Western Isles women eye redemption at Jersey Games

editorial image

They have ruled the Highland footballing world, the Schools football competitions and even over a trio of Dutch clubs in the past three years.

Dominating and dazzling at the same time their playing style has fans and spectators purring with delight, and few have had anything but praise for their players and their impact on the game of women’s football in the Western Isles.

But now the stakes are about to rise for the Western Isles Women’s squad after the draw for this summer’s Natwest Island Games pitched them in a four-team group with Gotland; Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

The Western Isles Women’s football squad have spent the best part of three years preparing for this summer’s Natwest Island Games.

Taking place in Jersey this July the Games will afford the girls the chance to challenge for medals on the international stage and right the wrongs of their last Games’ appearance when they came so close to snatching a deserved bronze.

Standing in their path for a shot at glory are Gotland; Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

Following a group stage of shadow boxing in their group of four, the top team from each group and the best-placed runner-up will go into the tournament’s decisive semi-finals.

Here the stakes rise as team manager Catherine Anne Macleod knows only too well.

“We are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead and we are very excited,” she said.

“As we have witnessed ourselves, anything is possible in football so we will prepare to the best of our ability and give our all for the Western Isles.”

But how good are the Western Isles?

At their first Island Games (Rhodes 2007) the women finished ninth. Two-years later and they took sixth spot (Aaland) before reaching the semi-finals and in 2011 (Isle of Wight).

Since then they have helped themselves to a hat-trick of North of Scotland Festival wins, a hugely succesful match tour of Holland while half the squad have pockets full of Scottish Cup and North of Scotland Cup winners gongs from playing with their school team at the Nicolson Institute.

They have scored literally hundreds of goals and conceded few with most of their games proving to be one-sided affairs even on international soil.

In Holland the girls played three and won three despite travelling without a recognised goalkeeper and not having the luxury of regular 11-a-side games at home.

Katwijk were beaten 2-0, Terlede 9-0 and WSB 7-1.

The Western Isles are unbeaten in the Highlands and Islands festivals since it has been running. In the last 12-months alone the women have played 17, won 16 and drawn only once in a 7-a-side match against Shetland. In the last year they have netted a remarkable 43 goals and conceded just twice. Inverness City remain the only side to have earned a victory over our girls in the last three years

To read the rest of this article pick up a copy of your Stornoway Gazette - on sale now.