This year’s Lewis and Harris league title race had more twists and turns than a rollercoaster.
But while Point may have sealed the championship glory - with their first title in 14 years - it isn’t the end of the honours.
To celebrate another stunning year for island football, packed with thrills and spills, the Stornoway Gazette is bringing our readers the Lewis and Harris League Team of the Season - as voted for by the managers themselves.
Each manager was asked to select a team of the season but they were forbidden from giving the nod to any of their own players.
The results make interesting reading with a player from all eight league clubs earning at least one vote from the manager’s but after tallying up the votes, the entire Team of the Season is made up from just three sides - Point, Lochs and Ness.
GOALKEEPER: James Macleod
The 20-year-old Lochs keeper was the unanimous choice for the man between the sticks in our team of the season as all eligble managers - his club boss Kevin Anderson was restricted from selecting him - named him as their choice as the top keeper of 2018
Once on the books of Ross County, the keeper has proved himself to be the safest pair of hands in the Hebrides.
CENTRE-BACK: Peter Mackenzie
Lochs’ Captain courageous is the kind of player who isn’t only unafraid to fling himself into the most perilous of situations for his team, he seems to thrive on it. Would run over an orphan, one-eyed kitten to get a loose ball.
CENTRE-BACK: Elliot Ruddal
Tall, powerful, quick and a player who mixes defending with the creative. He boasts the very rare ability to stop the opposition with the flair to initiate an attack.
Has grown in tactical nous this year and the Point stopper underlined his form by being select by every manager who could give him the nod.
CENTRE-BACK: Ali ‘Laxay’ Macdonald
Athletic defender who combines pace and timing, ‘Laxay’ is a tough obstacle for opposing strikers to pass and possesses something of a ‘telescopic’ leg where he executes a last ditch tackle to win a ball which opposing strikers feel is their’s.
Skillful and confident on the ball, his fearless bursts from the back help initiatecounter-attacks.
RIGHT MIDFIELD: Angus Macdonald
The lungs of the Reds who breathes life and energy into the title winning side.
Hugely powerful and remarkably versatilie, Angus has been able to slot effortlessly into a number of defensive or offensive positions and he was a regular scorer for Point as they romped to their first league title in 14-years.
CENTRE MIDFIELD: Micheil Smith
2017’s Lewis and Harris Player of the Year has enjoyed another stellar season at the hub of the Ness boiler room.
A supremely elegant midfielder with intelligence and guile, who uses the ball when possession is gained.
He is Ness’ ‘Energizer Bunny’, an all action , all running midfield man.
CENTRE MIDFIELD: John ‘Uig’ Morrison
Lewis football’s Mr 70/30 in that if he is giving up 70 per cent advantage in a tackle for a loose ball I’d back him to win it.
Morrison tackles fairly but with such steel and strength it is as if he is stashing a horseshoe in his boot.
But with his steel comes more than a heaping of silk. A superb option at dead balls, whipping free kicks into the top corner and his side’s regualr penalty taker, Morrison is key to Lochs’ continued success.
CENTRE MIDFIELD: Andy Murray
Lochs’ magician split his time between centre midfield and full-back this season but still earned four nominations from opposing managers.
Blessed with consummate ball skills and beautifully balanced, Murray has the ability to stroll past players at will and twinned with composed ball-playing and eye for a killer pass, he remains integral for his side.
LEFT-MIDFIELD: Andrew Morrison
The Harris youngster has the enviable ability to float from wide to central areas, while always showcasing a delicate touch, with the elegance, and the instant appreciation of options.
Sharp finishing and a venomous right boot which leads to several goals from outside the area are skills Morrison has in his locker.
STRIKER: James ‘Titch’ Morrison
Surely a front runner for the Player of the Year awards. ‘Titch’ has enjoyed a stunning season, underlined by 22 goals for Ness including a cup final double.
Blessed with perfect balance and quick feet, he made a habit of tieing defenders in knots with his dribbling ability this summer. A confident passer he breaks intelligently into the opposition box and delivers a stinging shot with a minimum of back-lift.
STRIKER: Jim O’Donnell / Alasdair ‘Wally’ Maciver
Tied at three votes a-piece are Lochs’ Jim O’Donnell - who finished as the league’s top scorer on 25 goals and Alasdair ‘Wally’ Maciver of champs Point for whom he weighed in with 13 goal en-route to their title glory.
Top scorer for the second time in three seasons, Jim enjoyed a superb summer in maroon.
Lethal in front of goal, he is also a hard runner while boasting the the ability to ‘hang in the air’ when jumping to head a ball.
‘Wally’ is a different kind of forward and is one who is both is fast and highly skilled technically.
A low centre of gravity provides the platform for superb, tight dribbling skills and spectacular goals.