Big drama at the Grand Finals

07 May 2017

Bromac Kelburne men and Edinburgh University women claimed the top European spots while Grange women and Inverleith men gained promotion at the Grand Finals at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre in Glasgow.

Kelburne m Grand Finals

Bromac Kelburne 3-3 (2-1) Grange

Kelburne sealed a place in the EHL next season after a dramatic 3-3 draw which saw them once again defeat Grange 2-1 in running penalties.

Grange lead for much of the second half after initially falling behind, however the league champions once again emerged on top.

Kelburne started strongly, with Lee Morton sending them into a 1-0 lead early in the game. The danger man picked up the ball outside the area, dribbled inside, and finished off a fantastic move with a magnificent goal.

Unwilling to succumb to defeat against their rivals so easily though, Grange soon struck back. Luke Cranney had the ball out on the left, and passed it to Calum Milne.

Milne slotted the ball to John McCluskey, who quickly passed it back to him. Milne then rocketed the ball into the net, sealing off a fantastic move and levelling the game with just under 20 minutes played.

The goal buoyed Grange, and shortly afterwards Dom Wild sent them into a 2-1 lead with a goal from a penalty corner.

Shocked at falling behind, Kelburne searched for an equaliser. Johnny Christie missed a guilt-edged chance to level up the game, however immediately made up for his error by then scoring to make it 2-2.

With both sides producing some excellent hockey in what was an intense tie, tempers began to flare and the game became increasingly feisty.

Always a threat, Lee Morton dribbled into the box, and felt he had a claim for being fouled when he tumbled over the keeper. Shortly before half-time it was Grange’s turn to be aggrieved, as they were denied what looked a likely foul near their own box.

Not too long after the second half began, Grange once again turned the game on its head as Joe Waterstone took advantage of Calum Milne’s spilled effort, making it 3-2.

Once again the league and cup winners found themselves in search of an equaliser. Lee Morton found his way through again, yet his effort went over the bar. Christie looked to add to his goals tally, but was unsuccessful in doing so.

As the second half progressed, Grange seemed to become more and more comfortable with their lead. They were successfully limiting Kelburne’s number of chances in front of goal, and doing a good job at isolating Lee Morton.

With just minutes remaining, Grange’s Frank Ryan was given a yellow card. Kelburne used this to push forward, and forced their opponents to defend incredibly deep.

Moments after coming close from a penalty corner, Josh Cairns levelled an already intense game at 3-3, ensure it would go to a shootout.

Both sides were unable to convert their first running penalties, before Craig Morton then sent Kelburne into the lead. Young James Nairn then equalised for Grange, as it began to look like the shootout was going to be as tight as the main contest.

Lee Morton once again showed his class as he sent his side back into the lead, and Kelburne were handed a massive advantage when Todd Mills missed for Grange.

It was to be heartbreak for Grange, as they never quite recovered from their deficit. Cameron Fraser missed their final penalty, and once again Kelburne managed to emerge on top after a superb contest.

Edin Uni Grand Finals w

European University 5-1 Milne Craig Clydesdale Western

Edinburgh University put in a top-class performance to beat rivals Milne Craig Clydesdale Western and claim the top European spot for next season.

The game got off to a rip-roaring start with an early goal for Edinburgh University. Sarah Robertson absolutely hammered the ball against the backboard in the second phase of a penalty corner to make it 1-0.

The students had hardly caught their breath before Heather Howie fired it into the D and Lucy Lanigan deflected the ball into the net for a quick-fire equaliser.

Edinburgh University didn’t have to wait long before regaining their lead. Susan Graham was fouled in the D and Becky Dru dispatched the resulting penalty stroke into the right corner of the net. 2-1.

Ali Howie then converted for Clydesdale from a scramble but it was chopped off for striking her knee on the way in.

The students put some daylight between the teams with just over five minutes remaining of the first half. Maisie Morris went charging into the D, the ball eventually found its way to Kirsten Peters arriving at the far post to tap home. 3-1.

Clydesdale nearly pulled one back right away when Lanigan threw herself at a ball zipped across goal, but she couldn’t connect her stick to score.

Into the second half and Edinburgh University began to show their true quality. In the first five minutes of the second half they scored two goals to put the game to bed.

Amy Brodie made it 4-1 when she got on the end of a cross from the right after some excellent play by Laura Swanson, and scored through a reverse stick tap in.

Moments later and Zara Malseed made it 5-1. She picked up the ball in the circle, went past a Clydesdale defender, and smashed the ball into the net.

Clydesdale valiantly battled back into the game and created some good opportunities for goals. Heather Lang and both of the Howie sisters had chances but found Susan Al Haddad on top form in the Edinburgh University goal.

Edinburgh Uni’s Louise Campbell’s lightning pace on the break was a continual threat as Clydesdale continued to press, and it was on one of the these breaks that Campbell set up Zara Malseed at the top of the D, but her effort zipped wide of the target.

In the end it was a comfortable win for Edinburgh University, claiming the European top spot for next season.

 

Inverleith m celebrate

Inverleith 2-2 (2-1) Watsonians

Inverleith men secured promotion to the top fight after a dramatic 2-1 penalty shootout win against Watsonians.

The game finished 2-2 in normal time, with the winners managing an impressive comeback against their opponents after falling 2-0 behind in the first half.

Watsonians made a confident start to the game, and it paid off when they took the lead after just five minutes. Michael Madison was the scorer, capitalising on a rebound after a penalty corner.

While Inverleith occasionally threatened on the counter, the goal had clearly put Watsonians into the ascendancy, and they pushed for a second.

As half-time approached Watsonians took advantage from a penalty corner again, with Fraser Sands doubling their lead and making it 2-0.

The game seemed to be turning into a disaster for Inverleith. Moments after conceding their second, Rory MacDougall was given a green card, and their opponents found themselves with another penalty corner.

Watsonians tried the same routine again which brought them their second goal. While they failed to score, they headed into half-time after an incredibly strong performance, and knowing that a third goal in the second half would potentially kill of all hopes of a comeback from their opponents.

The interval rejuvenated Inverleith though, and they came out much stronger in the second half.

They missed a penalty corner early on, and afterwards no one was able to capitalise on Derek Salmond’s excellent through ball.

Nevertheless, a goal soon came, as Magnus Ferrier made it 2-1 and brought his side right back into the game.

Inverleith then pushed for an equaliser. Derek Salmond’s strike from distance spilled through and hit the post, however no one was able to take advantage and poke it into the net.

While they had been in a defensive mode for much of the second half, Watsonians again started to find their way back into the game, with some attacks of their own.

It was ultimately to be the side seeking promotion who found the equaliser. Ewen Mackie picked up the ball outside the box, and dribbled into it impressively. His effort then found its way into the net with just minutes of normal play remaining, and the game was level.

Another Inverleith player may have secured a final touch before the goal was scored, but Inverleith were unconcerned by that, and simply delighted to be back in the match.

They world then secure a decisive win in the shootout. Ferrier’s impressive effort sent them into the lead, and Watsonians were unable to recover despite Tom Swarbick scoring for them, with Salmond scoring a second for Inverleith and ensuring their promotion back to National League One.

 

Grange EL 1-1 (1-0) ESM

Grange EL won promotion to women’s National League 1 after a dramatic running penalties victory over Erskine Stewart’s Melville FP.

A tentative opening to the match with ESM perhaps edging the early play in the early morning sun at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre. An early scramble in the Grange D saw goalkeeper Chantal Guillot kick the ball into the air and pad over the bar under pressure.

Grange came close to opening the scoring when Beth Dodds had a shot blocked from a penalty corner.

The opening goal came soon after. ESM’s Tutu Osifodunrin went on a tremendous solo run from the half way line and fired the ball across the goalkeeper into the far corner to make it 1-0.

Grange were right back in it through a goal by Emma Helm. The found its way to Helm at the top of the D and she slammed the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

Grange Captain Dodds went on a solo run but shot wide of the left post in a great individual effort. Then Sophie Harris shot wide for Grange from an improvised penalty corner routine with just the goalkeeper to beat.

ESM were piling on the pressure and were awarded a penalty corner early in the second half amid claims for a stroke, but it was defended well.

Then a scramble in the ESM D saw Grange press for the lead but Lee Macnamara couldn’t force the ball over the line.

Up the other end of the pitch and Gemma Maxwell unleashed an effort in the Grange D but was denied by a great save and the danger was cleared.

The match raged from end-to-end with both sides looking to take the advantage. In the end it took running penalties to separate the sides.

Both goalkeepers were on top form throughout the shootout with the first four efforts from both sides resulting in no goals. For Grange’s fifth running penalty Krista Hopkinson was quick into the D and slipped the ball low against the backboard.

The goal meant Clare Andrews had the pressure of needing to score to keep her team in the league. Chantal Guillot was the hero for Grange, saving to secure promotion for Grange in the shootout.

Photos by Mark Pugh and Andy Lovat

Words by Justin Bowie

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