INVERLEITH coach Stuart Neave shrugged off the disappointment of losing the domestic indoor crown to arch rivals Grove Menzieshill and said: “Our focus is on Europe.”
Neave must now lift his dejected squad who carry Scotland’s hopes in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy at Edinburgh’s Napier University from February 17-19.
Grove, dethroned by Edinburgh-based Inverleith last season, reclaimed the crown despite a 6-4 defeat in the final game to the Edinburgh club. A 13-1 win over second- bottom Clydesdale earlier on Saturday had put them ahead of Inverleith on goal difference.
Bruce Cuthill’s men ended with 39 points as did Inverleith, but the Edinburgh side had to accept second best on goal difference, falling two goals short.
Coach Cuthill said: “We produced our worst performance of the season against Inverleith in our final game. They (Inverleith) played well, but the loss of a player through a red card proved difficult for them.”
Rising star Callum Duke was thrown out for two yellow cards and Cuthill added: “They had to play a man short for a lengthy period and we may not have been able to handle them if they had had a full team the way they were playing. Winning the title in seven of the last eight seasons is pleasing and the guys did well over the whole campaign.”
Grove have led the title race since the first day of the competition in early December having edged Inverleith 2-1.
And the Tayside team went into the final round of matches three points ahead of Inverleith who were minus Scottish international goalkeeper Allan Dick and crocked midfield star Chris Grassick.
Inverleith’s narrow 4-3 victory over Grange, coached by former Grove player, David Knipe, was a massive blow to the holders. Grange finished third in the tournament with 24 points, but the result meant Inverleith had to beat Grove by more than four goals in the final game.
CALA Edinburgh finished bottom but earned their first win thanks to a 5-1 victory over Glasgow-based Western.