Island Games: Daily Update - MONDAY

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The only place to start today’s round-up is with our Western Isles women. Girl Power was out in force in Gotland as our phenomenal females took centre stage.

Kara Hanlon swept away all comers with a stunning 50m breast stroke victory. Having won silver in this same even tin Jersey, ‘Hurricane’ Hanlon went one better to take gold and bring the first chunk of precious Island Games silverware to the WIIGA camp.

Her time of 31.62 ensured she was comfortably first home and she took her place at the top of the podium to wild applause. Superb display from a quite superb athlete and young woman.

Elsewhere, our women footballers were flying the flag for the Western Isles in quite brilliant fashion.

Once again they crossed boots with old foes Isle of Man - a side they had never beaten at this level, Two years ago, in Jersey, they thought they had ended their hoodoo when they raced 2-0 up. But three goals in the last nine minutes shattered the Western Isles who lost 3-2 and Isle of Man stormed all the way to the semi-finals.

This time it was a different ending. Again we roared two goals clear but this time there was no chance of letting things slip.

With Eleanor Smith in the kind of mood that nothing was passing her in defence, Isle of Man had no chance. Rumours that at one point the wind stopped trying to pass Smith have yet to be substantiated but she was in a word - immense.

The goals came courtesy of two Borve lassies who live within a mile of one another. Beth Macleod and Mary Macleod netted the goals but this victory was very much a team effort and every member of the WIIGA womens squad will sleep soundly and proudly tonight and with a justified grin on their chops.

In the women’s time trial our girls were again at the forefront and desperately unlucky not to podium as Christina Mackenzie and Kirsty Macphee finished fourth in the team event and marginally missed out on bronze.

Kirsty pedalled home in 12th with Christina in 13th with very little separating the top 15 riders.

Returning to the pool and although they didn’t reach any finals there were new personal bests for Kathryn Offer (200m free); Lucie Doig (50m) breast and Isla Budge also PB’d.

The girls also qualified for the 4x100m relay final where they finished strongly in fourth but just outside the gongs.

Abbie Mackay raced in the women’s 100m semi-final where she got round a windy track in a speedy 13.75 but it wasn’t enough to book a final place.

Next it was the turn of the boys on the bikes and Stuart Ashley and Craig McCulloch rode impressively well in a field of a number of professional riders to cross the chalk in 26th and 37th spot respectively.

Finally, our men’s football team were in action at Dalhem where they met host island Gotland but on the day it all went wrong for our football stars.

A bout of food poisoning kept half of the squad up all night with two of the players, Alexander Macdonald and Angus Macdonald, not allowed in the match day squad by the physios. It was a nightmare preparation for the boys who will not make any excuses about the final result but it was surely a factor.

The game itself began well as the Western Isles dominated Gotland in the early going. The home side led, against the run of play, but it seemed only a matter of time until the Western Isles levelled.

Stewart Munro rattled the post before Micheil Smith cracked the same upright with an effort from wide on the right. Peter Mackenzie forced a save before Rob Jones was denied by a breathtaking flying save by the Gotland keeper.

A series of crosses from each flank bounced marginally too far in front of straining neck muscles and begging foreheads. The second-half was a very different affair as tiredness crept into Hebridean legs which had been drained by the struggles of the night before and the loss of a pair of quick goals shattered them.

In the end they went down 8-0 in a match they dominated for 45-minutes. Striker Luke Mackay also ended up in A&E after a heavy fall knocked his shoulder out of place. The teen popped it back in but was forced to visit the local hospital.

Onwards and upwards the lads will look as they will aim to finish on a high when they meet Froya tomorrow evening.

For now, the gold rush has begun, and with a full card of events tomorrow let’s hope the gongs keep flowing.

Viva Team WIIGA.