Pre Season Friendly - Shetland 33 -McLaren FP 12
Shetland Rugby Club played host to Mclaren FP from Callender last weekend. The tourists will play their rugby in the BT National League Division 5B West this season, after having finished fourth in the table at their first attempt. With Shetland playing in Division 5B North it was expected that the two games would give a good indication of progress.

Shetland Rugby 33 Mclaren FP 12

The conditions were good for rugby last Friday evening although a strong northerly wind was always going to make lineout play tricky. Shetland received the kick-off against the wind and found themselves under pressure in the opening exchanges, with the McLaren stand off kicking for territory and their forwards pressurising the Shetland ball carrier at the breakdown. McLaren's forwards were also putting pressure on Shetland's scrum half Robert Geddes who, despite being named Shetland's best back by the tourists, was to have a difficult evening.

McLaren were recycling the ball well but found a resolute defence stopping them at the gain line each time. A ball turnover inside the Shetland twenty two was counter attacked by Mike Skinner, Laurence Williamson and Andrew Hough with all three keeping the ball alive and supporting. Williamson was finally stopped wide right on McLarens twenty two and the ball was shipped left and Robert McBain scored under the posts after Shetland made good use of the overlap. Geddes converted to make it 7-0 with 15 minutes gone.

The next ten minutes followed the same pattern with McLaren able to dominate the breakdown but not able to break any holes in the Shetland defence. The tourists were unlucky on two occasions when good kicks bounced out, leading to scrummages instead of pressurise on the Shetland try line. It was from one of these scrummages that Shetland scored their second try, albeit against the run of play. Shetland made good yardage up the right before the ball was spun left to Robert Mcbain who shrugged off a defender to score. Geddes made the conversion to make it 14-0.

McLaren responded immediately and sustained pressure within the twenty-two was rewarded when a chip over the defence enabled Darius Gibson to follow up with a deserved score. With the conversion being made the half-time score was 14-7 in favour of the blues.

Shetland introduced two replacements at half-time with Colin Kirkness and Shane Patterson coming on. Shetland kicked off and the same pattern developed with McLaren good at recycling the ball but Shetland defending well and having to live off scraps of possession. The introduction of Kirkness and Patterson had improved things though and it was from a turnover by the former on the halfway line that gained a quick ball for Shetland. Good handling from the home backs allowed Paddy O'connor to complete a good try. Geddes was successful with the conversion to make it 21-7.

Midway through the second half Shetland scored again when a quick ball was moved to Patterson who ran a great angle to cut the defence and score from halfway to make it 26-7, with the conversion being missed. Despite looking like the game was slipping away from them, McLaren were still putting up a strong fight and managed to restore some pride from a spell of pressure that allowed Neil Gilliland through to pull the score back to 26-12.

The strength of Shetland defensive line was starting to take its toll on the visitors and after suffering their sixth injury they were forced to play the remaining 12 minutes with fourteen men. Roddy Christie-Henry scored his first ever try for Shetland from a tap penalty by bursting through a tackle and scoring from 30 meters. Geddes re-discovered his kicking boots to make it 33 - 12.

Despite exerted pressure at the end there was no way back for Mclaren. Although the final score of 33-12 to Shetland was somewhat flattering given the superiority of the visitor's breakdown, they can take positives from good handling and defensive work being the ultimate differentiator between the two sides.

Best for Shetland were Roddy Christie-Henry who had a strong debut at No 8 and Laurence Williamson who always looked dangerous on the right wing.Best for McLaren was Robin Gibson who led the forwards well.

Shetland Rugby 33 Mclaren FP 33

Sunday's fixture gave the remaining members of the Shetland squad an opportunity to impress against a Mclaren side who did not appear to be showing any side effects from Saturday's local hospitality. This gave all of the home squad much needed game time and although there were plenty of mistakes, the positives far outweighed the negatives.

Shetland's try scorers were Robert McBain, Nathan Coote (2), Paddy O'Conner and Colin Kirkness. Derek Ross and Robert Geddes scored 4 conversions between them. The visitors scored the equalising try in the last minute but the conversion went agonisingly wide to leave the game tied at full-time.

Intercounty - Shetland 3 Orkney 84
On Saturday Orkney convincingly reclaimed the Shetland Times Cup ending a six year hold by Shetland.

In front of a decent crowd and as the first competitive game of an important season, the Shetland coaches would have wanted something - anything - other than the hiding dished out by the visitors.

Orkney scored within four minutes of the kick-off and established a dominance that would hold for the duration of the match.

By half time the score was 3 - 34 with the only highlight for the home side being a difficult long range penalty kick taken by Robert Geddes. Of more concern will have been the four substitutions coach Wayne Leslie was forced to make for injury within the first half hour. This included the replacement of Lincoln Carrol who had come on only ten minutes earlier to switch with the concussed John Tait.

Shetland would have hoped to start the second half brightly but again Orkney scored quickly and despite the shouts from the crowd it was evident that the Shetland players were becoming disillusioned. The best passage of play for Shetland came just before the hour mark when good play from the front row of Scott Hatrick and Neil Hamilton drove Orkney well into their own half. Mike Skinner had a chance of drop goal that didn't make enough distance and good pressure from Robert McBain and the other backs kept the reds in check when they tried to break out into attack.

The pressure inevitably lifted though and Orkney came back into the game and soon resumed scoring.

The full time score was Shetland Rugby Club 3 - Orkney RFC 84.

During the game Orkney scored 12 tries, 9 conversions, 1 penalty and 1 drop goal for what is unquestionably a record win for either side in the history of the rugby inter-county.

The gulf between the two sides and how Orkney transformed from the last few derby matches can be partially attributed to Shetland's own recent successes. Orkney have been playing in, and doing well in the national rugby leagues for nearly a decade now and are currently playing in National Division 4. Games between the two sides have historically been held during the regular season when the Orkney 1st team is obligated to the league campaign and the fixture has been fulfilled by the Orkney 2nd team.

Shetland is now also in the national leagues and so for this year the inter-county was brought forward to a pre-season date where both island groups could put out their strongest squads. Orkney's experience and quality gained at playing for years at a much higher level than Shetland showed throughout the game.

Among the Orkney players, Captain Glen McLellan led well with Andy McGill and Ali Craddock outstanding. James Linklater's kicking was formidable and it was only into the second half against the wind that he missed any.

So were there any good points for the home side to consider?

After the game Orkney conceded that the Shetland forwards had completely broken up the visitors' play around the rucks and mauls and there were good (or at least steady) performances from the younger members of the squad including Nathan Coote and Roddy Christie-Henry gaining their first inter-county caps.

Points that will have been noted by the coaches for attention later included the lack of support on the later runs of multiple phase movements, irregular tackling and particularly in the second half, the lack of depth to the back line, which meant that when the blue forwards did win the ball, there was never any real chance of the local backs moving fast enough to penetrate the Orkney defence.

In his post match thanks to Orkney for coming up, match captain Scott Hatrick complemented the visitors on their structured play, commenting that such practiced formation is something Shetland would do well to copy. Accepting the victor's trophy from Kenny Hughson representing local sponsor Shetland Towage, Orkney captain Glen McLellan said that despite the immediate result, if Shetland played as well for the rest of the season then he was confident that the blues would succeed in the leagues.

Shetland 12 Arbroath 36
Arbroath RFC visited Shetland as the first home game of Shetland Rugby Club's 2004/05 league matches.

Promotion is generally a joyful event. Victory becomes regular (otherwise promotion goes to someone else); there is usually much to be pleased about; only minor bits need to be addressed and tweaked; the end of the season is a time of celebration. Promotion also brings position in a higher league and, while a good thing worthy of praise, playing in a higher league is where reality can kick in and bite back.

Shetland learned on Saturday that it is not going to be easy being the new boys in BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B.

After the heavy defeat by Orkney in the previous week, Shetland will have been disappointed when Arbroath controlled the opening moments from kick-off and scored within 4 minutes. The wind was with the visitors and play for most of the fist half was played on or around the Shetland twenty two metre line. A fair description would be that for the first half Shetland just didn't gel and moments that on another day would have gone successfully slipped away in a fluster of slightly off passes, hacked kicks instead of composed gatherings and the most minor of minor infringements (all inevitably spotted by the referee). Arbroath did not have any particular route of attack but found success down a few methods from strong forward play breaking through over the try line with a gang of tacklers hanging off the scorer, to high cross kicks leaving a one-on-one jump to catch and score.

Whenever Shetland did manage to press up field, the green and golds were able to relieve the situation with big wind-assisted positional kicks.

At half time Arbroath led by 24 points to nil.

Captain Mike Skinner's team talk at half time could only be described as vigorous and while the score was certainly in Arbroath's favour, there was reasonable optimism from the home support that with the wind behind them and, if the play came together better, then it was not impossible that Shetland could make a way back into the game.

And start better they certainly did. Immediate pressure from Wilson Shaw and the Shetland forwards ruffled Arbroath and pushed them back to the try line where Mike Skinner jumped on a loose pass to get Shetland's first points. Robert McBain converted the score. Incidentally, Mike also scored Shetland's first league try last season. A club spokesman refused to speculate how many more years the pattern could continue.

Shetland retained the better of the play after the restart but found it difficult to get the final break and start building up points. It took until the seventieth minute before play was back close enough to the Arbroath try line for Robert McBain to barge over between two defenders. Robert converted his own try to make the score 14-24.

Unfortunately, it was not Shetland's day and Arbroath scored two tries late on to kill of the chance of any further comeback. Both final tries were a result of missed tackles and this is something the coaches will have to address in training. The referee blew for full time with the score at 14-36.

The game was played in a good atmosphere and Shetland were far from outclassed. On another day the score could easily have been reversed.

Best for Shetland was Don Stone and playing well for Arbroath were Bruce Langlands and Simon Bedwell.

A feature of the national leagues different from the district leagues is the bonus points. In the league teams get four points for a win and two points for a draw. Teams will also receive a bonus point for scoring 4 or more tries and losing teams can also gain a bonus point if they lose by seven or less score difference. Arbroath gained their bonus point by half time and the bonus points can make a serious impact on ongoing league positions.

Scores from BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B:
Shetland 14 Arbroath 36;
Ross Sutherland 5 Montrose 55;
Waid Academy 48 Huntly 5;
RAF Kinloss 43 Moray 3;
RAF Lossiemouth 40 Carnoustie 9.

Montrose 31 Shetland 12
On Saturday Shetland lost away from home to a decent Montrose side.

Shetland kicked off with a fresh northerly breeze at their backs and immediately put pressure on Montrose. The first ten minutes saw Shetland have the majority of possession but unable to break through a determined Montrose defence. Montrose scored first after Robert McBain was penalised for a high tackle. From the resulting lineout near to the line, the Montrose forwards drove for a couple of phases and broke over for the try. The conversion was missed. This seemed to spur Shetland on and they returned score minutes later. A good Colin Kirkness break freed Robert Geddes to score under the posts. Geddes slotted the conversion to give Shetland the lead 5-7.

Soon after Shetland had to reorganise when stand-off Mark Young pulled a muscle. Forbes Hogg came into the forwards with Captain Scott Hatrick moving to Inside Centre. The rest of the half Shetland exerted pressure on the Montrose line but were unable to score. Geddes was unlucky to miss with two difficult penalties. Into the second half and with the wind now behind them, Montrose were playing with more confidence and Shetland found it tough to get out of their own half. After ten minutes of pressure Montrose scored their second try after more good work from their forwards. This conversion was taken. Montrose scored their third try halfway through the period after a good break by the outside centre was well supported by the hooker to score under the posts. With the conversion the score was 19 - 7 to Montrose.

Shetland now produced their best spell of the game and scored a good try from a tap penalty, dummying the ball inside and spreading wide for Robert McBain to power over from 30 meters. Geddes missed the difficult conversion kick. Shetland continued the good work to get right back within 5 meters of the Montrose line after the re-start but poor decision making in ignoring the overlap and going for the line resulted in a turnover. Montrose used the wind well to kick into Shetland's half and when Shetland lost the resulting line out, Montrose were on the attack again. After good use of the ball the Montrose tight head prop supported the break from the open side flanker to score under the posts. The easy conversion was firmly dispatched. With only minutes remaining Shetland looked for a final score to seal a bonus point but again when within meters of the Montrose try line, poor decision making caused a turnover and Montrose kicked and ran the length of the field to score and seal their victory.

Coach Wayne Leslie said "This was a much improved performance from last week. Although the better team won, the margin of victory flattered them."

The difference between the teams was the ability to turn pressure into points and this is something the squad must concentrate on. Man of the Match for Shetland was Young Matthew Nicholson while fellow youngsters Jon Pulley and Jimmy Smale played well. Jimmy was unlucky not to score late on.

Other scores from BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B: Montrose 33 Shetland 14; Carnoustie 12 RAF Kinloss 25; Moray 15 Waid Academy 0; Huntly 44 Ross Sutherland 7; Arbroath 10 RAF Lossiemouth 27.

Early days but Montrose and the RAF teams have recorded some good scores.

Shetland 0 Duns 59
Shetland Rugby Club lost to Duns RFC in the BT Cellnet Cup on Saturday but showed the ability to at least match the higher ranked side.
Duns RFC started the game expectant that as a Division One team, they should be able to overcome a team placed over 100 places below them in the rankings. While the final result ran to form, the game did not go entirely Duns way.
For the first half Shetland matched most of Duns play and the visitors were clearly unable to settle into a rhythm.
Shetland's defence worked as well as it had done all season and was unfortunate to concede as many scores it did.
By the second half the fitness and other differences between the teams started to show and Duns put on a run of points taking them to a final score of Shetland 0 Duns 59. The blues troubled the visitors but never looked like making much of a tally of their own.
The best scoring chances for Shetland were two penalty kicks taken by Robert Geddes who unusually missed with both efforts.
Club Captain Bruce Whakaari returned from bereavement absence and his solid presence and strong tackling in the midfield was a welcome sight for the enthusiastic crowd. Coach Wayne Leslie who has over 18 players currently absent from injury postured that "If the team play continues to improve with each game, results will soon start to go our way".
Among Shetland's contemporaries, only RAF Kinloss proceeded to the second round.
Tomorrow sees a return to the Leagues with a home fixture against Huntly who have a split record of one win and one loss so far.
The thoroughly modern prop duo of Hough and Hattrick are expected to make their return to the side for the game.

Shetland 0 Huntly 5

The losing streak continues. Shetland Rugby Club were beaten by Huntly RFC in their latest national league match.
Shetland kicked off last Saturday afternoon with the visitors having the advantage of the elements in the first half.
The opening period consisted of probing by each team and it was clear from the outset that this was going to be a tight game.
The Huntly winger looked dangerous early on with a good kick and chase, which was well covered by a combination of Dhanni Moar and full back Mike Skinner. Shetland responded well with a good break by Robert Geddes who sent Ian Jamieson on a run, which ended well inside the opposition 22. The first half continued in a similar vein with both teams trying to gain the upper hand but neither succeeding.
Huntly finished the half the stronger of the two teams and only good defending by the home side kept them out. The closest to a score came on the stroke of half time when the Huntly stand off sent a penalty attempt well wide of the posts. The teams reached half time with no score on the board, a most unusual state of affairs for a rugby match.

Shetland started the second half brightly and a good passage of play ended in a penalty with an opportunity for a kick at goal. Robert Geddes sent his kick wide of the posts. The deadlock then broke in a most unfortunate way for the home team. The Huntly stand off kicked a penalty to touch which was kept in play acrobatically by Mike Skinner. Mike batted the ball back into the field but without warning his back line colleague Martin Sidgwick, who did not anticipate the leap and was following the kick off the park. The young Huntly wing Anthony Miles took full advantage of this misunderstanding, fly hacked the loose ball into the goal area and won the race for the touch down. The conversion was unsuccessful and Huntly lead 5-0.
Shetland responded immediately by driving into the Huntly 22. A loose pass from the Huntly scrum half missed his half back partner who then retrieved the ball behind his own goal line. Robert Geddes scragged the stand off and the ball flew loose. Young Shetland flanker Matthew Nicolson was first to the ball and scored what seemed a perfectly legitimate try. Unfortunately for the home team the referee saw it differently and awarded a scrum five. Undeterred by this, the Shetland team proceeded to camp themselves in the Huntly 22. They tried to batter their way over the goal line and on three occasions they succeeded. However, due to the number of bodies in the way the referee was unable to see whether the ball was being grounded. Forbes Hogg had a particularly strong claim denied. Things got worse for the home team when the influential Geddes was carried off with an ankle injury.
There was one last attempt by the home team to salvage the game and this time it was Donald Stone who was adjudged to be held up over the line. The referee blew for full time and Huntly team who had defended extremely well could scarcely believe that they had won the game. The home side were left rueing their missed chances and all their pressure was to no avail.

The Shetland squad continues to show occasional lapses of composure and poor decision-making at crucial times, mainly from trying too hard. On the plus side, the team showed plenty of effort and commitment and there was the welcome return of John Tait and Ian Jamieson to the side.
The Shetland team also had the consolation of recording their first league point of the season with a loss bonus point for losing by seven points or less.

Other scores from BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B: Arbroath 7 Montrose 26; Waid Academy 47 Carnoustie 7; RAF Lossiemouth 23 RAF Kinloss 7; Ross Sutherland 22 Moray 10.
Moray 22 Shetland 0
Shetland are virtually bottom of BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B following defeat by Moray on Saturday.
Shetland endured a lumpy trip on the boat, and a 2 hour bus journey only to arrive in Elgin to bright sunshine, a good pitch and a perfect playing day. Shetland kicked off, and right away both teams were on the attack, with both sets of forwards driving from end to end.
The home team settled sooner than Shetland and midway though the half after developing an overload of players on their left, Moray managed to run round the Shetland defence to score in the corner. The conversion was missed. The score spurred Shetland into action, and it was their turn to apply the pressure, making several approaches to Moray's line, only to be turned back by losing the ball, or conceding penalties for being off-side. Time and again, and with the slight breeze at their backs, Moray were given the chance to kick their way out of danger.
Compounding the damage, Moray stole the line-out resulting from one of the clearances and punched through the re-organising back line to score again. The missed conversion left a half time score of 10-0.
In the second half, Brian Murphy took advantage of the same breeze to gain valuable territory for Shetland, and the Blues were camped on the Moray 5 metre line for nearly 10 minutes, But despite Moray having 2 players yellow carded for persistent fouling in the ruck, the Shetland team was unable to convert any of the pressure into points. Ian Jamieson did cross the try line once but was adjudged to have been held up by the Moray defence. To make matters worse, Moray broke out their own twenty two for another unconverted score, making it 15-0.
In this game of see-sawing territorial advantage, the killer blow by Moray came after the Shetland scrum half Mike Skinner was yellow carded for persistent off-sides at the ruck. Don Stone moved out of the forwards to act as scrum half but when Moray shunted a scrum back to the Shetland try line it was a Moray fringe player who reacted fastest to a loose ball and touched down for the final try. This was converted to leave Shetland 22 - 0 down, with no time left for any kind of comeback.
Discussions on the bus and ferry home centred around the pros and cons of the team's performance. On the plus side there was the return from injury of Brian Murphy, more good performances from the younger players and players in new positions acquitting themselves reasonably. On the minus side, the constant shuffling of the line-out resulted in more lost ball than usual, there were far too many silly penalties conceded and the team communication needed improvement.

Other scores from BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B: Huntly 31 Arbroath 21; RAF Kinloss 18 Waid Academy 20; Montrose 15 RAF Lossiemouth 15.
Shetland 24 Carnoustie 19
In a must win game, Shetland finally took full points against Carnoustie on Saturday.
After six competitive defeats so far this season, Shetland knew that it would be a crucial game against the only other team in Division 5 (Caledonia) B yet to record a victory. There was a minute silence before the start in memory of Jon Dow who died recently while playing for Carnoustie.
Shetland kicked off into the wind and the opening moments set the pattern for much of the rest of the game.
Shetland looked a different side from previous weeks and looked to use the ball, creating chances that were close to bringing early points. Both sides had a clear determination about them and showed plenty appetite for the ball.
It took until nearly half time before the Carnoustie flanker crashed over from ten metres to open the scoring.
Captain Scott Hatrick's half time talk was calm but firm given the good play so far and the chances created. The game was there for the taking.

Now playing with the wind, Shetland started the second half the same way they had the first and the combination of strong driving forwards creating a platform for quick back moves paid off quickly when Mike Skinner passed the ball wide for David Thomson to round the stretched defence and score in the corner. Mike missed the difficult conversion.
The Shetland side settled after the breakthrough and soon took the lead. Once again the forwards won the ball and took it up-field where the ball was released to the backs. This time Shane Paterson drove over from close range near to the posts.
The determination of both sides began to overflow slightly and little niggles began appearing throughout the phases of play. The rucks and mauls in the middle of the second half were no place to lie around under if you had any aversion to being stamped on. Generally though, the Blues won more than the Reds and it was a good Blue rolling maul that sucked in Carnoustie players and allowed the ball to go out along the line for Shane Paterson to get his second try.
Carnoustie were still keen to get something from the match and a break down their right flank gave them their second try, which went unconverted.
The crowd were now shouting for Shetland to up the pace as a fourth try would give a crucial bonus point. It was Captain Scott Hatrick who made the important score after breaking off the side of a ruck in the Carnoustie half to sidestep the covering winger and touch down under the posts. Mike Skinner converted.
The final score of the game came after Shetland elected to kick a penalty for goal given at the Carnoustie ten, which was probably the correct decision but which fell short to the Carnoustie full-back who then ran the length of the field to score.
The final score was Shetland 24 Carnoustie 19.

This was a noticeably better outing from the team. The line-outs were stronger with a good performance from Lindsay Leslie at scrum-half. The backs used the ball better and there was less sign of the fluster that hindered previous games. The defence did well against a determined side and should be disappointed to have conceded enough points to allow Carnoustie a loss bonus, although it was arguably deserved.

Other scores from BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B: Montrose 13 Huntly 14; Arbroath 5 Moray 11; Ross Sutherland 20 RAF Kinloss 29; RAF Lossiemouth 12 Waid Academy 10.
RAF Kinloss 29 Shetland 13
Last weekend Shetland Rugby club suffered yet another loss, this time to RAF Kinloss.
The game kicked off from the first ruck second row John Tait had to leave the field with a cut above the eye. This did not seem to disrupt Shetland unduly as they had the better of the opening exchanges and it was no surprise when Shetland took the lead after 12 minutes when Robert Geddes stroked over a penalty from 30 m.
The next twenty minutes was a fairly even affair with Kinloss using their superiority at the break down to put together a number of phases to gain territory and Shetland were using Bruce Whakaari and Miguel Launceton to get over the gain line and look for the support.
Shetland were unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions when the final pass or support was not quite right. They did get another penalty from Geddes to put them 6 - 0 ahead.
In the last ten minutes of the first half Kinloss scored twice, both from turnovers.
The first came from a Shetland lineout that was well won and Shetland mauled the ball for 10m unfortunatly Shetland lost control of the ball and Kinloss spun the ball wide and kicked the Shetland full back was out of position and the Kinloss Winger won the foot race. The second try came from a Shetland scrum on halfway, Kinloss took a tighthead and the kinloss scrumhalf ran in a very good try from halfway.
Half time 12 - 6 to kinloss.
The second half was similar to the first with Kinloss having a lot of possession but unable to make much yardage, Shetland when they had possession were able to make yardage but too often sloppy passing broke play down.
Halfway through the second half RAF were awarded a penalty and successfully kicked for goal to give RAF a 15-6 lead, crucially two scores in the lead.
Shetland then responded with their best spell of the game and scored a very good try, from a scrum at halfway scrum half Mike Skinner broke blind, chipped ahead and regathered but was tackled inside the twenty two the ball was recycled by the forwards and spread wide, Bruce Whakaari passed the ball inside for Ross Morrison to crash over, Geddes made the conversion to put the score to 15-13 to kinloss.
Soon after Shetland were awarded a penalty but Geddes pulled the ball slightly to the left of the posts.
Going into the final 10 minutes the game could go either way, it was kinloss who would sieze the oportunity with a scrappy try, a loose ball was kicked on from halfway and bounced favorably for the kinloss player to gather in his stride and score in the corner.
With time running out and Shetland throwing the ball around in their half an interception resulted in another try and bonus point for Kinloss. Full time 29 -13 to RAF Kinloss.
Shetland can take heart from a vastly improved performance, although letting in some soft scores defence was better and in the forwards the set piece was the besat of the year and the backs seemed to have regained some confidence.
Standout players were Ross Morrison and Thomas Smale in the Forwards and Mike Skinner and Miguel Launceton in the backs.
RAF Kinloss report & photos on
RAF Kinloss site
There are also some photos here, kindly supplied by RAF Kinloss.
Shetland 7 Waid FP 46

A pedestrian performance by Shetland allowed Waid to take full points at Clickimin on Saturday.
Early play by both teams looked promising but it was not long before Waid began to put considerable pressure on the Shetland defence.
After ten minutes Waid broke towards the line and were only stopped by a good covering tackle by Robert Geddes. From the resulting line-out Waid passed the ball along the line and scored in the opposite corner. An overlap was created by the blindside winger switching to add an extra man to the line and this ploy was used several times throughout the game. The Waid wingers were playing well and the second score saw the opposite Waid winger receive the ball at the touchline only to side step past multiple defenders and score near to the posts.
Shetland were still competing at this stage and a smart kick by Brian Murphy took play to the Waid 5m line. Shetland gained possession from a line-out and drove a maul over the tryline for Don Stone to touch down. Robert Geddes converted.
Waid did not take long to respond and a succession of passes out of the tackle got Waid back to the Shetland line before the Second Row Graham Gourlay crashed over.
Frustration began to creep into the Shetland play and was evident in niggles that started to appear. Referee Forbes Hogg decided to yellow card Don Stone and Waid's James Lauristen after umbrage developed into handbags.
Play in the centre of the field was roughly equal but the play at the fringes was clearly to Waid's favour and regularly Waid would make distance from missed tackles. It was a series of missed tackles at the touchline that allowed the Waid winger to score again much to the consternation of the crowd and Shetland defence who believed that the player had been forced into touch.
The half-time score was Shetland 7 Waid Academy FP 24.

Shetland started the second half well but soon self destructed. Firstly a rushed pass was intercepted by the Waid winger who was just stopped by a fine Derek Ross tackle then when John Tait had recaptured possession and started to move forward again, Lindsay Leslie unusually passed without looking and any momentum was lost.
Play couldn't get past the Waid defence and, moving into the final quarter, the earlier niggle returned. The actions by other players leading up to the moment may have been fortunate to go unsighted but referee Hogg was left with no option but issue a red card to Don Stone after punches were thrown in front of him.
The Waid winger took another score soon after to compound the misery.
When things don't go your way they really don't and good Shetland defence was aggravated when Waid played on and capitalised to score again when everyone but the linesman thought an attacking Waid player had been put into touch.
The final score came straight from the restart where Waid simply collected the ball and passed out to the backs. Stand Off Chris Sneddon ran two thirds of the pitch to score.
Coach Wayne Leslie will draw plenty negatives and few positives from this showing.

Other scores from BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B:
Montrose 25 Carnoustie 10; Huntly 34 Moray 3; Arbroath 51 RAF Kinloss 3.
Ross Sutherland 5 Shetland 28
Three boats trips for rugby players.
A BOAT trip to Aberdeen followed by a coach trip to Scrabster, a boat trip to Stromness, a bus trip to Kirkwall and finally a boat trip back to Lerwick with 80 minutes of rugby to be played at Invergordon en route seems a desperate way to have fun. But last weekend the bon viveurs of Shetland rugby did just that and enjoyed almost all of it.
In a bottom-of-the-table clash Shetland played Ross Sutherland at their Invergordon ground, both teams fully aware that a loss could well put paid to league survival even at this stage of the season.
With a flat pitch and calm weather the stage was set for a good game and by and large that was what the small crowd got. From the kick off it was obvious that the Shetland pack would be able to bully their opponents and equally the Shetland new-look back line looked superior to Ross Sutherland's.
However, once again overall dominance in these areas, especially in attack, was frequently squandered through the most basic of handling errors or the clumsiest turnover of possession. Despite this Shetland slowly started dominating and after 15 minutes a sustained team attack was finished of with some individual panache by stand-off Robert Geddes.
After this the shackles seemed to be lifted and Shetland thoroughly dominated the rest of the game. The only big problem was a succession of free kicks against Shetland at the scrummage, Shetland's scrum half and stand-in hooker Scott Hatrick, finding their timing difficult.
Shetland's second try came through inside centre and captain Bruce Whakaari who, with a typical bullocking run, ran the ball in from 25 metres. Geddes converted his second to make the half-time score 14-0.
The second half continued as the first left off with Shetland dominating and quite honestly a bagful could have been scored. But credit to Ross Sutherland's young side who tackled well all day and never gave up the cause, even after Brian Murphy went over after Shetland had been battering their line for what seemed an eternity.
Then, with the game seemingly sewn up, last season's habit of letting in a soft one reared its head again. From an easy turnover ball Sutherland went the length of the pitch, got a penalty out wide, made two passes and scored. It was criminal defence time again.
The game was not in jeopardy but the bonus point was, and with the clock ticking down Shetland had to score to get the full five points.
In the last action of the game it came. Up strode big Neil Hamilton to crash over from five metres, this time getting his angle perfect and securing the bonus point for Shetland. Geddes converted, the ref blew and the final score was 28-5 to Shetland.
Shetland 24 RAF Lossiemouth 10
Shetland Rugby Club's performances continue to improve. RAF Lossiemouth were unable to match the local side on Saturday.
Coach Wayne Leslie had most players available for selection and his starting line up closely resembled the team that won in Ross Sutherland two weeks ago.
The inside centre was the early outlet for RAF Lossiemouth but Shetland's defence held and countered leaving the initial play around the half way line. Shetland looked coordinated with good moves, including a scissors from Captain Bruce Whakaari, taking the home side down the pitch. Robert Geddes missed a penalty kick but the Shetland forwards were able to retain the pressure and keep the visitors in defence. After half an hour the RAF side had to foul again to hold the Shetland attack and Geddes made this second kick count.
After the restart Shetland won a kick and chase and built from a line-out to earn a scrum 5 metres from the posts. Don Stone picked up at the back of the scrum and broke two tackles to score the first try. Geddes converted. Lossiemouth started to use their back line well and created a series of overlaps that only desperate cover tackles could stop. The Shetland defence were guilty of standing back and waiting to be attacked and by the end of the half Lossie had outstretched the defence for the full-back to score in the corner. The missed conversion left a halftime score of 10-5.
In the second half RAF Lossiemouth started strongly but without seriously troubling Shetland. When Shetland did attack it was more effective. The second try was a solo effort and when Shetland finally got the ball to the wing, Robert McBain ran from half way past a number of tackles to score under the posts. Coach Leslie made a few quiet suggestions from the sidelines and the Shetland defence also started moving up faster, which created a number of chances. Dhanni Moar was adjudged to have been held up over the line before Bruce Whakaari crashed over. Geddes conversion made the score 24-5 and Shetland were chasing the fourth try that would give them a bonus point. But after committing players hoping to break through, a turn-over was well used by the military side to pass around the disjoined Shetland team to score wide. The conversion was missed. Shetland made it back up the pitch but ran out of time before the final whistle.
This was a great game for the spectators with a good show from both sides played in a good spirit. Referee Chris Hamar quietly controlled the match.

Other scores from BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B:
Montrose 24 Waid Academy 13; Arbroath 0 Ross Sutherland 10; Moray 9 Carnoustie HSFP 5; Huntly 0 RAF Kinloss 12.

Arbroath 18 Shetland 17
Coach Wayne Leslie was strongly critical after his team lost to Arbroath RFC in Angus on Saturday.
The match performances of Shetland Rugby Club have been slowly improving over the season with little sign remaining of the fluster and panic that defined some of the early games.
What has not improved has been the discipline and level headedness required of a team playing in the national leagues. This failing was the downfall of Shetland at the weekend.
The game kicked off fifteen minutes late and from the start Arbroath's game plan became apparent; a large physical team putting pressure on the opponent's ball at the breakdown and utilizing forwards running from the stand-off or kicks for position.
The first twenty minutes were pretty even with Arbroath having most of the territory, mainly because of Shetland infringements at the tackle situation. It was becoming a very physical affair and this was leading to a few heated moments. Things boiled over at one point and an Arbroath player along with Shetland's Bruce Whakaari and Robert McBain were sent to the sin bin for being involved in a scuffle.
This seemed to spur Shetland on and they scored their first points through a Robert Geddes penalty to go 3-0 up.
In the final 10 minutes Arbroath levelled the score from a penalty by their number 10 Bruce Langlands.
Half time score three all.
Shetland made one substitution at half time with Brian Johnson coming on to become the forty third player used by Shetland so far this year.
The second half started and Arbroath were soon camped in Shetland's twenty two. Poor discipline from Shetland gave away a penalty in front of the posts and Langland Converted to put Arbroath 6-3 up.
The home side continued to put pressure on Shetland and after having the ball over the line but held up, the next phase of play saw Shetland penalised for a high tackle and an offence after the whistle. This saw Shetland go down to 13 men again when John Tait and Matthew Nicholson were both yellow carded. Although down to 13 Shetland were defending very well but after a sustained attack, a clever cross kick from Langlands saw a try scored when the Arbroath winger beat Dhanni Moar to the touch down.
The try was converted to put Arbroath 13 - 3 ahead.
From the kick off an Arbroath player was red carded for taking a man out off the ball, Shetland were now back to 15 players but were still unable to put any patterns together and yet another infringement saw Langlands extend the lead to 16 - 3 with another penalty.
As the game resumed, Arbroath tried to spin the ball wide but the ball was dropped and Shetland full back Robert McBain kicked ahead, gathered his kick and ran in from halfway. Geddes' conversion made the score 16 - 10 to Arbroath with time running out.
With five minutes to go Arbroath were in Shetland's 22 and Langlands attempted a drop goal. Robert Geddes was up quickly and charged the kick down. He re-gathered the loose ball and made it to half way before being tackled. The ball was passed to the supporting Whakaari who took play on to the 22, passed to Shane Patterson who drew in the remaining two defenders and passed to Laurence Williamson to score in the corner. Geddes made the difficult conversion to put Shetland 17 - 16 ahead with three minutes remaining.
Arbroath kicked off and the ball went straight into touch. All Shetland had to do was play down the clock but at the lineout there was yet another infringement to award a scrum to Arbroath and a further infringement at the scrum gave Arbroath a free kick which they ran. The ball was spun wide and the Shetland winger put in a needless high tackle; Penalty to Arbroath. Langlands stepped up to score with the last kick of the ball to give Arbroath a 19 - 16 Victory.
Coach Leslie said "This was a very poor Shetland performance. We never managed to control the ball at the breakdown. We were capable of scoring tries and defended well in parts but gave away too many penalties through poor discipline."
Best player for Shetland was winger David Thomson who defended excellently and performed well at full-back for the last 15 minutes.

Next weekend sees league leaders Montrose travel up to Shetland and the club is hoping to put in a performance similar to the last home game rather than this last away game.
The Club would like to thank Northlink Ferries for their continued support.

Other scores from BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B:
Huntly 27 Waid Academy 10; Montrose 11 Ross Sutherland 7; Moray 17 RAF Kinloss 31.

Carnoustie 15 Shetland 16

Following a full month without a match Shetland travelled via NorthLink ferry to Carnoustie hoping to get the new year of to a happy start.
A Robert Geddes penalty edged Shetland into an early lead this was followed by a try for acting Captain Scott Hatrick, Carnoustie responded with a well worked try from the front of a line-out, in reply Paddy O’Connor went over in the corner making a half time score of 5-13.
In the second half Shetland’s lack of recent match practice began to show and Carnoustie came back with two unconverted tries to take the lead for the first time.
It was Robert Geddes who was to have the last say with a beautifully struck penalty to give Shetland a one point advantage at 15-16 and more importantly 4 points for a win as the final blew three minutes later.

Shetland 17 RAF Kinloss 19
Everyone connected with Shetland Rugby knew well in advance that last Saturday’s clash with RAF Kinloss RFC was going to be a big challenge.
The opponents are sitting second in our League table, and club spies, playing in exile, had provided reports of their organisation and speed on the wings.
But despite all this, hopes were high with home field advantage, and a strong, injury-free pool of players available for Coach Wayne Leslie.
The day was windy, cold and bright, with the SRT pitch in very good condition, and the local partisan crowd were hoping for a great start to Up Helly Aa week. What they got was the classic sporting cliché – a game of two halves.
Kinloss started strongly with the wind at their backs, and immediately Shetland were shown the power and speed of the Kinloss wingers. Only some strong defensive tackling from the Shetland wingers of Dhanni Moar and David Thomson stemmed these early attacks.
But within ten minutes of kick-off, what many observers thought was the pivotal point of the game occurred. A Kinloss prop was sin-binned for ten minutes for a dangerous but non-malicious high tackle on Robert Geddes as he broke for the try line. Geddes pulled the resultant penalty wide, Kinloss reshuffled their forwards, and proceeded to break Shetland hearts by scoring while their team was a man down. A quick breakaway and sloppy Shetland defending allowed Kinloss over the line near the posts, and left an easy conversion to make the score 7 – 0 to the visitors.
For the rest of the first half, things were to develop into a fairly constant pattern. Kinloss used the wind to kick the ball over the heads of the Shetland defenders, while their scorching wingers gave chase. Meanwhile the Shetland Blues had become a bit more settled, and had started to impose their own influence on the game. The established back line-up of Geddes, Brian Murphy, Captain Bruce Whakaari and Paddy O’Connor was proving both powerful and effective in breaking the RAF’s line, but poor ball retention and recycling was letting all their good work be undone. Kinloss’ tactics led to their second but unconverted try of the first half, and their third came through a power play by the forwards, under the posts. This one was converted to leave the half time score a dis-heartening but not impossible 19-0 to RAF Kinloss.
A stern team talk from the coach fired Shetland up for the second half, and things started to improve.
Shetland was now making good use of the wind, with effective and punishing punts from Full back Mike Skinner and Geddes.
Strangely, Kinloss rarely threatened the Blue’s try line in the second half, but their defense was well marshaled, and it took nearly twenty minutes of hard graft before the powerful running of Don Stone bore fruit. He went over near the posts to leave Geddes an easy conversion. Suddenly the game took on a whole new complexion – the previously muted crowd was now roaring for more … and starting to believe all was not lost!
Thee more penalty points from the Geddes boot only seemed to confirm this, and the whole Shetland team piled on the pressure. This led to one of the most exciting last quarters of rugby seen at Clickimin this season. Suddenly Kinloss were defending that metaphorical last ditch, as they clung on and tried to take the sting out of the opposition’s play. But despite these tactics, Shetland had their dander up, and for a five-minute spell, it seemed that almost every player in the team tried a crash ball dive at the line, trying to get the next score – some trying several times! The only Blues not involved were the increasingly frustrated back line out wide on the left, with a three-man overlap. Finally the ball was shipped out to them, and cool handling under slight pressure allowed Skinner to score an easy try out wide. This left Geddes a difficult conversion, but he coolly slotted it dead centre, sending the ecstatic home crowd into raptures, and dreaming of the possibility of a fantastic win! Shetland continued to pile on the pressure onto a visibly wilting RAF Kinloss team, but that final breakthrough was not to come, despite all the extra time added by the referee for all the Kinloss injuries.
The game finished 19 – 17 to Kinloss, and this correspondent had a tear in his eye as another hackneyed cliché sprang to mind – "so near and yet so far!"
Everyone watching the game certainly got loads of excitement, tension and enjoyment out of this match, with both teams utilising the elements to the best advantage – a great spectacle to watch.
Waid FP 32 Shetland 6
Shetland down in neuk
Shetland Rugby travelled away to their most southerly fixture of the season to Waid Academy FPs of Anstruther. The conditions were perfect for 10.45 am kick-off. Shetland won the toss and Waid kicked off into the slight breeze. Shetland had the best of the early encounters and deservedly took the lead with a 50 metre penalty from Robert Geddes. Unfortunately they were unable to extend the lead and the home side struck back with a try against the run of play. Shetland had plenty of territorial possession and good breaks from Nathan Coote and Ian Jamieson almost resulted in tries. The away team were made to rue their missed opportunities when Waid broke away and scored a second unconverted try. Shetland struck back with a 40 metre penalty from Geddes. The visitors pinned their opponents into their 22 but again failed to convert the pressure into points. They were punished for this failure on the stroke of half time when a dropped pass in the Waid 22 was exploited by the home side who ran the ball first left and then right and scored another unconverted try. The ref blew for half time with score being 15-6 to Waid.
Shetland started the second half very brightly and had a number of opportunities to score but scorned them due to a lack of composure and poor decision making. In a repetition of the first half the home side showed the Shetland boys how to take their chances and scored 2 quick tries. The scene was set for a good hiding but the Shetland side dug in and held out until a late try by Waid made the final score 32-6. This result leaves Shetland in a relegation battle with 4 fixtures remaining. Full commitment is required by all at the club to make sure that the side do not finish in the bottom two.

Shetland 25 Ross Sutherland 5
The step up to the national leagues has proven not to be easy for the local side who have resided in the lower echelons of National Division 5 Caledonia B for much of the season. As the season nears an end, the battle to avoid relegation is well underway. Depending on results, any of five teams in the league could face demotion for finishing last or second-last in the table. Like Shetland, Saturday's visitors Ross Sutherland are also among the five teams fighting to avoid the drop so the game between the two teams was a very important fixture.
Ross Sutherland kicked off into a strong wind and Shetland immediately used the elements behind them to press Ross Sutherland (in red) back towards their try line. After only five minutes the home side stretched the visitors and Mike Skinner ran through to touch down. Robert Geddes converted and Shetland had an encouraging 7-0 lead. Throughout the half Ross Sutherland caused moments of concern but generally Shetland were able to contain the breaks and retaliate. Backs and forwards all played well and Paddy O'Conner took the second try before John Roy Nicholson used his size and strength to crash over the visiting defence. Neither try was converted and Shetland led 17-0. As half time closed in, Shetland won a penalty around the Ross Sutherland 22m line. While many in the crowd wanted to see the ball retained in hand with the hope of an important fourth try before half time, it was decided to kick and Robert Geddes added a further three points before the referee stopped the first period of play. Half-time score: Shetland 20 Ross Sutherland 0.

The second half could have been a reverse of the first with Ross Sutherland now benefiting from a strengthening wind at their backs. Shetland however did not want to give up the vital lead and defended resolutely. Ross Sutherland did score an unconverted try but could not penetrate as the home side did before. The general pattern of play involved Shetland working phases of play from their own try line to the middle of the field before Ross Sutherland kicked over the top and Shetland had to turn, chase back and start all over again. The highlight of the half was when the Shetland backs made a break up the field, which was then retained by the Shetland forwards, who kept the ball alive and took the ball further before passing it to the backs again as far as Laurence Williamson on the wing, who made more distance before getting the ball inside to Paddy O'Conner, who almost made the corner finally popping to Mike Skinner who dived over to give Shetland a fourth try and importantly a try bonus. Onlookers remarked highly of the brief glimpse of champagne rugby. The final result was Shetland 25 Ross Sutherland 5.

Other scores from BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B:
Moray 0 RAF Lossiemouth 58; Arbroath 3 Waid Academy 25; Montrose 17 RAF Kinloss 5.

Shetland 29 Moray 3
SHETLAND Rugby Club played their last home game of the season at weekend, which ended in a fine win over Moray RFC from Elgin.
Shetland won the toss and decided to play into the strong wind at Clickimin. The first 10 minutes were quite scrappy with neither side able to put many phases together.
Moray were able to put Shetland under pressure with some good kicks which utilised the elements. The visitors scored the first points from a penalty on the 22 after John Roy Nicolson was guilty of being offside.
This seemed to spur Shetland on as they put together better passages of play to dominate the rest of the half . Nicolson more than redeemed himself by going over twice from close range, the first from a scrum won against the head.
Half-time arrived with Shetland leading 10-3.
In the second half Shetland scored three more tries from Shane Patterson, Paddy O'Conner and Bruce Whakkari to secure the win and bonus point.
Overall it was a competent performance from Shetland which elevated them to sixth in the league. Standout players were Patterson and Colin Kirkness in the forwards and O'Conner in the backs.
The other significant score from the BT National Division 5 (Caledonia) B league was RAF Lossiemouth 68, Ross Sutherland 0, which keeps the latter team five points below Shetland.
RAF Kinloss 48 Shetland 22
A party of 35 travelled from Shetland at the weekend to take on RAF Lossiemouth in both men’s and ladies rugby.
The ladies match started first and tries from Lesley Mouat and Linda Mills gave the visitors an early lead but both went unconverted and when the home side replied with two tries of their own it was a conversion that made the difference when the final whistle blew, (12-10).
In the men’s match RAF Lossiemouth took an early lead and their Fijian winger,Seta Vinavalu set his mesmeric mood for the day with a brilliant display of South Sea rugby for the North Sea Islanders to enjoy, Shetland were soon three tries down. Shetland’s first score came from the boot of Robert Geddes with loosehead, Scott Hatrick crashing over for the visitors only try of the first half.
In the second half Shetland began to show a little bit of what the the North Sea Islanders are capable of with great support play leading to tries from Nathan Coote and John Roy Nicolson bringing the score to within seven at 29-22.
Shetland were now looking for at least a bonus point but another three tries, without reply, for the home side put paid to that and showed why the Owls are deservedly flying up and out of 5 Caley B.(final score 48-22)