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Krakens aiming for glorious end to first season as they compete for place in National Bowl final

By Iain Grant

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Caitlin Harvey has recovered from a shoulder injury as Caithness Krakens target a place in the National Bowl final. Picture: James Gunn
Caitlin Harvey has recovered from a shoulder injury as Caithness Krakens target a place in the National Bowl final. Picture: James Gunn

Caithness women take centre stage in the last rugby action of the season at Millbank on Saturday when they will be bidding to claim a place at Murrayfield.

The Cartha Queen's Park second string stand between the Krakens and a glorious climax to their first season with an appearance in the final of the National Bowl.

Mike Flavell's side racked up three wins in their Caley pool games before being awarded a walkover after their fourth scheduled opponents, Peterhead, pulled out.

The coach is in the dark about Cartha, who won their three pool matches after finishing mid-table in the West regional league.

"I'd imagine they'd be quite well drilled," said Flavell. "Their league probably also has a better level of competition but we really don't know much about them."

Unlike many squads that can be depleted by injury at the end of the season, Flavell is in the fortunate position of being able to call on an almost full-strength squad. A notable exception is their experienced captain and number eight Emmie Smith who remains sidelined following a head knock she sustained in the pool match in Dundee.

Though she has passed concussion protocols, the club is being ultra-cautious about her welfare, given it is not her first such impact this season.

Free-running full-back Caitlin Harvey has recovered from a shoulder injury she picked up in the away win over Aberdeenshire Quines.

A chronic shoulder complaint continues to plague centre Shannon Pasotti but she is in the squad and likely to be used as an impact replacement.

Young centre Ellie Anderson is also set to return after suffering a rib knock in the Krakens' runaway pool win over Fraserburgh.

Flanker Donna Edwards has returned to action after being laid low by Covid, while the Krakens have welcomed back Katie Mackay, a former Scottish under-19, who has got the boots on again after a long spell out. The Wick-based stand-off/centre is also likely to make an appearance off the bench.

Flavell said his side will look to impose their normal game plan against their Glasgow visitors.

"We'll be concentrating on playing our own game," he said. "We'll be looking to our forwards to generate some go-forward and then want to move the ball wide where we have some firepower."

The coach is hoping for a decent-sized crowd at the game, which kicks off at 1pm.

The other semi on Sunday sees Kirkcaldy taking on Greenock Wanderers.

Orkney clinched the men's Caledonian League 1 in style on Saturday. They ran in eight tries in their 50-7 victory away to Aberdeen Wanderers.

That puts them five points clear of Dunfermline, who have completed their programme.

Ellon's 32-25 home win over Hillfoots keeps alive their bid to finish third.

The north-east side now need nine points from their three remaining matches to overhaul Caithness.

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