Another great round of North Conference hockey as year draws to a close

As the year draws to a close it is the Gordonians club who top the North Conference; the women had a narrow 1-0 win over Ellon to open up a nine point gap while the men maintained their 100% record after beating Granite City Wanderers 4-1 to move three points ahead with a game less played.

However, there were a few milestones to be recorded – there was the first draw in the North Conference after several weeks of competition and Ellon men got off the mark with a point against Aberdeen Grammar FPs.

Gordonians might be at the top of the women`s competition, but this time they were restricted to a single goal by a gritty Ellon outfit. This was their third win over the Aberdeenshire club, but this time it was a lot closer.

The only goal of the contest came in the first quarter, Ailsa Phimister latched on to a rebound at a penalty corner and fired a reverse stick shot into the corner of the net.

Gordonians continued to edge the first half and should have gone further ahead but several chances slipped by. Ellon came more into the contest after the interval with Gracie Grey-Giles creating havoc up the right wing but her crosses into the circle seemed to elude her colleagues, and so did the equaliser.

The post-match reaction from the captains was somewhat in contrast. Gordonians` Rebecca Murray said: “Definitely not our best performance today but good to finish with a win.”

Ellon captain Louise Gordon remarked: “We really enjoyed the game and felt like Ellon made them work hard for the win. It felt really close, we would have loved the win but a draw would have been a fair result.

“All I asked of the team was them to give it their all, and they did me proud”

In the other game Granite City Wanderers triumphed 3-0 over Aberdeen University and moved up to the nine point mark, just three behind Ellon with two games less played.

Gordonians can hardly be grudged pole position in the men`s Conference as their 4-1 win over rivals Granite City Wanderers kept alive their 100% record and a three point lead, and that with a game in hand.

Sustained early pressure from the Countesswells outfit finally paid off when John Hamilton reacted quickly at a penalty corner situation and put away the opener. Soon after it was 2-0, Harry Leggett embarked on a smart run and finished by wrong-footing the keeper.

Early in the second half Stu Begg pulled one back for Granite City, and they might have had an equaliser but for a left-handed save by keeper Andrew Moody to preserve Gordonians 2-1 lead.

However, Gordonians pulled away in the final quarter, youngster Louis Roddy made it 3-1, then the same youngster laid on an excellent pass for Peter Serle to add a fourth with a deflection.

Gordonians` John Hamilton was quick to lay praise. “Worthy of mention were Tommaso Gambro and James Dick who didn`t get on the score sheet but the 16 and 17 year olds continued their fantastic form.”

A delighted coach Adam Walker remarked: “We`ve been able to use the North Conference to develop our squad and it is optimistic for the future. Thanks to Scottish Hockey for finding a way to get us on the pitch this year.”

The Ellon v Aberdeen Grammar FPs ended in a 1-1 draw and also in monsoon conditions at Meadows Sports Centre. The visitors took the lead in the first quarter, at their first penalty corner Gavin Reid was on hand for the final touch. Ellon came more into the fray in the second quarter but failed to convert any of their penalty corners.

Grammar might have doubled their lead but veteran Stephen Mair`s legs left him short of a simple tap-in. But with three minutes to go Ellon got a deserved equaliser on the counter-attack.

Grammar`s James Williams summed up: “It has been a pleasure and a real privilege to play hockey during these difficult times. Both teams look forward to the new year with optimism.”

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