Arran puts up defiant fight in hockey double header

GHK players do their utmost to wrestle the ball away from Lorraine Hewie who is positioned right in front of their goal.

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Arran Ladies 1

GHK 3s 5 

In a season disrupted by wind, snow and ferry problems the Arran Ladies Hockey team needed to play two back to back games last weekend, a home game against GHK 3s who are at the top of the West District 3rd Division league, and an away game against East Kilbride.

The team for both games was almost identical with Ali McKie in goals, Ellie Wood, Faith McKelvie, Jenny Stark and Elyse Aitken in defence. Judith Ross, Freya McNicol and Mia Walker covered midfield and Hannah McCartney, captain Lorriane Hewie and Helen Thomson played up front in the forwards positions.

In the first game against GHK it was obvious from the first play of the ball that the girls and ladies from Glasgow High Kelvinside had practiced and trained extensively together – as their three player formation passing was excellent to watch, but not be on the receiving end of.  The visitors scored within five minutes of the whistle having captured the ball back from Arran’s first hard press into their defensive quarter.

Arran stayed calm and constantly battled to push the ball up the field for attempts on goal.  One such attempt was a powerfully lifted ball from captain Lorraine’s stick, which flew over the heads of the players in the ‘D’ and over the goal’s crossbar to go out of play. This resulted in a chorus of ‘Ooooohh’ from the watching supporters.

GHK’s defensive line was incredibly strong and repelled each attack efficiently, returning the ball to their own mid-fielders and forwards who went on to score a further two goals. Just before the half time whistle, having dived to her left to block another GHK goal shot, Ali spectacularly launched herself off the ground and in front of the next incoming ball with a flying jump. Umpiring on the sideline, Pauline Reid, heard the supporters from the visiting team clapping and expressing their appreciation of the ‘pure ninja skills’ from the gifted goalie.

The second half was very similar to the first with GHK coming out strongly from the first ball and pressing into Arran’s goal area.  Notching up another two goals in 30 minutes, Arran Ladies showed grit and determination and a never-give-up attitude. With Jenny sending a long ball from the 23m line up to Hannah, she was able to make a clean strong pass to Lorraine waiting in the oppositions half.  Lorraine ran round the defenders in her path and went one-to-one with the GHK goalie, whom she wrong-footed and shot the ball past her and into the goal.

The final score ended with the visitors winning 5-1.  As they had no time to stay for after match teas, Andy Bell and his kitchen staff at the Ormidale Hotel had put together packed lunches for them to take away.  The Arran Ladies were able to enjoy the welcoming hospitality from Tommy and his staff though, for their own after-match refreshments there. Ali McKie was unsurprisingly voted dame of the game by GHK 3s for her amazing goalkeeping throughout the game.

East Kilbride 4 

Arran Ladies 2

Travelling the following day on the 11am ferry, ten of the Arran players prepared themselves for their second game. With no replacement for Freya in midfield, Lorraine changed a few positions around to cover the pitch with less than a full team.  Leaving Ali in goal, she asked the versatile Helen to come down from right wing to defence.  She then took Jenny out from centre back and asked her to use her speed and strength up forward in centre mid and on the right wing.  Ellie Wood moved from right back into centre back allowing her to use her blocking skills all over the Arran defensive half. These decisions paid dividends for the team.

Jenny had one of the hardest positions to play in the game as she was covering both right wing and the empty centre mid positions. She ran almost non-stop, chasing balls and sending them up to Lorraine and Hannah. Helen sent attacking balls back through the players time and time again with powerful rocket shots, at one point the ball travelled the entire length of the pitch – unstopped by anyone. Ellie thwarted so many East Kilbride attempts on goal that she was awarded dame of the game by the East Kilbride players for her show of ball control, cool and calm passing whilst under pressure, and her cheeky ability to steal the ball off the top of their attackers sticks.

East Kilbride were able to take advantage of the player-short Arran team however and scored three goals in the first half of the game. Their right wing player had one of the best long shot hits the girls had seen, as she scored two of the three goals from the very tip of the ‘D’ finding the narrowest of angles into the net.

Lorraine, Hannah, Judith and Jenny were frustrated time and again on their attempts on goal by the East Kilbride keeper, who was around six foot tall, and had a tendency to block the goal face by laying in front of it. Her goalie pads and kit also created a high wall of defence which proved impossible to get round in the first half.

After the half time break the home team were able to score their fourth goal after 15 minutes and shortly after this whilst trying to work her way past the very efficient East Kilbride sweeper, captain Lorraine Hewie twisted and fell to the ground. The strained ligaments she had been playing with had popped and she was now unable to run at all.  Not good news for the team who, already short of players, were now without a fully functioning centre forward.  However with determination she chose to remain on the pitch but to stay high in the attacking quarter and do the best she could.

The defence players gave her a good few opportunities by sending the balls up to Mia, Jenny and Judith who found the strength to put in some super runs past the home defenders and deliver the ball to Hannah and Lorraine. The first few balls were unsuccessful as Lorraine tired to find the best way to move and stay on her feet, but in the last five minutes of the game she was rewarded with two goals which she lifted over the keeper’s legs for the first and her head and shoulders for the second.

The end results was a 4-2 defeat for Arran and unfortunately for captain Lorraine, her torn ligaments will mean that she will be unable to play in the remaining three games of the season.

Loraine said: ‘I would like to thank the supporters who came out to cheer from the sidelines and to Pauline Reid who once again umpired the matches for the Arran Ladies, whilst sporting her own inflamed cartilage injury.’

Lorraine is now standing down from the coaching, administration and captaincy of the team and has invited all of the team players, old, new or anyone interested, to step forward to take over the work she has done for the team for the last five years.

The next fixture for the Arran Ladies is a home game next Saturday March 30 against Troon Ladies with a push back at noon.  All supporters are warmly welcome.