Hockey: Western reach play-offs in spite of defeat

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Milne Craig Western qualified for today’s promotion play-offs despite losing 2-0 to Slavia Praha in the final pool match of the European Club Challenge II in Prague yesterday.

The Scots were outplayed by a vigorous Czech side and failed to take advantage of the few chances they created, slipping to second place in the pool.

Slavia went one up in only four minutes and that was followed by a brilliant double save by Western goalkeeper Amy Gibson to prevent a second goal. It took 24 minutes for Western to have their first chance but Ali Howie’s shot was saved. The first penalty corner only came just before the break but Catriona Ralph’s shot was again blocked by the goalkeeper.

In the second half Holly Cram had two chances to equalise, but on both occasions was crowded out. The Scots were then hit on the break with Helen Walker having no option but to foul the Czech forward and the resulting penalty flew high past Gibson.

Western had clinched their place in the promotion play-offs on Saturday with a six-goal trouncing of Austrian side Maxx Stahl Wels. Anna-Mae Morton opened the scoring before a Holly Cram double made it 3-0 by the interval.

After the break Western killed off the contest with three goals in 15 minutes, Morton notching her second and Gill Green and Cram – sealing her hat-trick – finishing things off.

Grove Menzieshill qualified for the promotion play-offs after a spirited 2-1 win over host side Universitario Catania in their final pool match at the Challenge 1 tournament in Italy. Louise Carroll gave the Taysiders the lead but Catania equalised before the break. The winning goal came seven minutes from the end from Karen Belch. Earlier the Taysiders drew 1-1 with Belgian side Royal Wellington. Ailsa Wyllie scored for Grove but the Belgians equalised through a penalty corner.

Edinburgh University confirmed third place in the Aberdeen Asset Management First Division with a 4-1 win over CALA Edinburgh, Louise Campbell (2), Sarah Robertson and Bethan Mann were on target for the students, while Emma Watson got the consolation for CALA.