Menzieshill stretch lead at the top

10 December 2011

Grove Menzieshill are on their own at the top of the Subway indoor national league after close victories over city rivals VWS Dundee Wanderers, Glynhill Kelburne and Grange.  It is perhaps the substance of potential champions that they can take all three points from contests when they are not playing to top form.

The Tayside derby with Dundee Wanderers proved more of a struggle for Menzieshill than it had been in recent years.  Michael Ross put the league leaders ahead in 5 minutes but quickly Bobby Ralph brought the scores level.   Midway through the first half internationalist Gavin Byers gave Menzieshill a slender 2-1 lead.  When Byers scored again from a penalty corner in the first minute of the second half, the game looked over but Wanderers stuck to their task and prevented their Dundee neighbours from adding to their lead, courtesy of several good saves from keeper Kevin Farnan.

The confrontation with the mercurial Kelburne again proved that nothing can be taken for granted.  The Taysiders looked to have the contest sewn up at the interval, they strolled into a 5-2 half time lead, captain Chris Wilson led from the front with a couple while Gavin Byers, Gavin Tomlinson and Michael Ross get the others, Mark Ralph and Alan Forsyth found the net for the Paisley side.

The Dundonians seemed to be marching to an inevitable victory when Byers and Tomlinson put their side 7-3 ahead just after the interval, but a late rally by Kelburne with goals from Lee Morton, Willie Marshall (2) and Michael Bremner almost stole a share of the points.

Josh Cairns proved the catalyst in the Taysiders` 4-2 victory over Grange in their final game.  Matt Connor had given Grange a surprise one goal lead in 12 minutes, but a four minute hat-trick by Cairns propelled Menzieshill into a 3-1 halt time advantage.  Gavin Byers put the Dundonians into an unassailable 4-1 lead a minute into the second half, and although Gary Cameron pulled one back from a penalty corner, it failed to alter Menzieshill`s final victory.

Inverleith kept up the pressure on Menzieshill by clipping the claws of an off-colour Western Wildcats side with a convincing 10-0 triumph in their opening fixture.  The Edinburgh side had the game well won by the interval with Adam MacKenzie scoring twice from penalty corners, Chris Grassick also from a set piece and Derek Salmond with a simple tap in found the net, while Wildcats` captain Dougie Simpson missed from the spot.

The avalanche of goals continued unabated after the interval, MacKenzie scored another two from penalty corners, Salmond got his second while Phil Hall, Graham Moodie and Andrew Sinclair also contributed to the scoreline.

Inverleith followed up with a 7-0 win over Edinburgh neighbours CALA, Salmond got another two while Callum Duke, Chris Grassick, John Harris, Moodie and MacKenzie got the rest.

Kelburne`s brief reign at the top of the table came to an abrupt end at the hands of Greaves Clydesdale in their opening game when former Kelburne player Adam Bain scooped in the winner for the Titwood side with 25 seconds remaining.   A ding-dong first half finished tied at 3-3, Willie Marshall (2) and Alan Forsyth scored for the Paisley outfit while a double from Ciaran Crawford and Bain got the goals for Clydesdale.  After the interval Marshall notched his hat-trick and Forsyth got his second, Crawford and Bain scored again for Clydesdale as the game drifted to a five each draw, until Bain popped up to claim the belated winner.

Kelburne finished a miserable day by losing 10-7 to Western Wildcats, they succumbed to hat-tricks from Ian Moodie and Scott McCartney, with Steven Percy scoring twice. 

Grange opened with a comfortable 9-2 win over CALA Edinburgh, but it took them to midway through the first half to open their account through Phil Sully.  Thereafter Grange scored at will, there were hat-tricks from George Lambert and Cammie Fraser while Martin Kelly and Hamish Imrie completed the scoring.

Grange`s winning formula failed to last when they were held to a 5-5 draw by Western Wildcats.   Matt Connor and Duncan Batchelor put Grange two up but the Wildcats retaliated through Scott McCartney and Dougie Simpson (2) to take a 3-2 lead at the interval.  Sully and Fraser then put the Edinburgh side 4-3 ahead only for McCartney and Simpson to give the Wildcats a 5-4 lead with only two minutes remaining.  Cammie Fraser rescued a share of the points with a late strike for Grange.

It was a good day for Greaves Clydesdale, after beating Kelburne earlier in the day, the Titwood outfit took another three points off Dundee Wanderers in a 8-6 win to move off the relegation zone.  There were hat-tricks for both Ciaran Crawford and Adam Bain while Liam King along with Fraser Hirst also scored for Clydesdale, Fergus Sandison and veteran Paul Dailly replied with doubles for Wanderers.

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