Scotland: Last season’s top Premiership sides make a winning start

Not much seems to have changed from last season as the top sides in both the men`s and women`s Premiership started this season`s campaign with a win.

Grange started the defence of their Premiership title with a 3-1 home win over newly promoted Dundee Wanderers. But the match was tied 1-1 at half-time with Grange`s new import from Inverleith Livio Belotti scoring on his debut, but five minutes later Kennedy Gibb replied for the Taysiders.

The Edinburgh side went ahead 2-1 after the interval through Murray Banks and sealed the three points with an overtime penalty corner conversion by Gordon Amour.

Grange coach Stevie Grubb said: “We played well and controlled most of the match, we created several chances including nine penalty corners but only scored from one. To be fair Wanderers came with a game plan and made it difficult for us, in addition their keeper had several good saves.”

Rivals Western Wildcats were also winners on the first day of competition with a 6-2 scoreline at Inverleith. It was very much a Moran occasion, Cammy and Fraser both scored twice while the other goals came from Luc Hermsen and Jack MacKenzie, Charlie Jack got both Inverleith`s goals.

After the match Inverleith captain Kyle Taylor reflected. “Western were very clinical and punished our mistakes. Feel like we caused a lot of problems and is a good building block for us with such a new and young team. Hopefully we can take that into the double header next weekend.”

There weren`t many goals at the Titwood encounter – in fact only a penalty corner strike by Ethan Robertson to give Clydesdale a single goal victory over visitors Uddingston.

Watsonians were also winners on the first day with a 2-1 win over ESM, on target were Andrew Campbell and Dan Coultas while Fraser Sturrock got the only reply.

Newly promoted Grove Menzieshill also made a good start to their campaign in the Premiership by beating Kelburne 4-2 in Dundee. An exchange of penalty corner strikes by Grove Menzieshill`s Chris McFadden and Kelburne`s Martin McIntosh saw the game reach half-time at 1-1.

The catalyst came for the Dundonians in the second half with a double of back post strikes from John Donald. Although Andrew McGrane pulled the Paisley side back to 3-2 the Taysiders were not to be denied as Ross McPherson added a fourth with a deflection.

In the women`s Premiership Wildcats made a solid start to the campaign with a 2-0 win over West District rivals GHK at Auchenhowie. In the second quarter Lucy MacMillan created some space for herself in the circle and sent her shot into the net for the opener. GHK created several chances for themselves in the second half but failed to find the net. But late on a one-to-one with the GHK keeper fell to MacMillan, she passed the ball on to Emma McDiarmid to slot home to seal the three points.

Champions Watsonians managed to negotiate a tricky trip to Titwood to come away with a 2-1 victory in the end. The Edinburgh side took the lead in the second quarter, at a break Ailsa Small sent an early cross into the Clydesdale circle and Sarah Jamieson scored at the back post. And that was it at half-time.

Watsonians` second was a carbon copy of the first except the same players were the other way about. This time Jamieson took a quick restart and went along the base-line, her cross found Small at the back post and she slotted home to double the tally. However, with five minutes Anna Hoolaghan scored a spectacular finish, with the ball behind her back the Clydesdale player contrived to deflect the ball into the net – but it proved only to be a consolation.

After the game Watsonians coach Keith Smith said: “We had a reduced squad for today`s game, so we knew it would be tough but I`m happy we came away with the three points. The first half was scrappy but we were better after the interval and created three or four good chances but didn`t convert.”

Elsewhere Grange set out their stall with a convincing 6-0 win at Inverleith in what was described as a “dominating performance”. The catalyst was Heather Croll, she scored four goals, one from the spot and the others from open play. The others emanated from penalty corner rebounds that were converted by Emily McLean and Kirstie Buchan.

Uddingston travelled the long journey to Aberdeen and came away with a 5-3 win over Gordonians.


by Scotland Hockey

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