St Andrews 2nds          3

Abertay 1sts                  2

Wednesday’s match was the game the girls had been waiting for. Having lost 3-1 in an away game to Abertay at the start of the season, everyone was excited for the rematch on St Andrews’ home turf.

Tensions were definitely high as the team began to warm up for the match they knew could lead to promotion. When the first whistle was blown and the game began it was clear the girls were nervous, yet everyone was determined to win. Luckily there was a large crowd on the sideline cheering the team on.

Unfortunately there was an early setback for the home side, with Abertay getting a goal from a short corner within the first five
minutes.

This was definitely not going to deter the girls from coming back with fighting spirit and they managed to keep ninety percent of the possession from that moment on. The team was very unlucky not to score in the first half despite some great strikes on goal, but the Abertay goalkeeper was playing brilliantly.

When the half time whistle was blown, the girls went into their team chat knowing they could beat their opponents. With some great advice from coach Pete Stebbing, we went back onto the pitch with a newfound enthusiasm to win.

The first five minutes of the second half featured some of the best hockey the girls have played, scoring two back-to-back goals
from textbook plays up the pitch.

The first goal came from the defence with Brigid McCormack passing up the line to Eilidh Stewart, who played a beautiful cross into the attacking circle, where Natalie Binnie was waiting to deflect the ball into the goal.

As soon as Abertay started the game again, Saints were feeling confident and a quick tackle put them back in possession. Catriona
Bennett drove the ball up the right, and crossed it into the circle, where once again Natalie Binnie was waiting to finish the ball into the back of the net.

Getting two goals in such quick succession gave the girls a whole new lease of life, and suddenly they were attacking with a new
found energy and enthusiasm.

The hosts managed to keep the lead for about fifteen minutes of tense play back and forth, before Abertay managed to get a goal on a lucky break, taking the score to 2-2.

The realisation hit the Saints players that there was not long left and another goal was needed to keep hopes of promotion alive.

With only five minutes to go Catriona Bennett ran the ball to the baseline and passed it back to Natalie Binnie on the penalty spot,
who calmly put the ball past the goalie.

With five minutes to go and Saints 3-2 up, the game got rather frantic. Abertay had an extremely nerve-racking short corner in the
final few minutes which was expertly saved by Lizzy Walker.

On the final whistle a foot in Saints’ attacking circle meant the game ended on a short corner to them. In the knowledge that they had won the game, the girls took the short corner but it was put over the back line. Fortunately that did not affect the game’s outcome.

As the realisation that they had won sunk in the girls felt an overwhelming sense of relief and the celebrations began.

The game was extremely intense but also exciting, and the spectators really helped to keep the players’ spirits high and kept them
going.

With a hat-trick from Natalie Binnie and incredible saves from Lizzy Walker, they received joint man of the match.

The 2nd XI will now hopefully be promoted depending on next Wednesday’s game between Napier and Abertay. Unless Napier win by over 10 – 0, St Andrews 2nds will finish top of the BUCS Scottish 4A league, an incredible achievement for the whole team.

All of the girls played brilliantly and could not have been asked to put any more effort in. The celebrations that followed were
thoroughly deserved.

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