Clydesdale Western 1s are a win away from qualifying for European hockey next season after coming from a goal down to take a point at home to Edinburgh University 1s in a gripping contest in the Women’s Premiership on Tuesday evening.
In a game that produced fantastic hockey from both sides, it was Uni who took the lead in the first half with a well taken goal. But ‘Dale Western hit back in the second half when Fiona Semple tapped in at the back post. Further chances came at both ends, with the L1s coming closest after a short corner opportunity hit the post in the final knockings. But in the end, Clydesdale Western and Edinburgh Uni had to settle for a point each. The student side needed to win to clinch the final European hockey spot, whilst a win would have done the same for the Titwood girls. A draw means Derek Forsyth’s side must win their final game of the season away to GHK whereas Uni have completed their league campaign so will be hoping for an L1s slip up.
Going into Tuesday night’s clash, Forsyth named the same squad as that who faced Watsonians 1s the previous Thursday apart from the unavailable Anna Logan. Sustained pressure from the visiting side resulted in an opening goal when a forward briefly escaped the attention of a ‘Dale Western defender to impressively deflect into the side of the net. The home side responded well and created a couple of chances with perhaps their best one coming from Emma McGregor skilful lifts that led to snapshot that went inches wide.
Into the second half and the pattern of play was effectively set. Clydesdale Western had to take the risk going forward to force an equaliser and leave defensive areas sparse against a confidence growing counter tactic by a speedy Edinburgh University. Thankfully for Forsyth’s team, the risk paid off. McGregor’s skills and composure on the right-hand baseline was key to setting up Semple for the easiest of tap ins. Both goalkeepers were then called into action. Iona Colquhoun – given a first league outing for the L1s – was forced to produce some strong saves from penalty corner chances for Uni.
And towards the end, the Titwood girls nearly took all three points from a penalty corner of their own. Frances Lonergan’s initial blocked shot fell to Millie Steiger whose own shot took a deflection before crashing the post with goalkeeper and defence beaten. Thankfully for Clydesdale Western, the miss had no bearing on the final outcome of the match which now means a win against GHK is enough to claim second spot in the Women’s Premiership table for the 2021-22 season.
Clydesdale 1s hopes of finishing fourth in the Men’s Premiership table will go to the wire after a 4-0 loss to Edinburgh University 1s at Peffermill on Wednesday evening.
Two goals in each half gave the student side all three points against a Clydesdale side who were missing a few personnel including captain Andrew Allan. Ciaran Crawford’s side must avoid defeat against Watsonians 1s on Saturday to record their highest league finish in over ten years.
As well as Allan, Jack McKenzie was also a notable absentee to a 16-man squad travelling to the capital. The first quarter passed by without notable moments but the second quarter was when Edinburgh Uni broke the deadlock. A short corner was deflected into the goal and one became two when a hit to the back post was touched in by a forward.
The second half saw the Titwood boys look to respond quickly but their best opportunities came and went from penalty corners. The student side took advantage of those misses to score two set pieces of their own in each of the second half quarters to complete a clinical victory.
Clydesdale 1s complete their league season with a showdown for fourth place in the Men’s Premiership at home to Watsonians 1s from 11.30am
The Titwood boys need to avoid defeat to record their highest finish in the league for over ten years. The previous meetings between the two sides have seen both teams record away wins. Watsonians won 2-1 at Titwood before the indoor break last year, but the M1s gained a form of revenge with a 3-0 win in the second half of the outdoor season.
Head Coach Ciaran Crawford – completing his first full season in charge of ‘Dale – is likely to welcome skipper Andrew Allan back to the side, whilst Scotland youngster Johnny Bradley is hopeful to make a return to the M1s side after being unavailable for Wednesday night’s game against Edinburgh Uni.
Four more Clydesdale & Clydesdale Western games take place including the M2s who could have a say in the destination of the Men’s Regional Division title.
Stuart Banford’s side clinched fourth in the Regional Division following their 4-1 win over Watsonians 2s last Sunday. The M2s are away to league leaders Edinburgh University 2s from 2.30pm in their final game of the season. A win for the student side will clinch the league title. Anything less could open the door for either Grange 2s or Western Wildcats 2s who also play each other on the same day.
The L2s also play their final game of the league season at Hutchesons Grammar School (HGS). Donald Amour’s side host Edinburgh University 3s at 1.30pm. And in Men’s West District Division Three, the M5s and M5s Development are both away in 2.00pm pushbacks. The M5s travel to Ayr to take on Ayr 2s whilst the M5s Development are at Millerston against Stepps 2s.
Photo credit: Rob Lindblade