Skye are Mowi Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup Champions again

After the curtain was well and truly raised by the Mowi Challenge Cup it was time for the main event to get underway, the Mowi Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup Final. Holders and league leaders Badenoch had been eliminated by Skye in the Semi-Finals and so there was a real sense of anticipation and wonder as to who would be the winners this year. Skye and GMA both sat on 17 points coming into the match and the 2-2 draw between the sides earlier in the campaign only served to underline the fact that we were in for a close encounter.

It didn’t take long for Skye to take control of the match as just two minutes after Deek Cameron threw the ball into the air, they won a free hit just inside their own half, Caitlin MacLean floated the ball in towards the forward line where it was snapped up by Sarah Yoxon, her reverse pass found Abbie MacLean with her back to goal – a swivel, a shot and it was 1-0 to the islanders inside the opening 3 minutes.

Any fears that Skye might run away with the game were quelled as GMA grew into the first half, however, it was the islanders who continued to fashion chances with their centre line controlling the game really well and the forwards having some flashes of good link up play. One such moment came midway through the 1st half as MacLean worked the ball into Rhianna Kirk, her low drive saved well by Dan Oberholzer, just seconds later and Yoxon had a crack from the edge of the D which was once again expertly dealt with by the GMA keeper, an impressive double save that kept Skye at bay.

However, that was short lived, as Skye hit GMA on the counter 10 minutes later Teri MacLeod found Yoxon, her knock on reached Kirk who went round her marker and selflessly slipped the ball through to Abbi MacLean who took the ball one step into the D and nestled a shot into the net. The sides went into the break at 2-0 with Skye looking good value to kick on in the second period.

It was the islanders who started the brighter, 12 minutes in Kirk picked up the ball from MacLean 18 yards out and cracked a shot just wide of Oberholzer’s left hand post. A minute later and she was brough into action as Yoxon fired a low shot at the keeper after a nicely worked free hit – however, again Oberholzer was equal to it and made a smart stop with her feet before turning the ball behind for a corner.

The Skye pressure would eventually pay dividends though with Caitlin MacLean scoring from just inside the GMA half, her long and high strike would deceive both defender and keeper and skip in to make it 3-0 with 20 minutes left to play. To GMA’s credit they never gave up and continued trying to fashion chances but ultimately it was Skye’s day, Deek Cameron brought the game to a close leaving Captain Rhianna Kirk to collect the Mowi Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup from sponsor representative Jayne MacKay. The Player of the Match award went to Caitlin MacLean who had an exceptional game from start to finish, controlling the Skye attacks and creating chances at will.