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Goals and drama expected as Grand Finals matches are confirmed

06 May 2017

The teams that have qualified for Europe next season have now been established - the men will be Bromac Kelburne and Grange, the women Edinburgh University and Milne Craig Western; what has still to be decided is who will play in the top events, and that will be resolved at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre tomorrow.

Bromac Kelburne faced a challenging contest in disposing of a plucky Western Wildcats pack, normal time finished 2-2 and the champions only progressed after a 3-1 win in a penalty shoot-out.

It opened well enough for the Paisley side, at a penalty corner Josh Cairns cleverly switched the ball to Ben Peterson who found the net with a low shot.

But the Wildcats then dug their claws in, slackness in the Kelburne defence resulted in the loose ball falling to Joe McConnell, he took full advantage and fired the ball into the net.

Soon after it was the Wildcats who took the lead, a penalty corner strike by Adam McKenzie flew into the net off a Kelburne defender.

But by the interval Kelburne were back level, they were awarded a penalty and Cairns converted from the spot with a flick into the roof of the net.

The Paisley side dominated proceedings in the second half but contrived to squander a myriad of chances; early doors Gary Maitles, Johnny Christie and Jonas Nommensen missed the target from open play while four penalty corner opportunities also came to nothing.

Ironically, Wildcats could have taken advantage of Kelburne`s profligation but Rob Harwood narrowly failed to make contact with a dangerous cross.

Kelburne had further set piece chances but Chris Nelson`s effort was blocked by the lively Gavin Sommerville in the Western goal while another Cairns shot went wide of the target.

However, Kelburne were undoubtedly the more clinical side in the resulting penalty shoot-out with Nelson along with Craig and Lee Morton finding the net while only Wildcats` McKenzie was on target.

Kelburne Grange final 2017

Grange managed to progress to the final in normal time with a 2-1 win over Grove Menzieshill in a very tight contest. It was the Taysiders who took the lead with a penalty corner conversion by Aidan McQuade.

But within a couple of minutes the Edinburgh side were level, Todd Mills managed to flick the ball past the goalkeeper from a narrow angle.

In a closely contested second half the outcome could have gone either way, but the breakthrough came with eight minutes to go, Mills stole the ball and advanced into the circle only to be blocked by Gavin Byers. Up stepped the ever-reliable Callum Milne to score from the spot.

Grove Menzieshill then mounted a lot of pressure on the Grange goal to salvage the tie but the home defence held out despite having a couple of players visiting the sin bin.

In the play-off competition to stay in the top flight, Clydesdale preserved their status with a convincing 4-1 victory over Watsonians.

The Titwood side were two up inside six minutes with a double strike by teenager Struan Walker.

Although Tom Kemsley pulled one back for the Edinburgh side, Clydesdale secured the tie with further strikes by John Joe Lonergan and Walker again for his hat-trick.

Hillhead v Inv m celebrate

Hillhead seemed to have their first division survival well in hand with a 4-1 lead over Inverleith, Callum Duke scored a hat-trick of set pieces while Craig Paterson got another from open play, Murray Fotheringham got the consolation for the Edinburgh side.

Inverleith then created a bit of panic in the Hillhead ranks with further goals from Ewen Mackie and Joe Drake with six minutes left, but the Old Anniesland side survived to win 4-3 in the end.

In the women`s European play-offs champions Edinburgh University strolled into the final after a six goal victory over Western Wildcats.

Grove v Edin w BrodieScotland striker Amy Brodie was the catalyst with four, the other goals came from Sophie Maunder and Annie Arthur.

The students will face Milne Craig Western in the final after they defeated Grove Menzieshill 2-1 in the other tie. Scotland striker Fiona Bruce gave Western the lead only for Katie Robertson to reply for the Taysiders.

As the contest seemed to be drifting to a penalty shoot-out Millie Brown struck to put the Glasgow side into the final. The results mean a re-run of last week’s closely battled Scottish Cup final, which saw Edinburgh run out eventual winners.

Clydesdale w celebrate

Kelburne women retained their National League 1 status with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Grange from the second division. In 19 minutes Maddie Cleat gave the Paisley side the lead from a penalty corner.

Beth Dodds levelled the score ten minutes into the second half and that is how the score stood until the final minute when Stevie McInally notched the belated winner from open play.

Hillhead finished second bottom in the first division but retained their status with a 4-1 win over Erskine Stewart`s Melville FP. The latter will now face Grange for the right to play in the top flight next season. It’s a contest that is sure to be a cracker.

Photos by Andy Lovat and Duncan Gray

 

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