St Andrews 1st XI  dominate Edinburgh 2nds in first home game of the season

ST ANDREWS 1STS    3

EDINBURGH 2NDS   1

By Victoria Hirst

Following PROMOTION TO the BUCS 1A Scottish Conference last season, Wednesday matches for the Women’s Hockey 1st XI are expected to be consistently tough this season and this match was no exception. The team gave their all from start to finish and eventually came out with a brilliant home win.

St Andrews made a fantastic start to the match. After having most of the early possession, the home side was awarded a short corner. Jenny Collins scored with a deflection near the penalty spot off Claire Bartholomew’s straight strike.

This only increased Edinburgh’s already gritty determination and throughout the game the midfield had to dig deep during counter attacks to get back and defend; it was end to end stuff.

Edinburgh are notoriously good opposition and they hassled the Saints as soon as the home side had possession and were quick to put in hard tackles. The  St Andrews girls quickly realised the need for quick releases and sharp vision and really rose to the challenge.

Edinburgh had their fair share of chances throughout the game, particularly from several short corners, but the home defence stood strong with inspirational keeping from Melissa Charlton. Claire Bartholomew had a strong performance at the back and put in some crucial tackles and Clara McGhee’s drives up the pitch from centre-defence led to more chances on goal.

After a burst up the right wing and an attempt on goal from the Edinburgh side, St Andrews were awarded a hit out and capitalised on the first goal with some quick passing up the left and a through ball from Heather Elder to Becky Bottle. With no more defenders before the goalkeeper, Bottle remained calm and casually put the ball away into the bottom left corner of the goal before the half time whistle blew.

After some wise words from captain Heather Tait at half time, and a warning from the officials to both teams about some questionable stick tackles, St Andrews tried to increase the pace of the game in the second half and focused on short, accurate passing.

Edinburgh came out strong and put Saints under sustained pressure, resulting in a deserved goal for the opposition ten minutes into the second half.

Keen to avoid a draw, St Andrews stuck to their positive tactics and continued to attack. Lily Hayes in particular showed great speed up the right wing, winning lots of fifty-fifty chances, and put some excellent balls into the D for the strikers.

The efforts paid off, and Saints managed to pick up a final goal towards the end of the match. When the Edinburgh goalkeeper mis-timed a kick to her player on the right, Heather Elder was on the prowl to put the third goal cheekily into the bottom right corner.

Heather Elder cheekily made the most of a goalkeeping error to grab the third and effectively seal the match for the home side.

This was the 1st XI’s first home game of the season and the team couldn’t have asked for a better start. Everyone worked hard and  the fact that two of the goalscorers are  amongst the club’s new intake of Freshers bodes well for the future of the team.

With performances of this quality the Saints can certainly look forward to an exciting year in the top division of Scottish hockey and with a game against Edinburgh 1st XI coming up, this result has given the girls a real confidence boost to get another win over the Burgh.

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