Kinlochshiel Ladies won the MOWI Challenge Cup on September 3rd 2022 at The Eilan, Newtonmore by defeating Lovat Ladies 4-0.

Fears of thunderstorms were greatly exaggerated much to the relief of everyone in attendance at The Eilan for the MOWI Women’s Cup Final Day. In the early evening Badenoch Ladies were to face off against holders Skye Ladies for the MOWI Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup, but, the first order of the day was to determine the fate of the MOWI Challenge Cup Final.

Joint record all-time winners Lovat were to face Kinlochshiel who were appearing in their first major final, that didn’t tell the full story of the clash though – Shiel were in the midst of a great season, one which saw them in 2nd place in MOWI North Division 2 ahead of throw-up, some three places ahead of their opponents.

The opening period of the game was a pretty tense affair with neither side showing the cutting edge required to break into the lead. That was until Beth Murphy hit a lovely ball from the centre in behind the Lovat backline, allowing Lorna MacRae to slip the ball beyond Carrie Rennie in the Lovat nets to give Shiel the lead.

One was soon two as Ellie MacLean pushed a ball up the wing which was intelligently dummied by Lexi MacKenzie, Lorna MacRae outstrengthened her marker and left Rennie with no chance as she rifiled a shot high into the net for two nil.

It could’ve been more than two at half-time if truth be told but Lovat held resolute – Carrie Rennie making a number of good stops throughout the first half to keep the Kiltarlity side in touching distance.

The second half began with the intensity you would expect from a cup final and it wasn’t too long before Lorna MacRae bagged her hat-trick. Again Lexi MacKenzie was heavily involved, this time drilling it into MacRae who flicked the ball beyond her marker and cracked a wicked half-volley beyond the keeper.

Lovat continued to battle away defensively and despite not making too many chances themselves were able to keep Shiel at arms length for a period of time – aided by Rennie in nets who continued to have a great game. Lexi MacKenzie had other ideas though, not satisfied with an assist, she got herself a goal – slipping the ball beyond Rennie after a smart block by MacRae saw the ball run through to her.

With around half the second period still to play there were some fears that the floodgates may open but credit to Lovat who dug in and despite the scoreline gave a great account of themselves for the rest of the match, managing to limit Kinlochshiel to half chances mostly, with any real danger being dealt with expertly by Rennie.

With that the game was brought to a close and Kinlochshiel were crowned MOWI Challenge Cup Champions at the first time of asking, Captain Maree MacKenzie lifting the trophy high above her head in victory. The Woman of the Match award was given to Lovat keeper Carrie Rennie for a fantastic display that ensured her team were not humbled.

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