Tough climb for Menzieshill
07 December 2011
It is Grove Menzieshill who have hit the ground running in the opening salvoes of the Subway men`s indoor national league, but coach Bruce Cuthill is fully aware that this weekend`s three fixtures against city rivals VWS Dundee Wanderers, co-leaders Glynhill Kelburne and Grange could really test his resources. "It will be difficult to take the nine points, all teams in this league can take points off each other and we have to be wary, but in saying that I`m confident we can win the three games."
Cuthill was well satisfied with last weekend`s work, a clinical eleven goal win over Greaves Clydesdale was followed by a narrow 2-1 win over reigning champions Inverleith. On the latter game, Cuthill said: "Inverleith are the title holders and it was satisfying to beat them, although it was not a classic game."
Despite the result reversal, Inverleith coach Stuart Neave was far from downcast. "Our performance against Menzieshill was better than the Grange game, it was a fairly even contest where we did not convert our opportunities."
Neave should have a more relaxed day, his charges only play two matches against Western Wildcats and CALA Edinburgh. The Wildcats have a wealth of goal scoring talent in brothers Douglas and Joe Simpson along with Scott McCartney, but their mercurial approach could be the greatest danger to Neave`s target of retaining the crown. Neave will have more options for these encounters with the return of Chris Grassick and Phil Hall to the ranks.
Grange also have a hefty programme with games against CALA, Western and a final tilt with Menzieshill. "It is always a massive challenge against Menzieshill and they played well last weekend, their whole squad looks sharp, so we will have to be at our best to compete," said David Knipe, Grange`s coach.
Knipe correctly observed that wasted penalty corners and a missed effort from the spot ultimately cost Grange the game against Inverleith last weekend, set piece conversion will certainly have to be tightened up if his side are to trouble the Taysiders. Knipe does not dismiss the other teams either. "CALA have caused us problems anytime we have played them, and I don`t think there is anything between Grange and Western."
Kelburne continue to be an enigma indoors, second bottom of the table last season, now the Paisley outfit sit side by side with Menzieshill at the top after back to back wins over VWS Dundee Wanderers and CALA last week. Manager Harry Coles said: "I think our guys did a very good job last weekend, but we realise that we will have to play better to be competitive against the likes of Menzieshill who are strong favourites for the title. But I do feel that, like most of the teams in the league, we sometimes tend to play a bit like outdoor hockey played indoors."
Consistency could again be the issue for Kelburne, they certainly should see off both Clydesdale and Western if they have aspirations to challenge at the top, but Menzieshill could expose some of the Paisley side`s frailties.
Dundee Wanderers, four times champions between 1999 and 2003, could be on the way back after beating Western 4-2 in their second encounter last weekend. The clash with city rivals Menzieshill used to be the highlight of the indoor season, but it may be a few years yet before Wanderers can mount such a challenge. Wanderers will be hoping to pick up another three points in their second fixture of the day against Clydesdale.
Clydesdale may be pointless after last weekend`s defeats by Menzieshill and Grange, but the young Titwood outfit have the capability to survive at this level, and may fancy picking up points against Kelburne and Wanderers.