Arran hit Irvine with nine without reply

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Arran Ladies 9

Irvine Ladies 1s 0 

Arran Ladies enjoyed a weekend of hockey with a double header, a convincing victory at Troon against Irvine Ladies 1s, and a closely fought, but ultimately defeated encounter against Milne Craig Clydesdale Western Ladies at home.

The team travelled, with a squad of 11 players and team umpire Pauline Reid, to Troon last Saturday to face the 10 man team of Irvine Ladies. It was a near-perfect day to play hockey and Irvine kick-started the match with an early press into the Arran ‘D’. Passing around the Arran defence, Irvine’s subsequent strong shot on goal was spectacularly saved by Arran’s ninja goalkeeper, Ali McKie, who just managed to get the tip of her stick to connect with the ball and thus deflecting it off the back line.

Arran Ladies came back on the attack and, at eight minutes, centre forward and acting captain, Lorraine Hewie, scored the first goal of the game. Spurred on by this, Arran promptly made the score line 2-0, following a solid strike from the top of the ‘D’ by centre midfield player, Hazel Malakoty.

Play continued with both teams making some lovely passes across every inch of the pitch. Irvine Ladies were soon awarded a penalty corner, however their shot on goal was rebuffed by the strong Arran defence of Cat Galbraith, Kirstie Barton, Faith McKelvie and Elyse Aitken.

Swiftly back on the attack, Arran’s left midfielder, Susie Murchie, ran the ball up the pitch. Her cross was picked up by Hazel who scored Arran’s third goal 25 minutes in. Soon after, Arran’s right midfielder, Jenny Stark, fired the ball into the ‘D’ which was stopped on the base line by left wing, Megan McNicol. Megan’s shot was saved by Irvine’s keeper, however Lorraine was there to pick up the rebound and, finding the back of the net, she brought the score up to 4-0. Right before the half-time whistle, Lorraine snuck in another shot on goal which Irvine managed to block. This failed to deter Arran and this time it was Susie who successfully picked up the resulting rebound, taking Arran’s lead to 5-0 as the half-time whistle blew.

Arran came back into the second half with as much determination as shown in the first. Just two minutes in, Lorraine duped the Irvine keeper to score her hat-trick and Arran’s sixth goal. The following play saw the ball travelling up and down the pitch, with both teams making accurate, swift passes and strong tackles. Yet again though, Arran Ladies broke through Irvine defence and, finishing a long run up the left wing, Megan fired the ball straight past the keeper, taking the score to 7-0. Irvine Ladies rallied and made a break towards the Arran ‘D’. A high shot on goal from Irvine unfortunately collided with the head of Arran’s sweeper, Cat, so time was paused to allow for assessment and first aid. As Cat retreated to the side-line with ice pack in hand the match resumed, teams now equally matched with ten players a piece. Arran relentlessly attacked nonetheless and when Irvine did have chances to break through, Arran’s strong defence and fearless keeper proved no match. Cat bravely returned to the pitch after just five minutes of nursing her head-bump and encouraged by knowing she was okay Arran Ladies pressed on up the pitch. A cross from Megan was picked up by Lorraine, who once again found the back of Irvine’s goal.

Not finished yet, Arran’s final goal of the match was deflected in by Lorraine following a superb power shot in by left wing Helen Thomson.

Arran were awarded four consecutive penalty corners in the final few minutes of play, however Irvine’s defence cleared each one, resulting in a final score of 9-0 to Arran.

The whole team played fantastically well, with Hazel Malakoty being voted dame of the game by Irvine. Team spirits were understandably high and the ladies returned to the island ready to face their next opponents the following day.

Heading: Arran can’t break down opponents defence

Arran Ladies 0

Milne Craig Clydesdale Western Ladies 5s 4

Arran Ladies took to the pitch for a second time last weekend, as they faced Milne Craig Clydesdale Western Ladies (MCCW) 5s at home. MCCW began play with a fast attack and, within minutes, were awarded a short corner. The resulting strike was blocked by Arran’s centre defence, Jenny Stark, however the opposition quickly collected the rebound and found the back of the goal.

Undeterred, the Arran Ladies fought back with midfielders, Megan McNicol, Hazel Malakoty and Mia Walker pressing up the pitch, making strong passes to forwards Hannah McCartney, Lorraine Hewie and Helen Thomson. Arran successfully won a short corner, however the MCCW defence proved unbeatable. Back on the attack, MCCW’s young players worked in triangle formations to pass the ball quickly up the pitch. Arran’s defence fought strongly against the onslaught and stand-in keeper, Rebecca Early, saved many shots on goal which were cleared wide by sweeper Freya McNicol, who stood in at the 11th hour for the team despite recovering from tonsillitis. Left defence Elyse Aitken showed great skill, wrong footing the MCCW forwards and passing the ball fast up the pitch and allowing Arran to regain possession and press another attack.

Executing strong, accurate tackles, MCCW switched the play once again, this time managing to find the back of the goal, taking the score to 2-0 with 8 minutes left of the half. Responding to the attack, Arran’s right defence, Ellie Wood, made a superb arc-run up the pitch until she was deliberately fouled by MCCW’s centre forward. Arran’s umpire swiftly dealt with this misconduct and, ignoring the player’s disgruntled protestations, issued a green card sending her to the sin bin for two minutes – but not before warning her to ‘watch her stick and her mouth’ or risk the punishment being escalated. Despite being a player down, MCCW kept up the attack; when their player returned they quickly found the back of the Arran goal taking the score to 3-0 against Arran at half-time.

The Arran Ladies came back in fighting, playing an even more defensive game. Despite many powerful breaks Arran’s forwards just couldn’t quite pass through the opposition’s final line of defence. Half-way through the half, MCCW’s tenacious young players made a run for it yet again and, managing to out-pace Arran’s defence, wrong-footed the goalie to score their 4th goal of the match.

As the match was nearing an end, a switch across the back line (putting recent training into practice) from Elyse, to Freya and on to Ellie, saw the play quickly move back into Arran’s attacking half. Picking up the ball and approaching the side of the ‘D’, Helen aimed a fabulous high shot at the top left of the goal. Lorraine successfully got her stick to the ball however MCCW’s keeper just managed to get her pad to it to make the save. Arran were awarded a short corner in the final seconds, but sadly MCCW’s defence was once again impenetrable and as the final whistle blew the score was 0-4 against Arran.

Despite the final score, Arran Ladies played a strong, defensive game against MCCW 5s who were, only this year, demoted from the second division. Ellie Wood was awarded dame of the game by MCCW.

The ladies would like to thank all the side-line supporters who cheered them on and also Pauline Reid who forfeits her game-time to umpire every week. A huge thank you is also extended to acting captain, Lorraine, for her invaluable coaching advice and expertise. Finally, the ladies pass on their thanks to the Ormidale Hotel for providing match teas.

Arran Ladies face Stepps 2’s at home tomorrow (Saturday) with a passback time of 2pm. All support is very welcome and much appreciated.

Arran umpire Pauline Reid cautions a MCCW player after a deliberate foul. 01_B06hockey01

Arran’s Megan McNicol runs unchallenged down the sideline. 01_B06hockey02

Dame of the Game Ellie Wood outmanoeuvres two MCCW players. 01_B06hockey03

MCCW and Arran player, Elyse Aitken tussle for the ball. 01_B06hockey04

Megan McNicol maintains possession of the ball despite a concerted effort to swipe it away by MCCW. 01_B06hockey05