Hockey: Cup joy for Western and Menzieshill

Grove's Paul Martin drives forward. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Grove's Paul Martin drives forward. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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EDINBURGH University were on the verge of claiming their first piece of silverware but finally succumbed 5-4 to an experienced and very determined Milne Craig Western in the final of the women’s Arthur McKay Scottish Cup at Peffermill.

In contrast, the men’s competition did provide a shock with underdogs Grove Menzieshill seeing off holders Glynhill Kelburne 4-3.

Under the coaching of Sam Judge, Edinburgh Uni finished a very creditable third in the league but the students just could not put the icing on the cake by seeing off Western in a entertaining contest.

Western went ahead midway through the first half when Nicola Skrastin’s strike ended in a bizarre own goal. Goalkeeper Nicki Cochrane palmed her shot up in the air then knocked it back into her own net in an attempt to clear. There were chances at both ends before, in the final five minutes of the half Western were left reeling by a quick double from the students.

A hit into the circle from the left by Louise Fleming was brillently deflected into the roof of the net by Camilla Lyttle for the equaliser and the second was a very similar but this time the cross came from Louise Campbell and it was a diving Nikki Kidd who diverted the ball into the net.

Within two minutes of the restart the students really had their eyes on a shock when Campbell made her way up the left and her reverse sweep cross was deflected into the roof of the net by Kidd for a 3-1 lead.

But, rather than deflate the favourites, it spurred Western into action and almost immediately Catriona Ralph pulled one back with a low direct strike at a penalty corner.

A foul on Jen Eadie in the circle brought a penalty and Ralph coolly dispatched her effort from the spot to bring the Glasgow side level at 3-3.

A run up the right by Ali Howie then created an opening and her cross was deflected in by Cram at the penalty spot. Within minutes Western had another penalty and this time it was McGilveray who found the net to put them 5-3 ahead.

With ten minutes left, Edinburgh player/coach Sam Judge sneaked the ball in at the left-hand post to make for an interesting end to the game but Western held out to lift the trophy, despite a late penalty corner chance for Kidd.

The men’s final was an equally close encounter but it was Grove Menzieshill who took the honours against a Kelburne side who had just won their ninth consecutive league title.

With the scores level at 3-3 and a penalty shoot-out apparently inevitable, a determined run by Michael Ross caught the Kelburne defence on the hop and he passed the ball to Gavin Byers who dispatched a low reverse stick shot past Mark Fulton, giving the Taysiders their first cup success since 1989.

The contest opened with a flurry of goals in the first 12 minutes. Paul Martin put the Dundonians ahead with a shot into the roof of the net in only two minutes but Kelburne retaliated when Jonny Christie found the target with a low shot after a pass from Alan Forsyth.

A drag flick high into the net by Scott Sutherland put the Paisley side 2-1 up but Olly James found himself unmarked in the circle and gratefully dispatched the ball into the roof of the goal for the equaliser.

Kelburne were hit on the break just on the interval. A pass from Ross was brilliantly deflected past Fulton by Byers for a 3-2 half-time lead but the Paisley side hit back after the restart and teenager Lee Morton beat Andrew Ross in the Menzieshill goal after a Jonny Christie pass.

The Taysiders survived being reduced to nine men as Byers and Ali Irvine spent time in the sin bin before Byers returned to notch the last-gasp winner.

Erskine Stewart’s Melville took the women’s plate with a 2-0 penalty shoot-out win over Watsonians after a 1-1 draw in normal time. AMN Hillhead swamped Aberdeen GSFP 7-2 to take the men’s plate.