Hockey: Watsonians promoted as GHK appeal denied

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THE four-week saga over the destiny of the Aberdeen Asset Management Women’s Second Division title and automatic promotion to the top flight next season has finally been settled in favour of Watsonians.

The Edinburgh side ended four points ahead of nearest rivals GHK after the latter’s appeal against a three point deduction was upheld by an independent Appeals Panel at a hearing on 23 May.

Having drawn 3-3 in the head-to-head with Watsonians in the second last game of the season, GHK were only a point behind with a game in hand, and that was against middle of the table Granite City Wanderers. With the title in their sights, the Glasgow club failed to fulfil the scheduled fixture with Granite City on 28 April and were subject to a deduction of three points, a fine of £75, and Granite City Wanderers were awarded a 5-0 win.

GHK submitted an immediate appeal on 9 May and the final destiny of the championship went into limbo. On 23 May, almost four weeks after the original fixture, the Appeals Panel finally upheld the decision of the Competitions Manager. The result is that GHK remain second in the table and today will play a promotion play-off match with Giffnock, the team that finished second bottom of the first division. Traditionally the team from the top division tends to win this sort of contest, but Giffnock have had a poor run of form, failing to win a league encounter in the second half of the season.

While both Watsonians and Giffnock are the innocent by-standers in this drawn-out affair, the impact on GHK has been devastating.

GHK president Alison Weatherhead said: “We don’t understand the decision and are extremely disappointed by it. We believe volunteers have been harshly punished for not sending an email to the SHU informing them of the date of a fixture. We consider the penalty imposed on a team of mainly schoolgirls who have worked hard to try and win the league is disproportionate.”