The Donella Crawford 6’s is a key fixture for school teams in the shinty calendar each year. Providing a platform for high school girls to come together and take part in some competition, while remembering Donella, who was a huge advocate of the girl’s game.
This year we were lucky enough to have support and assistance from Ballachulish Shinty Club, who kindly agreed to host the event and assist with everything from pitch set up to refereeing.
2019 was a record breaking year for this event with a massive 17 teams entered, equating to 140 participants. This school year (2018-19) more schools have put shinty back on the core PE curriculum, the school of shinty has been established at Kingussie HS and as well as that a number of schools have benefited from ‘Shinty Ambassadors’ who have been delivering girls only sessions, the rise in school shinty players has perhaps been led from these developments.
Before the event began we had a minutes silence to mark the recent passing of John Crawford, Donellas late husband, who always showed a keen interest in the event and enjoyed hearing about how much the female side of the game has been growing.
Teams were then split into 3 groups, fixtures were handed out and we got underway, only a few minutes late, which wasn’t too bad.
In the group stages each team played each other once allowing for the top teams from each league as well as the best overall runner up to progress to the semi-finals. Portree HS, Plockton HS, and Culloden HS topped their respective groups and Lochaber HS came through as the best runner up to progress through to the semi finals
The semi-finals were drawn from a hat and played in unison, 4 minutes each way. The Plockton V Lochaber game was an end to end battle with Plockton scoring the only goal of the game in the first half. Plockton had the better of the chances but Lochaber kept battling until the end but couldn’t pull a goal back to take it to extra time. The Culloden V Portree semi-final was a very close game too, with some fantastic shinty played by both teams. Portree just edged out a win with a goal in each half. Both sets of players kept the enthusiastic supporters entertained.
The final showcased some fantastic shinty. Holly MacLean kept her best performance of the day until the final where she showcased her fantastic dribbling and passing skills to create a number of chances for her team. Plockton never gave up though and it was the Portree keeper who made 2 excellent saves to keep her team from losing a goal. Portree ran out 3-0 winners in the end to take the cup back to the Isle of Skye for the second year in a row.
Donella Crawford’s cousin, Alistair McMillan was on hand to conduct presentations and hand over the medals and the trophy to the winning Portree captain, Christina Macdonald. Alistair also took the time to comment, as did many of the coaches, on the rising standard of girl’s shinty and how it continues to improve each year.
I would like to thank Alistair for agreeing to conduct the presentations on the day as well as the ‘Shinty Ambassadors’, Stuart, Philip, Ronald and Graham for refereeing the event. A huge thank you to Philip MacLean and Ballachulish Shinty Club for hosting the event and the coaches, players and supporters who made it down for an excellent days shinty.