Solway Sharks Juniors finally saw the welcome return of competitive games to Dumfries Ice Bowl last Sunday, after an 18-month absence due to Covid restrictions.
In their first games since March 2020 the U16s team welcomed opposition from Lanarkshire, Belfast and Whitley Bay for the annual Galloway Cup ice hockey tournament. The cup has special significance this year – not only marking the return to play for the youngsters, but named in memory of their coach Craig Jackson who tragically passed away suddenly last year, and who was very much a part of the Solway family.
After a slow start, losing the first game to Lanarkshire by 2 goals, the Solway team soon found their feet and racked up successive victories against Belfast (6-1) and Whitley (7-0) to put themselves in second place after the qualifying stages. A resounding 7 goals to nil win over Belfast in the semi finals saw the Sharks storm into the final, taking on Lanarkshire once again for the trophy.
A hard-fought game resulted, with both teams determined to get their hands on the trophy. The Solway players dug deep, found some reserves of energy in their fifth game of the day, and thanks to goals from Kyle Carruth and Ajay Turner overturned the score in the first game to claim a 2 – 0 victory and the trophy.
The whole team improved their performances as the games progressed over the day, and points were scored over the competition by Bailey Thomson, Kyle Carruth, Gregor Mills, Owen Rae, Ajay Turner, Cassie McGregor and Tomas Vyrostek. There was hard work and determined play undertaken by Abileigh Turner, Travis Carruthers, and Tony Ho, while strong defensive play from Ewan Duignan, William Daley and Taylor Carruth kept the puck at bay. An all-star performance from Sharks netminder Logan Reid saw him achieve shutouts in 3 of 5 games, including the final.
Coach Jamie Thomson said afterwards, “Considering the break these kids have had since their last games they were exceptional today, to be honest I don’t really have words to do them justice. Each player played their part and gave everything they had to make sure they kept the cup at home. I am so proud of every one of them and have no doubt this crop of players will continue to bring success to the ice bowl for years to come”.
As well as netminder Logan Reid, Solway forwards Gregor Mills and Kyle Carruth, along with defenceman Owen Rae, were all named in the tournament All Star Team.
The attached picture shows the victorious Solway Sharks U16 team with the Craig Jackson Memorial Galloway Cup and should be credited to Helen Hobbins Photography.
Solway Sharks are recruiting at all age groups. For details of learn to play ice hockey sessions please contact Dumfries Ice Bowl on 01387 251300.