This weekend the men`s Premiership has a full card, with only a single game in the women`s top division.
In the only one match in the women`s card, GHK welcome bottom side Gordonians and will aim to pick up their second victory of the season if current form is anything to go by.
After their 4-0 win over St Andrews University last weekend GHK moved up to seventh in the table, a win on Saturday would confirm that new position but they are still too far behind to move up into the top six. However, Fiona Semple`s charges have not really had a clear run at this season`s competition with postponements, they are a couple of games behind most teams so it`s now time to catch up.
Grange are the only unbeaten side in the men’s competition, they sit on 21 points after seven games.
The chasing pack of Edinburgh University and Western Wildcats lie six points adrift, although both do have a game in hand.
Last Friday`s six goal win against Inverleith saw the Premiership holders begin to convert more of their chances in front of goal – perhaps not perfection but certainly more clinical. And ex-Edinburgh University`s Robbie Croll is emerging as a keen striker with six goals in the last three games from both penalty corners and open play.
It is a big target for Saturday`s opposition ESM if are going to put a dent in Grange`s bandwagon.
So what about the chasing pack?
Edinburgh University coach Hamish Imrie will have to pick up his squad after their defeat at the hands of Watsonians, and the first opportunity is at home to Clydesdale on Saturday. Having managed almost six goals a game prior to last weekend Imrie`s charges only managed a Keir Robb strike against Watsonians – they will hope that Clydesdale will feel the backlash.
FSEG Clydesdale have been going through a sticky patch of late, not helped by a couple of postponements. Since their defeat by Kelburne at the end of September the Titwood side have drawn with Inverleith and went down 4-1 to Western, but they are still in the top six having played a couple of game less – so all to play for against the Edinburgh students.
Third placed Western are back on track with three straight victories and coach Steven Percy will be hoping to extend that winning sequence at home to Watsonians. That might not be so easy as the Edinburgh side are on their own mini winning run and it was penalty corner expert Dan Coultas that destroyed the Edinburgh students last weekend. So we could be in for an interesting encounter.
Talking of winning sequences, what about Hillhead who had a poorish start to the season but have seen off Grove Menzieshill, Kelburne and Watsonians in their last three outings.
So we asked Hillhead coach Yan Adams for the secret. “To give you a direct answer, I would say that for one, our backline is a lot more settled, with Jed Lennox (from the 2s) and David Gay (returned from overseas) both fully integrated and sure of their role within the team.
“At the other end, we have crucially given ourselves two-goal leads to defend in all of the last three games, going 3-1 up in each. Graeme Campbell`s return has added some composure there.”
On sustaining this improvement, Yan stated: “In terms of sustaining this improved form, we`ll obviously just be happy with a solid performance against Western – with their talent they would expect to win comfortably.
“Inverleith will be the real test though, and we are still a win short of where we wanted to be at this point of the season.”
However, Inverleith are the Premiership`s draw experts – three out of seven games – and they would undoubtedly would have been further up the table if these draws had been converted into wins. And this might not take much to achieve!
Uddingston have dropped out of the top six after two recent defeats but have the chance to reverse that trend against bottom side Kelburne at Glasgow Green, but that might not be so easy either as Paisley coach Chris Caldwell will see this match as a chance to get off the bottom rung – so this might be a tight contest.
And finally, there is the Dundee derby as Grove Menzieshill entertain Wanderers. Once this was a Titanic struggle for top places, but both sides have just rejoined the Premiership and are finding their sea legs
Who knows how this will pan out – but you can be sure it will be competitive. Of the two, Grove Menzieshill have a slightly better record by two additional draws.
THURSDAY EVENING GAME – HILLHEAD 3 WESTERN WILDCATS 5
Although Hillhead coach Yan Adams seemed resigned to ending the winning streak he asked his players to put in a “solid performance” against Western – and that they did.
Western`s victory slipped them up to second in the Premiership ahead of Edinburgh University but with a game more played. The reversal did not alter Hillhead`s fifth position… so now Yan can look forward to Saturday`s clash at Inverleith with confidence.
Matt Carder pounced on an early mistake to smash the ball into the roof of the net to put Hillhead in front but a penalty corner conversion from Iain McFadden levelled. But by the interval the Wildcats had clawed their way to a 3-1 advantage with strikes from Nikki Homfray and Rob Harwood.
The second half finished 2-2, Fraser Ward with a reverse stick shot followed by a chip over the keeper by Ruari Thomson scored for Hillhead only to be countered by goals from Euan Cowan and Callum Duke. However, the outcome was perhaps closer than the score suggested, at 4-3 in the final quarter Hillhead pressed for the equaliser and Western`s fifth only came with the final touch of the game to seal the points.