Arran out on top after tough double header

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Arran Ladies 2

Greenock Morton Ladies 1

West District Division 3

Arran Ladies sit proudly at the top of Division 3 of the West District Women’s Hockey League after two hard fought victories in a tough double header at home last weekend.

They have 11 points from five games and have not lost a game this season, despite both opponents being above them before the game against  Greenock Morton Ladies on Saturday and old adversaries Hillhead 4s the following day.

Arran met newly promoted Greenock Ladies on Saturday afternoon at the Ormidale astroturf with a squad of 12 players. Goalkeeper Ali McKie had Ellie Wood, Faith McKelvie, captain Elyse Aitken and Freya McNicol with her in defence. Susie Murchie, Cerys Herapath and Hannah McCartney were supported by substitute Annie McKelvie in mid-field and Lorraine Hewie, Anne Watts and Mia Walker were the team’s forward attacking line.

With Greenock winning the toss and choosing to take the first ball Arran settled into position to meet the first attack. The ball soon switched sides and Arran pressed up the pitch. Mia collected a strong pass from Anne and rocketed up the pitch. However the Greenock defence were very skilled and able to control and turnover the early goal attempts. Both keepers were calling to their players, who worked hard to keep the ball away from the goal line. Playing right-back, Ellie was calm and in control every time she had the ball – even when she came off her feet and was landed on by her opponent. Looking for her team mates and potential high pitch opportunities, she was quick to spot a straight pass to Anne at the half way line. Anne hooked the ball and ran to where she could see Lorraine coming into the shooting ‘D’. Sending the ball straight to her, Lorraine snapped up the ball, drew out the goalkeeper and executed a superb reverse flick shot at goal to put Arran in the lead.

With the weather changing from sunny to wild and windy, rain and icy hailstones battered down on the pitch and players. The second half saw Arran awarded a penalty short corner a few minutes after the starters whistle and with a well practised set piece, Lorraine injected the ball to Anne at the top of ‘D’, received the pass back and swung the ball past the keeper to score her second goal. All over in seconds, but a great reward for hours of practice.

Greenock never gave up and tried time and again to get access to the Arran goal. One of their centre mid players having a powerful and accurate rocket shot, collected a ball and ran up the pitch. Swinging her stick back for another power hit she connected with the ball which promptly exploded, split in two and sent pieces flying in opposite directions. A rare thing to see this happen as hockey balls are designed to be hit extremely hard but it did bring a bit of light-hearted banter to the pitch as the umpires stopped time until a new ball was sourced and a bully-off restarted the game. Greenock did capitalise on this little time out and were able to score with five minutes to go and the game ended 2-1 to Arran.

The teams retired to the pavilion building for a much needed cup of hot soup and after match teas, where Ellie Wood was awarded dame of the game from the Greenock Ladies for her superb play throughout the game.