New Premiership – off to a great start!
The Premiership is only a week old and already there is a talking point…is Watsonians shock 4-3 victory over women`s reigning champions Edinburgh University a flash in the pan or a sign of a new force in the land.
However, Coach Keith Smith is not getting carried away with the occasion, after the match he commented.
“I was pleased with our intensity and work rate today – the girls stuck to their task and made life really hard for University. But there is plenty still to improve, but it`s nice to hit the ground running.”
Smith will have little time to soak up his opening victory, this weekend his charges take on a Dundee Wanderers side that finished joint second in last season`s championship.
The Taysiders rattled in eight against GHK in their opening match and have top strikers in the evergreen Vikki Bunce, new recruit Lucy Williamson and Emily Dark, all of whom scored twice last weekend.
So what of Edinburgh University? Coach Sam Judge will have to pick up her batch of youngsters for the visit to Hillhead and put some points on the board.
The other title challengers should also continue their winning ways, Grove at GHK, Wildcats at home to Glasgow University and Clydesdale Western in Aberdeen against newly promoted Merlins Gordonians.
In the men`s competition Grange`s new manager Martin Shepherdson reflected on the turn-over of players since last season`s treble, then after last weekend`s eight goal victory over Kelburne considered that the new line-up has performed fairly well.
Certainly new Aussie import Josh McCrae looks to be sharp in front of goal, last weekend he opened with a low reverse stick shot and followed with a narrow angle shot from the left for a debut double.
On Saturday Shepherdson`s troops take on Watsonians at Peffermill. Perhaps a routine three points in past seasons, but Watsonians have also made a promising start to the campaign with a 4-3 win at Edinburgh University at the same venue. So the champions may have to work hard for the three points on this occasion.
Grove Menzieshill also went on a goal spree against Hillhead, on Saturday they visit Glasgow Green to take on Kelburne. Even with home advantage it is difficult to envisage the Paisley outfit stopping the Menzieshill goal machine with hat-trick hero Jamie Golden in fine form.
Western Wildcats` new coach Vishal Marwaha will look to the home encounter against Hillhead for their first victory of the season.
He said: “We have no new players, we have a relatively young squad so with another year`s experience, we hope the team can take a step forward.
“Our aspirations for the coming season are to finish in the top two and challenge for the title. We have finished three or four over the last few seasons, and as a group we want to improve on that.”
Marwaha may have been a little disappointed only drawing with Clydesdale last weekend, but if the Titwood-based side continue to play with that sort of momentum, not many sides will leave the South side of Glasgow with three points.
Both newly promoted Dundee Wanderers and Uddingston enter the fray this weekend, the Taysiders start with a trip to Titwood to face Clydesdale on Saturday, and then take on the Lanarkshire side in Dundee for their catch-up fixture.
Wanderers will rely virtually on the same team that stormed through the second division with a perfect record, although Rory Taylor has moved to Menzieshill. It will be interesting to see if their win ethic can still stand them in good stead in the top flight.
On Saturday Uddingston, now without their top goal scorer Brad Hughes,will open their account against an Edinburgh University side that lost their opening game to Watsonians.
Students` coach Graham Moodie said: “We fought back from 4-1 down, but we missed a penalty in the last quarter and it cost us. Disappointing start.”
It remains to be seen if Moodie`s young charges can recover sufficiently to break their duck at Bothwell Castle Policies.
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