to Aviemore and Dingwall for a weekend of football. On Saturday 1st October, the weekend kicked off in glorious sunshine at the Highland Football Academy, Dingwall with an 11 a side game against Ross County Under 12’s. This would prove to be a test for the Orkney team with limited game time at 11 a side as well as having two players missing.
Ross County 5 Orkney 3 (Christopher Scott 2, Jack Moonie)
The game started brightly for Orkney when Christopher Scott opened the scoring from a rebound after the Ross County goalkeeper made a good save from an Owen Buchanan shot.
Orkney struggled to build on their lead, and with the quality of play from Ross County they fell 5-1 behind although two of their goals appeared offside and a debatable penalty award. Despite being behind Orkney restored some pride when Christopher Scott scored again after the Ross County goalkeeper made an inspired double save from Owen Buchanan and Archie Atkinson.
With the last kick off the game Jack Moonie scored a lovely goal with a half volley which went in off the underside of the bar. Despite losing 5-3 Orkney played some good football at times and never gave up when trailing. It was a big ask for the boys as this was their first taste of a 90 minute game.
After some lunch, the Orkney squad met up with the Under 11 squad before watching the Premiership match between Ross County and St Johnstone. The day was complete with the Orkney Squad meeting players from Ross County and St Johnstone after the match.
On the Sunday the Under 12’s made their way to Dingwall Academy to play Dingwall Thistle in superb weather conditions. It was an early start for the squad leaving Aviemore before 8.30 in the morning.
Dingwall Thistle 1 Orkney 6 (Christopher Scott 3, Archie Atkinson, Calvin Slater, Jamie Barber)
The match was 11 a-side played over 90 minutes which after playing 90 minutes the previous day was a big ask for the boys.
Orkney started at a high tempo desperate to finish the season with a win. They took an early lead in the game with Jamie Barber smashing the ball high into the net after a lovely lay off from Scott Rosie. Orkney doubled their lead not long after with Christopher Scott scoring when Dingwall Thistle failed to clear their lines from a corner.
Orkney continued to play at a high tempo, passing the ball much better than the previous day and were soon 3-0 up. Archie Atkinson powered down the right and swung in a cross, which was blocked by a defender. The ball broke back to Archie who smashed it into the net from a tight angle.
Just after half time Orkney won a throw on the right touchline and from the resultant throw, Ewan Stevenson flicked the ball onto Archie Atkinson who powered down the wing and provided a perfect cross to Calvin Slater running in at the back post to smash the ball home to make it 4-0.
Orkney didn’t have it all their own way though and some great defending and goalkeeping prevented Dingwall Thistle from scoring. Dingwall Thistle did pull a goal back to make it 4-1.
Losing a goal seemed to spur Orkney on and they quickly scored number five created by Archie Atkinson who played a through ball to Christopher Scott who calmly finished. Christopher would then complete his hat-trick and his 5th goal of the weekend when Ewan Stevenson played the ball through for him to run onto and slot it past the goalkeeper to make it 6-1.
Despite having 30 minutes left, Orkney failed to add to their lead. Although they were unlucky at times it was an excellent display to finish the season for the Orkney Under 12 squad.
The squad and coaches would like to express special thanks to Pentland Ferries, Northlink Ferries, Drive Orkney, The Dounby Centre and the MacDonald Resort, Aviemore. In addition it would not have been possible to play football without Dingwall Thistle as well as Ross County Football Club and Charlie McPhee making it a weekend that the boys will remember for some time.
PETER MORRISON MEMORIAL CUP
Orkney Under 15’s 2 (Jay Foubister, Andrew Mulraine pen) Shetland Under 15’s 3
The first inter county match between the two sides at this age group for two years was held on Saturday 3rd September. On a bright and sunny afternoon, the conditions at the Picky Infield were perfect for the game.
Shetland started the game well and had struck the bar early on and continued to dominate all over the field. Orkney were frustrated by their own poor play and could not get a foothold in the game. However, this was to change when Orkney took the lead following a cross into the box which was met by Jay Foubister to finish in off the post. This appeared to give Orkney a welcome lift but this was short lived when poor defensive play provided an opportunity for Shetland from the penalty spot. Glen Brough made a valiant effort in saving the spot kick but Shetland scored from the rebound.
Half time- Orkney 1 v Shetland 1
In the second half, Orkney continued to struggle and could not find any rhythm with their passing game. Shetland were awarded a second penalty following a challenge in which the player appeared to go to ground too easily. Brough in the Orkney goal was given no chance with the spot kick. Orkney continued to grind it out and were given a life line when Ryan Harcus was fouled in the box. Andrew Mulraine made no mistake from the spot kick. Orkney then produced their best spell of the game and a succession of corners brought no reward. Then as Orkney were pressing forward, Shetland cleared a long ball up field and their forward had a clear run through on goal to finish. A late surge from Orkney came to nothing although it could be argued that a robust challenge on Gregor Dowell which left the player down injured in the box could have brought a different outcome on another day.
Orkney coaches Ritchie Brunton and David Ryrie acknowledged that their team did not get to grips with the game and some basic errors made the task difficult throughout. However they gave the team credit for remaining competitive until the end.
SHETLAND UNDER 12's v ORKNEY UNDER 12's
On Monday 29th August, Orkney Under 12's faced Shetland in what was a “friendly” as Orkney had won the inter-county John Manson Trophy earlier in the year in Kirkwall.
Shetland A 1 Orkney A 1 (Archie Atkinson)
The A match was played first with Shetland starting the stronger of the two teams. Orkney soon found their feet and started testing the opposition defence with some well worked chances. Shetland were the first to score against the run of play. Orkney finished the half strong although trailing 1-0 at half time.
A few changes were made at half time and within a couple of minutes of the restart, Orkney scored a well worked goal with Nairn Hall feeding the ball through to Archie Aitkinson, who finished the move by lobbing the Shetland goalkeeper. Orkney then pegged their opponents back and created several good chances, although the goal just wouldn’t come. With almost the last kick of the ball, Orkney won a free kick in a dangerous position. Archie Aitkinson swung in the ball for it to go into the top corner. The goal was chopped off by the referee as the free kick had been taken too early. From the retake, again Archie Aitkinson swung in a lovely ball which the Shetland keeper missed and went straight into the top corner. The Orkney players celebrated what appeared to be the winning goal before the referee again chopped the goal off. It was a hard one for the Orkney team to take and the match ended 1-1 with attention turning to the B Match.
Shetland B 2 Orkney B 0
The B team started the game well with a younger team than their Shetland counterparts. They then began to be pegged back by Shetland and it wasn’t long before Shetland took the lead. Orkney rallied but they failed to create any clear chances and trailed 1-0 at half time.
The second half started brighter with Orkney creating some chances and Dominic Barnby almost levelled the score when his shot came back off the cross bar. Shortly after Shetland made it 2-0 which Orkney failed to recover from. Orkney were unlucky not to get a goal as Erlend Ballantyne came close on a couple of occasions.
Some inspired goalkeeping from Alex Cooper in both halves prevented Shetland from adding to the score. The young Orkney team battled hard to the end and were unlucky not to score. Archie Aitkinson was presented with the A team man of the match and Erlend Ballantyne was the B team man of the match.
A big thank you to Loganair, Northlink Ferries, Star Van Rental and the Isleburgh Youth Hostel for providing transport and accommodation. A special thanks also to the Harbour Fish and Chip Shop in Lerwick for giving the boys £30 towards swimming after their good behaviour in the shop on Sunday evening.
J W Thompson Memorial Trophy
Shetland Under 13's 1 Orkney Under 13's 2 (Dylan Cormack, Craig Harrison)
The Orkney Under-13’s travelled to Shetland on the week-end of 20th-22nd August to defend the J W Thompson Memorial Trophy. The squad were confident of doing well after recording a convincing 2-0 victory over their Shetland counterparts at the Highlands & Islands Football Festival in Dingwall back in May, albeit Shetland are always a more formidable force on their own patch.
A day of incessant rain meant that the underfoot conditions at the Clickimin Centre were far from ideal, but thankfully overhead conditions had improved by the 4pm kick-off time. Orkney started the game on the front foot and put together a number of threatening moves, with the pace of Sam Davidson on the right causing Shetland some difficulties. A defensively-orientated Shetland side set out largely to frustrate Orkney, relying mainly on long balls to break forward and threaten the Orkney goal.
As the half progressed, Orkney produced more of a goal threat, with both Finn Hancock and Craig Harrison going close. An Orkney throw-in led to the ball being lobbed into the Shetland box by Owen Young and when Finn Hancock’s initial effort was parried by the Shetland keeper, Dylan Cormack was on hand to force the ball home from close range to give Orkney a deserved lead.
Orkney were on top for most of the rest of the half and could have added to their lead, but for a better final pass. Shetland also upped their game but were limited to a few long-range efforts on goal. Just as it looked as if Orkney would go into the break ahead, a lapse in concentration in the Orkney defence surrendered possession to the Shetland right winger. His low centre into the box was found an unmarked team-mate, who sent a low shot into the corner of the net.
Half-Time: Shetland 1 Orkney 1
Orkney were smarting from the loss of that goal and took the game to Shetland straight from the re-start, forcing a series of throw-ins down the left flank. From the last of these, Dylan Cormack collected the ball in the Shetland box and cleverly turned his man before sending a low centre across the six yard line. The home defence looked to have this covered, but Craig Harrison took advantage of some hesitation to nip in and deftly flick the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs and into the net to put Orkney 2-1 ahead.
As expected, this setback produced a reaction from Shetland who began to push more players forward in search of an equaliser. However, with Owen Young and Aiden Foubister taking a grip of the game in the middle of the park, it was Orkney who carved out the better chances. The Orkney defence comfortably held off their Shetland opponents, with a stand-out performance at left back from Alexander Scott, which earned him the Shetland coaches’ “man of the match” award. A few long range efforts which went close and a couple of late Shetland free kicks lobbed into the box produced the only moments of anxiety for Orkney’s keeper Findley Cooper. The team played with a great degree of composure to see out the rest of the game and claim a well-deserved victory.
Full-time: Shetland 1 Orkney 2
Skipper Findley Cooper lifted the cup and thanked the officials and the Shetland team for a hard-fought contest. This was a very skilful and competitive encounter and the Orkney squad, who are beginning to show a greater maturity, both in their play and all-round conduct, can be proud of their efforts throughout what was a very enjoyable weekend.
JOHN W SHEARER CUP
Shetland's Under 11 footballers won the inter-county clash with Orkney at Picky on Sunday 19th June for the first time since 2008. Shetland won the decisive final match between the A teams by 3-1 to win the John W Shearer Cup. Earlier Shetland A had beaten Orkney B 3-0 and Orkney B has beaten Shetland B 2-1. Orkney A and Shetland B drew 0-0.
Orkney B 0 Shetland A 3
It was a good start for Shetland as they raced to a 2-0 lead with two first half goals. Although Orkney put in a better second half performance Shetland scored a third to ensure a winning start in the first of the four match series.
Orkney A 0 Shetland B 0
In the first half Orkney poured forward with the wind at their backs and created a number of openings but were unable to put the ball in the Shetland net. Jason Scott came nearest to scoring with a shot that struck the bar. Fewer chances were created in the second half and Shetland held out for a goalless draw in a game which Orkney deserved to take more from, given the number of chances they created.
Orkney B 2 Shetland B 1
A good fight back saw victory for Orkney after Shetland had taken an early lead. A good turn and finely placed shot from Erland Ballantine found the corner of the net for an Orkney equaliser in the first half. Alex Scarth was the Orkney hero in the second half with an excellent strike from distance that secured a vital win for Orkney.
Orkney A 1 Shetland A 3
With honours even both sides went into the final match knowing a win would secure the cup. Orkney had the early pressure with Jason Scott coming close on a couple of occasions. However two quick breakaway goals saw Shetland leading 2-0 at half time. Hope were still high that with the wind behind them in the second half Orkney could pull themselves back into the game. However a third Shetland goal proved decisive and despite Jamie Tulloch pulling back a goal after a great run and shot Shetland ended up as deserved winners much to the delight of the large travelling support.
At the end of the matches Graeme Harrison on behalf of OYDG thanked Liam McArthur who had refereed all four matches. He then thanked Shetland for travelling down and congratulated them on their victory before presenting the winning Shetland captain with the John W Shearer Cup. Players of the Day for Orkney picked by the Shetland coaches were Angus Darbyshire for Orkney A and Erland Ballantine for Orkney B.
UNDER 13’s AT HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS FOOTBALL FESTIVAL, DINGWALL
On Friday 27th May, the Under 13’s travelled south to take part in the annual Highlands and Islands Football Festival, held at the Highland Football Academy in Dingwall, which draws together teams from all over the north of Scotland. Although all 18 squad members made the trip, injuries and last-minute mishaps meant that the actual playing squad was somewhat depleted. After travelling south on the 11.00 Hamnavoe sailing, the boys checked in to their base at the Holiday Inn Express, Inverness. That evening, they travelled to HFA Dingwall to watch 3 squad members, Craig, Charlie and Owen, take part in Ross County’s 4-0 win over Caithness United; and also take in an entertaining 0-0 draw between Shetland v Western isles.
Saturday 28 May
After a good night’s rest it was into action for the squad on Saturday morning, with a very tough fixture to kick off their participation in the tournament:
Match 1 Orkney v Inverness Caley Thistle
A strong running Caley Thistle side caught the Orkney defence cold from the outset, with their first attack of the game resulting in a (disputed) penalty after only 20 secs. This was duly converted and provided the Caley youngsters with all the encouragement they needed to drive forward at the Orkney goal at every opportunity. The Orkney team were finding it difficult to clear their lines and although they defended resolutely, the superior strength and pace of the Caley attackers was difficult to cope with; and four more Caley goals followed before half-time, via a combination of fine Caley finishing, and a couple of unlucky breaks for the Orkney defence.
In the second half, the Orkney boys gave a much better account of themselves, and began to play some attractive passing football at times. Although Caley scored 2 more goals, Orkney did manage one of their own in reply – a fine volleyed finish from just inside the box by Craig Harrison. The boys were perhaps unfortunate to face the tournament’s strongest team first game out, but can take some comfort from being the only team to score against Caley throughout the whole week-end. Final score: Orkney 1 Inverness Caley Thistle 7
Match 2: Orkney v Western Isles
The team swiftly transferred to the Dingwall Academy all-weather pitch for their next match against Western Isles. Orkney started the better of the two teams and their passing football created a number of early chances. However, it was the Western Isles who took the lead against the run of play, with the opening goal coming from an old-fashioned long ball from the WI keeper. The wind-assisted kick was misjudged initially by the Orkney rearguard, and further hesitation allowed the WI attacker to nip in and prod the ball home. This setback spurred Orkney into an immediate response and a slick passing move ended with Xander Scott latching on to a well-weighted through ball to tuck the ball away neatly for the equaliser.
After the break, with the wind at their backs, Orkney continued in a positive vein, with Sam Davidson’s pace on the right wing causing the WI defence particular difficulties. No surprise then that from one of Sam’s breaks, the ball was squared to Craig Harrison, who cleverly turned away from his markers and applied the finish to put Orkney 2-1 up.
Orkney could have scored more but failed to capitalise on a number of further opportunities and were looking like they may pay the price for this when WI came back strongly towards the end of the game. So it proved when, in the final minute, a cross ball was allowed to pass right across the Orkney defence and reach an unmarked WI player at the far post, who applied a neat finish for the equaliser. A highly entertaining game therefore finished with honours even and, whilst the Orkney boys were disappointed to lose a last minute equaliser, it was difficult to begrudge WI a point on the basis of their late surge. Final score: Orkney 2 Western Isles 2
Match 3: Orkney v Alness United
With games coming thick and fast, it was immediately back to the HFA for next encounter against Alness. The Orkney team were by now getting into their stride and pinned Alness back for much of the first half, displaying some of their best football yet. It was no surprise then when, following a fine passing interchange involving midfield and forwards, Sam Davidson raced clear on the right and his low cross was tucked away by Finn Hancock at the far post to give Orkney the lead, with what was their best team goal of the week-end.
Alness came back hard at that point and deservedly equalised when their attacker was allowed space on the left hand side of the box to finish from a tight angle. Orkney replied well however and Tommy Ballantine and Dylan Cormack combined well, with the latter producing a fine cross which was duly tucked away by Craig Harrison in the centre. Orkney’s dominance continued in the second half, but with only one more goal to show for it. However, it was well worth the wait – a spectacular 25-yard free kick from Aidan Foubister into the top corner. Orkney saw out the remainder of the game comfortably, with the defence and stand-in goalkeeper Cameron Milne dealing with anything Alness threw at them. Final score: Orkney 3 Alness 1
Match 4: Orkney v Shetland
Orkney’s final game of the day was against arch rivals Shetland, and carried a degree of significance for the Orkney boys, who had never previously beaten their Shetland opponents in a competitive game, despite dominating these fixtures. As expected, both teams went for it from the outset and play swung form end to end in the opening period. As the half progressed however, it was Orkney who began to play the more cultured passing football, with Aidan Foubister and Owen Young showing up well in midfield, whilst their Shetland opponents relied increasingly on the long ball. However, despite considerable Orkney pressure the half ended goal-less.
The second half started in a similar mode with Orkney continuing to create openings, but meeting stiff Shetland resistance. However, the breakthrough finally came when the Shetland goalkeeper, who had been the stand-out player until then, was pressurised by Dylan Cormack into letting a pass back slip by him, leaving Dylan with the simplest of tasks to tap the ball into the empty net to put Orkney 1-0 up.
Whilst this produced an immediate response from Shetland, the Orkney defence stood firm and was able to see off the Shetland attacks comfortably for the most part. Orkney’s build-up play continued to be pleasing on the eye and from one of these moves, Dylan Cormack was sent clear by Aidan Foubister and he cleverly bent his shot around the Shetland keeper to double Orkney’s advantage and his own goal tally. Shetland huffed and puffed for the remainder of the game, but the Orkney team defended resolutely, kept possession well and were happy to see out time for a hard-earned victory. Final score: Orkney 2 Shetland 0
Sunday 29 May
After a hearty tea and relaxing evening watching the Champion’s League final in their hotel, the squad returned to Dingwall on Sunday morning for their final scheduled fixture against Caithness; and an additional friendly match against a Ross County select.
Match 5: Orkney v Caithness United
Orkney started this game very strongly and immediately took the game to their Caithness opponents. A number of clever through balls had the Caithness defence backtracking towards their own goal, and Finlay Scott latched onto one of these to roll a cool finish into the corner of the net to put Orkney one up. With Orkney’s midfield in command, the chances came thick and fast in the remainder of the first half, with Sam Davidson converting a cut back from the right wing to make it 2-0; Craig Harrison chipping the advancing Caithness keeper from fully 30 yards for 3-0; Finlay Scott with another neat finish and Sam Davidson smashing one in from outside the box for 4-0 and 5-0 respectively. Caithness did pull one back following a free kick, but any hope of a come-back were quickly extinguished after the break, when first Sam Davidson completed his hat-trick with a fine shot from an acute angle; and then Finlay Scott also completed his, tapping in after a Dylan Cormack shot rebounded off the post. Tom McArthur then made it 8-1 for Orkney, performing acrobatics to hook the ball home after a goalmouth scramble.
Orkney took their foot off the gas in the dying minutes, and two late goals for Caithness took a little bit off the gloss off the performance. Credit should go to a young Caithness side for refusing to give up, but an emphatic win for Orkney nonetheless. Final score: Orkney 8 Caithness United 3
Match 6: Orkney v Ross County
By this stage in the week-end, the previous matches were beginning to take their toll on the squad and it was a somewhat patched up team that took the field against their SPFL opponents. County dominated much of the early possession and forced the Orkney boys to chase the ball for long spells. However, Orkney eventually began to come more into the game and stared to make a few forays towards the County goal. As is often the case however, just as Orkney thought they had weathered the early storm, they conceded a soft goal, with a County player left all alone in the box following a corner to finish powerfully. County’s lead was doubled shortly into the second half when a speculative ball into the box somehow eluded both defenders and goalkeeper and ended up in the Orkney net.
This spurred Orkney into action however and they responded with a fine goal of their own. Craig Harrison’s attempted shot from outside the box was deflected into the path of Dylan Cormack who deftly lifted the ball over the County keeper and into the net to make it 2-1. Orkney pressed hard for an equaliser after that, but the County defence held firm and in the dying minutes the Orkney boys were caught out by a fast break from County which saw them go 3-1 up. A brave effort by the Orkney boys but, in what proved ultimately to be a game too far, the skilful County team always had the edge. Final score: Orkney 1 Ross County 3
Overall a very demanding but nonetheless enjoyable week-end for the 13’s, who will have learned a lot from playing against a variety of opponents, and should take confidence from their performances over the course of the event. Many thanks go to everyone at Ross County for organising/hosting the tournament. Thanks also to the Holiday Inn Express for looking after the boys so well; and to Northlink for continued sponsorship. The boys were excellent ambassadors for Orkney throughout the trip.
Orkney Under 15’s 3 (Andrew Mulraine pen, Ryan Harcus, Ryan Mooney) Caithness Under 15’s 1
On Sunday 12th June, Orkney welcomed Caithness for a return fixture and the chance to win back to back trophies having beaten Caithness 4-0 in Thurso the previous week.
Orkney’s players were warned that Caithness would show a determination to improve from the previous weekend’s defeat and this proved the case as the visitors took control of the match with Orkney restricted to occasional forays up the field. With the wind behind them, Orkney were struggling for any fluency in their play and at times were poor with their passing game.
With chances limited, the home team took the lead, earning a fortuitous penalty when Harcus was challenged whilst running into the box. Mulraine dispatched the penalty, giving the keeper no chance. Caithness continued to press but Orkney’s defence held out to half time with the team holding a slender one goal lead.
Orkney started the second half positively and were using the passing game to better effect. However, the team was dealt a blow when Mulraine had to leave the game with a nasty injury. Orkney reshuffled with Robertson and Sutherland introduced to the game. With chances scarce, Harcus scored an excellent second goal, picking up the ball outside the box and sending a shot beyond the Caithness keeper.
The visitors continued to press and struck the crossbar following a dangerous attack. Orkney also had to clear their lines on at least three occasions as a goal looked certain. Caithness got their reward shortly after from a shot inside the box which gave Brough no chance.
Orkney responded well and from a corner, the ball was played back out to Mooney who struck a fabulous shot into the top corner. Credit to Caithness who continued to push until the end of game and there was relief for Orkney when the final whistle arrived.
Coach Ritchie Brunton was happy to secure the trophy but felt that the Orkney players let themselves down with a less than impressive performance. Credit to Caithness who dominated for spells and it was down to two fine goals in the second half to separate the teams. At the end of the match Roddy Mackay representing OYDG presented the OYDG Quaich to Orkney captain Connor Hancock.
JOHN MANSON TROPHY
Orkney Under 12’s 1 (Owen Buchanan) Shetland Under 12’s 0
The Under 12's inter-county match against Shetland was played at Picky on Sunday 12th June. Orkney started on the front foot and dominated the first half of the match which was mostly played in the Shetland half. Despite creating a number of chances very few were on target and the only time that the Shetland keeper was tested was from a Ewan Stevenson header.
The second half continued in much the same fashion as the first half with Orkney pouring forward in search of an opening goal. The breakthrough finally came when Archie Atkinson who had been a constant threat for Orkney with his runs down the right wing put in another dangerous cross which Owen Buchanan struck home for the opening goal.
Despite a large number of other attempts on goal from Nairn Hall, Jamie Barber, Archie Atkinson, Ewan Stevenson and Owen Buchanan, Orkney were unable to add to their goal tally. Whilst the final scoreline did not truly reflect the possession and attempts on goal by Orkney credit is due to Shetland for their stout defending which restricted Orkney to a single goal. However this was a well deserved victory for Orkney whose excellent passing game created so many openings. At the end of the match the Orkney team were presented with the trophy by John Manson.
There was double success for the Under 12’s on Sunday when the Orkney B team composed of younger players beat Shetland B 2-1. Trailing Shetland 1-0 at half time a second half double from Jason Scott gave the Orkney boys victory. Alex Cooper in the Orkney goal pulled off an excellent save to deny Shetland an equaliser from the penalty spot in the second half.
Orkney Players of the Day chosen by the Shetland coaches were Jamie Barber (Orkney A) and Jason Scott (Orkney B).
LOISBURGH UNITED MEMORIAL TROPHY
Caithness Under 15’s 0 Orkney Under 15’s 4 (Ryan Harcus 3, Aidan Robertson)
On Saturday 4th June, the Orkney Under 15 squad travelled to Thurso for a competitive match versus their Caithness counterparts with Orkney hoping to take back the Louisburgh Utd Memorial Trophy.
It was a warm sunny day for football and during the first twenty minutes both teams were evenly matched. Brough was called on to make timely saves as Caithness carved out the first real chances of the half. However, Orkney began to play some fluent passing football and created good opportunities to score, first was Scott hitting the post following a Foubister cross and Harcus missing with the goal at his mercy after rounding the keeper. Orkney didn’t have to wait long though for the breakthrough and following sustained pressure another through ball found Harcus in the box and he calmly slotted home. Minutes later the same player smashed home after good work through the midfield created the chance which was duly taken. The half ended with Orkney in control and leading two nil.
The second half produced more of the same with Orkney playing a pressing game and Caithness reduced to occasional counter attacks. Mooney was dominating midfield with some surging runs and chances were in abundance. Robertson got on the score sheet when he reacted to a loose ball following a cross which the keeper failed to deal with and dispatched the ball into the net for goal number three. Harcus then completed his hat-trick with a composed finish from another through ball and could have added further goals as the half wore on. Orkney introduced all three subs during the second half and the team finished strongly to see out a comfortable four nil victory.
All round a very accomplished performance and extra pleasing for the coaches David Ryrie and Ritchie Brunton was the clean sheet as Hancock marshalled his defence throughout and Brough was commanding in his goal. Captain Hancock received the Louisburgh Utd Memorial Trophy after the game and Orkney must now prepare for the return game at home on Sunday, hoping to win a second trophy – the OYDG Quaich.
UNDER 15’s TRIP TO EDINBURGH AND FIFE
Orkney’s Under 15 squad made an excellent start to their season as they returned unbeaten from their trip to play matches against opposition in Edinburgh and Fife on the weekend of 12/13 March.
St Augustine’s RC High School (Edinburgh) 0 Orkney 1 (Aidan Robertson)
On the Saturday the team played against St Augustine’s RC High School in Edinburgh. This was the first competitive game for the boys since the squad was picked. Orkney started the game well and had good scoring opportunities early in the game. On two occasions Orkney struck the woodwork, first when Ryan Harcus found himself one on one with the goalkeeper only for his lofted shot to hit the crossbar and Gregor Dowell got on the end of a cross ball to head against the crossbar also.
St Augustine’s offered little in attack and Orkney continued to press for a goal with some good attacking play down both wings causing the home team problems time and again. However, their goalkeeper was proving to be a very capable adversary, foiling numerous attacks. Play became scrappy as the half wore on and half time arrived with the game scoreless.
As the second half got underway, Orkney again started the brighter with Andrew Mulraine linking up much of the play between midfield and forwards. Ryan Mooney was having more impact from centre midfield, with his positive driving runs forward. It was surely a matter of time before the breakthrough came, and when it did it was a scrappy goal. Aidan Robertson had just come on as a sub and he was quickest to follow up on a shot which the keeper failed to gather and he duly slammed the ball home. Definitely a deserved lead but to the credit of the home team this seemed to spur them into action. Orkney’s defence had dealt with everything until now, well marshalled by captain Connor Hancock. However, as the game wore on, goalkeeper Glen Brough was called more into the action with the game becoming stretched and he made two outstanding saves to keep the home team out.
Orkney still looked likely to score again but as chances were squandered by both teams, frustration was creeping into the play and Ryan Harcus found himself in the referee’s book. At the final whistle Orkney ran out 1-0 winners.
Much to the satisfaction of the coaches, Orkney showed a good level of play but it was felt that there was room to improve as they looked ahead to the next day’s game. With everyone in good spirits from the result, the squad took in the Dundee v Hearts game that afternoon, with Hearts winning 1-0 in Dundee.
A M Soccer (Fife) 2 Orkney 2 (Andrew Mulraine, Aidan Robertson)
Under 15's pictured with AM Soccer
Sunday proved to be a tougher test against AM Soccer in Fife who are currently leading the Fife Development League Division 1. The home team started brightly, with a good passing game evident. It took Orkney ten minutes to settle into the game but were beginning to show more belief as they began to compete in all areas of the pitch. Connor Hancock was again setting the tone with his strong challenges, ably backed up by Scott Swannie, Connor Worthington and Fraser Merriman in defence. However, AM Soccer took the lead with a very simple move and tap in for their player just as Orkney were gaining a foothold in the game. However,
Orkney responded well and Andrew Mulraine was prominent in a central midfield role and was in the thick of the action as the home team found themselves penalized for overzealous tackles and late challenges. It was from one of these fouls that Orkney equalized and the aforementioned Mulraine hit a sweet free kick from 25 yards into the top corner leaving the keeper no chance. This seemed to give Orkney a lift and great self-belief whilst the hosts seemed rocked by this.
Within five minutes, Orkney’s second goal arrived. Continued success down the right hand flank with good interplay brought another free kick and when the ball was played into the box it dropped nicely for Aidan Robertson to perfectly time a half volley into the net. Just as Orkney were playing with confidence now, a lapse in concentration in defence cost them dear as they failed on two occasions to clear a ball and the forward stole in to score. Half time came and despite the disappointment of conceding the second goal the game was finely poised at 2-2.
Orkney started better in the second half and Aidan Robertson had two excellent chances but was foiled by the outstretched fingers of the keeper. The home team began to take control of the half and Connor Hancock denied a goal with a clearance underneath the crossbar as the chances fell mainly to the opposition. Glen Brough again responded well to the pressure and made some timely saves and showed confidence in goal as Orkney had to work hard to keep the scores even. In the end the game finished 2-2 which was an excellent result for a hard earned draw.
Orkney coaches Ritchie Brunton and David Ryrie were delighted with the players’ efforts and thanks goes to the AM Soccer team for providing food and refreshments after the game. Overall, the weekend provided a stern test in both games and for Orkney to come away undefeated was an excellent achievement by everybody. The players themselves know that they can improve and this provides a good platform for future games.
OYDG would like to thank the coaches, parents and players for their contributions to an enjoyable weekend for the Orkney squad.