Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Island rivals ready for Milne Cup showdown

The 105th Milne Cup takes place this Saturday as Orkney face the difficult job of retaining their title in Lerwick against Shetland. The holders haven’t won away from home in the annual tie since 1981 and, in an even longer standing record, have not won back-to-back games against their great rivals since 1966.

Hero...Tait heads home in the 2012 upset
Orkney stunned the 2005 Island Games winners last year as they ran out 3-1 winners in Kirkwall, their 1st victory since 2004. Over 2,000 fans are expected at Gilbertson Park as a fairly inexperienced host side aim to retain the title they lost last summer.

No fewer than eight players have been called up for the 1st time including goalkeeper Iain Devonald, defender Joel Bradley and striker Richard Sinclair. Despite the new faces experienced heads such as James Johnston, who’s played in 15 Milne Cup games, and Leighton Flaws have also been named in the squad.

Defender Flaws scored 3 goals at the 2009 Island Games, the last time Shetland fielded a side at the event, and also bagged 2 when they hosted the competition in 2005. Stephen Umphray is included again after not featuring for Shetland from 2005 to 2012 and he could be paired with James Aitken, scorer of the 2011 Milne Cup winner, in attack.
Converted...Flaws scoring at the 2009 Island Games

Orkney’s 2-goal hero last summer John Tait misses out this time due to injury but DJ Moffat, who also scored in the 3-1 win, is included. The holders have only played in 3 Island Games before and the most recent was in 2005 when they beat the Falkland Islands to finish 9th.

Veteran striker Erik Bews scored in those finals 7 years ago and he is 1 of 7 squad members playing at Orkney league side Thorfinn. The game kicks off at 18:00 local time and our report will be available on the blog after the match.

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