Dundee Wanderers two wins away from hockey title

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Dundee Wanderers are on the verge of claiming the women’s indoor Division 1 title for a second time, with only an outbreak of stage fright in the final three games at Forthbank tomorrow possibly stifling the celebrations.

Wanderers lead city rivals Grove Menzieshill by five points, so only need to take the six points from the fixtures against Kelburne and Cala Edinburgh to take the crown.

“We have worked hard to gain our points advantage, so it’s great to go into the last weekend with perhaps less pressure on us than the other teams, but our aim is still to win all three games,” said Carmin Dow, Wanderers’ international goalkeeper.

“I’m confident we will beat Kelburne in the first game; Cala have had a good season but I’m sure we can win if we put everything into this game. Then we can relax and enjoy our final confrontation with Grove knowing we already have the league in the bag.”

Dow sees finishing the league campaign with a perfect record as a bonus, but form would suggest that is the most likely outcome. In the first half of the season Wanderers whipped Kelburne 9-0, then Cala fell 10-1, and finally Grove were humbled 8-3.

Although Dow emphasised that teamwork has been the key, the influence of Scotland and GB player Vikki Bunce has been pivotal. She has not only dictated the flow of play but has scored in every game, with a total of 37 strikes in 11 outings so far. But Bunce’s expertise also extends to her coaching skills, which have transformed the squad and also brought on teenagers like Jessica Ross, 16, and Charlotte Watson, 14.

“Having Vikki back in the team and playing regularly makes a huge difference, she gives the team strength and confidence, she drives play forward and can always be counted on for a goal or three,” said Dow.

Despite being deducted two points for infringing the umpiring regulations, Cala Edinburgh are in third spot with a place in the European play-offs secured. Cala may find Wanderers a bridge too far, but they should see off bottom side Granite City Wanderers with ease, and may still need to do the double over Milne Craig Western in their final game to maintain their status.

Perhaps the pinnacle of this season’s renaissance was the 7-4 victory over Western in Dec-ember. There was a hat-trick for Angie Davie and two for Amy Brodie while Amy-Jane Russell and Amber McNeill got the others.

At the other end of the table Inverleith look to be heading for the drop. They are unlikely to take anything from their opening fixture against second-placed Grove, so three points against Wildcats is the only realistic relegation life-line.