West Mainland v East Mainland at Stromness Athletic FC

7pm  18 July 2016

Orkney, Brown Cup at Stromness Athletic FC
West Mainland 1 East Mainland 2 (att 150)

A holiday in Orkney gave me the chance to watch some football, as the islands' league and cup competitions are played during the summer months.

I'd ticked off around half of Orkney's football venues during a previous trip, and some frustrating fixture late changes meant options this time were limited. The Brown Cup was a bonus, I only found out about it when I read the local newspaper, The Orcadian, on the ferry from Caithness.

It's an annual match played between players from the two halves of Orkney, and is part of the yearly Stromness Shopping Week gala. The game is staged at Market Green, home of Orkney League side Stromness Athletic.

As Stromness is in the west of the island, East Mainland must be the only football team to play every match away from home (West only play at home, a distinction they share with some prison-based teams).

Ahead of kick off I wasn't sure how competitive the game would be, but I needn't have worried. Once the Stromness Shopping Week Queen, and her assistants, had been introduced to the players, the game kicked off and was good to watch.

West looked the better side early on, but could only convert one of their chances by half time. East were better after the break, and two goals early in the second half proved decisive.

East won the cup, presented by the Shopping Week Queen, whose glamorous outfit wasn't well-suited to the wet and windy evening. I'd braved the Orkney summer weather - in a waterproof jacket and armed with a sturdy umbrella - but many of the spectators, sensibly, watched the action from the comfort of their cars parked around the pitch.

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