The Isle of Man women’s hockey team retained their inter-island hockey crown on Sunday after a series of impressive performances over the weekend.
A hard-fought victory against Bermuda kicked off the tournament on Friday night, which set the scene for the rest of the tournament as a well-organised defence ensured that a single island strike claimed both points on offer.
It was more of the same on the Saturday as defence stayed on top, leading to 1-0 victories against both Jersey and Guernsey along with a goalless draw against the impressive Orkney Islands. This result confirmed both teams’ places in Sunday afternoon’s final.
In front of a 250-strong crowd, the final started as another cagey affair, with much industry but few goalscoring chances for both teams in the opening 25 minutes.
Just before half-time, however, the Isle of Man got the breakthrough a surging run into the D and strike from the outstanding Zoe Carney wasn’t cleared by the Orkney defence. The ball was put back into the danger zone by Sarah Blackman and turned into the net by inter-island debutante Imogen Manning.
Orkney, however, showed their quality by equalising a matter of minutes later, a firm strike from a short corner from Charlotte Thompson puncturing the Manx defence for the first time over the weekend. Island goalkeeper Sami Jordan got a touch to the ball but unluckily could not keep it out.
As the second half started the Manx, led by the Carney sisters in midfield, started to exert their influence and this led to space for a mazy run from youngster Laura Atkinson. She cut through the Orkney defence, before dispatching the ball into the corridor of uncertainty between defence and goalkeeper leading to the simplest of finishes for Blackman on the back post.
Buoyed by the goal, the Manx pushed forward again, and Zoe Carney capped off a fine performance with a solid strike from a short corner. Orkney pushed and pushed towards the end, but the island’s very own brick walls Kirsty Bowley and Nicci Cain ensured that the game finished 3-1 and the island celebrating another Inter-Island victory as they retained their crown.
More in Thursday’s Manx Independent