A truly international experience in Westray for the second leg of the Isles Challenge Shield, with players and supporters from Scotland, England, Ireland, Poland and even a Spaniard watching from the touchline!
The Isles boys had pulled out all the stops managing to produce 18 players despite many from the first leg being unavailable on the day. With the dozen or so from the Mainland it meant that a full 15-a-side encounter could be enjoyed. Both squads had a mix of youth and experience including 5 former First XV captains, and roughly the same number of debutants. With perfect conditions above, and underfoot, Adam Baird got the match underway just after midday.
The Mainland players finally managed to get going but far from the expansive intrusive running on show by the Isles, the Mainland players sought to find field position and bulldoze themselves over the line. So it was as Michael Allan and Steven Bruce went over from short range.
The Isles reasserted themselves and added to their lead with tries from Roger Hall and a second from Colin Resbridger to give a half time lead of 26 -12 in home sides favour.
Erik Knight took over the whistle but no change in fortunes for the Mainland side. They did manage to pull back to 26 – 26 with tries from Al Watson, Brian Inkster and Kyle Robb. But the Isles regrouped and managed to finish strongly with further tries from Colin Resbridger, Jake Hutchison and Edgar Thomson on the final whistle gave a final Score of 45 – 31 for the Isles.
The Westray/Isles side deserved their win, and indeed the Shield – and once we find it there will be a presentation – and a rematch. Erland Drever managed his cohorts well over both legs turning out strong sides both home and away. Man of the match on the day was Edgar Thomson who continued his try scoring exploits from the first leg. The Mainland man of the match was Kyle Robb who made several breaks, and took his try well. Unfortunately for Kyle he had flown back before the gongs were awarded - Trevor Johnston was given the prize in his stead for his continued improvement, doggedness and contagious enthusiasm.
The Mainland boys did redeem themselves a bit later on by winning the boat race by two clear players! Unfortunately for both sides the singing only started on the bus so no one got to hear Erland in full voice at the Pierowall this time!
Thanks to all those involved in the day: both sets of players; referees; Orkney Ferries; Westray Bus Service; the Community School; Orkney Builders and Charlie Kemp for flying boys out; the Westray community for coming out to support; and finally the Pierowall Hotel for their excellent hospitality throughout the day. Hopefully a good day had by all!
Westray/Isles: Christopher Rendall, Raymond Hutchison, Erland Drever; Angus Firth, Kristian Cooper, Scott Cooper, Kenneth, Kent, Stewart Rendall, Johnny Drever, Roger Hall, Jake Hutchison, Edgar Thomson, Colin Resbridger, Tim (Polish player #1), Craig Rendall.
Mainland: Trevor Johnston, Michael Allan, Neil McCartney, Steven Bruce, Heddle Drever, Mathew Lynch, Brian Inkster, Erik Knight/Adam Baird, Glen Mclellan, Al Watson, Marics (Polish player #2), Alan Pirie, Trevor Johnston, Ouis (Polish player #3), Kyle Robb.
This weekends’ match is the Mighty West v the Rest. Kick off is 12 noon in Dounby. Players looking to share transport out to the match should meet at the Club at 11am, otherwise 11.30 in Dounby. Any West players looking for a match should contact Trevor Spence (07834457507) or Brian Inkster (07545153844); any Rest players should contact Erik Knight (07881505765).
Match Report: Knighter