Two competitive matches are on the menu for the final day of the indoor season at DISC if earlier games between Watsonians and Clydesdale Western (women), along with Western Wildcats and Inverleith (men), are anything to go by. There is nothing really between the competing teams – that`s what makes it so intriguing.
Before that, we have the matches to grab the last remaining places in next season`s top division – the promotion/relegation play-offs.
Each match is peppered with tension stimulated by the “winner take all” occasion, there is no margin for error, no second chances – each contest has to be decided on the day, perhaps by a shoot-out if necessary.
The carrot for the finalists is this season`s championship title and the single place in Europe next year.
So we approached the coaches of the final teams to find out their take on the occasion.
Watsonians under the coaching aegis of Keith Smith have been impressive this season, a perfect record in their ten games, 74 goals scored and only eleven conceded. Not bad at all – but it could be frustrating to falter at the final hurdle and come away with nothing.
However, this is what Keith had to say. “We`re expecting a tough game – Clydesdale have plenty of talent, and the scorelines in both of the games between us so far have been tight.”
For the record, Watsonians won the first encounter 5-4 although they were never behind after the season`s top scorer Sarah Jamieson put them ahead in only two minutes. The second match was an even closer affair, it was three all until the final minute when Katie Stott snatched the winner.
Then Keith went on: “From our point of view, we`ve played relatively well so far, but with the indoor season so disjointed it`s been hard to build momentum, and we`ve probably not been as consistent, or as ruthless as we would have liked. The last couple of games however felt like a big step forward in those areas, so we`ll be aiming to continue building on that this Sunday.”
With Sarah Jamieson, Emily Dark, Sarah McKay and others in fine scoring form last weekend coach Keith Smith must be confident of a positive outcome on Sunday.
So what did Fiona Semple, Clydesdale`s player/coach have to say to the question – can you win at the third time of asking? Her answer was short and sweet – “yes”.
In some respects Fiona Semple could have a greater influence on the destiny of the game than other coaches – she will actually be on the pitch, and her impact has been substantial so far this season. the former Scotland player has found the net 17 times from both open play and set pieces and has got at least one goal in every game.
But others have also contributed recently including Lucy Williamson, Laura Paul, Kayleigh and Margery Justice, Tamilla Matchett and Millie Steiger.
Once again it is anticipated that this contest between the country`s best female indoor sides will go down to the wire – but which was will the dice fall, that is the question?
And on to the men`s final, again there is little between the teams; Western Wildcats and Inverleith. The former went through the programme of ten matches undefeated scoring 76 goals in the process while Inverleith faltered on a couple of occasions.
But there was not much in the head to heads, Wildcats won the first outing 8-5 but last weekend`s action ended 4-4, the usual suspects Andrew McConnell, Jamie Golden, Rob Harwood and Fraser Moran were on target for Wildcats while Keir Robb got all Inverleith`s goals.
Asked on his take on the final, here is what Vishal Marwaha had to say: “I think we can take confidence from our results and performances going into the final.
“However, it is a one-off game and the most important thing is you perform on the day. We are looking forward to the challenge and hopefully a positive outcome.”
Inverleith made the final through a last gasp spot conversion by Alex Wilson against Grove Menzieshill last Saturday, but this Sunday is another day and the Edinburgh side may well take full advantage of their good fortune at the one-off occasion. And Inverleith do have match winners in their ranks – Keir Robb as already mentioned and captain Kyle Taylor – so anything can happen.
Inverleith coach Stuart Neave was guarded, on Saturday`s final he only said: “We will be giving it everything we can in the final on Sunday.”
And so on to the promotion/relegation contests which features Uddingston, runners-up in the second tier in both the men`s and women`s competition..
Already decided in the men`s is that Clydesdale are relegated and Hillhead have grasped the automatic promotion spot. That leaves seventh placed Dunfermline Carnegie from the top flight to tackle Uddingston from below.
In the women`s second tier Grange and Uddingston both finished on 27 points after their quota of ten games, the former taking the title by the small margin of two goals, leaving the latter in the play-offs. The Lanarkshire side now have to see off an Inverleith side that did manage three victories in the top flight – so this could be an interesting contest.
10am – Mens National League Indoor Promotion/Relegation Match
Dunfermline Carnegie v Uddingston
11.30am – Women’s National League Indoor Promotion/Relegation Match
Inverleith v Uddingston
1pm – Mens Indoor National League Final
Western Wildcats v Inverleith
2.30pm – Women’s Indoor National League Final
Watsonians v Clydesdale Western