Orkney FC: The Scottish team playing two matches at the same time

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March 12, 2020
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    This weekend, Orkney FC face two games on the same day, at the same time. One at home, the other away, with the small matter of the Pentland Firth separating them.

    Think of that next time you complain about your team’s fixture list.

    The North Caledonian League side will face Bunillidh Thistle away from home at 12:30 GMT on Saturday. Then, 15 minutes into that game, another Orkney XI will kick off at home to Bonar Bridge, 165 miles away.

    So how have they ended up in this peculiar position?

    Postponements wreak havoc

    Orkney are currently fifth out of nine teams in the North Caledonian League, sitting 13 points off leaders Invergordon with three games in hand.

    Given they need a ferry to get to many of their away games, the recent storms that have hit the UK have not been kind to their fixture schedule.

    On January 11, they managed to get the boat and bus the 130 miles to Invergordon to face the league leaders, only for the game to be called off.

    A week later, their match with Bunillidh Thistle fell victim to a waterlogged pitch.

    Into February, the problems continued, with a trip to Golspie Sutherland cancelled. When it came to hosting the same team a week later, the Orkney boys went to extra lengths to ensure the game went ahead – even picking their opponents up from the ferry.

    But with the fixture backlog, they now have no choice but to play two games on the same.

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    “Yes, Orkney play two games at Helmsdale and Kirkwall,” explained North Caledonia FA in a tweet to bemused fans. “They’ve had a lot of postponed games so have agreed to play twice.”

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    History makers?

    While not many teams face two league fixtures at the same time, Orkney wouldn’t be the first to pick up two wins on the same day – or even the first from Scotland – should the day go well.

    On 15 April, 1916, Celtic faced two games on the same day against Raith Rovers and Motherwell on their way to winning the league, with World War One disrupting the fixture list.

    They beat Raith Rovers 6-0 at home in a 15:15 kick-off, before racing down to Lanarkshire for a 18:00 start at Motherwell, where they won 3-1.

    Celtic made just one change, Joe Cassidy replacing Joe O’Kane for the second game. Defender “fearless” Joe Dodds lived up to his nickname by not only playing both games, but scoring in each match.

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