Six of the best sees Arran stay on top

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MC Clydesdale Western Ladies 6s 3

Arran Ladies 6

West District Division 3

With only 11 Arran Ladies Hockey Club players competing against a full compliment of 16 (11+5 subs) from MC Clydesdale Western 6s (MCCW) at their home pitch in Glasgow, the Arran side knew that the challenge ahead would be arduous.

Captain Elyse Aitken was back in defence with Faith McKelvie, Ellie Wood, Helen Thomson and goalkeeper Alison ‘Ninja’ Mckie. Susie Murchie, Annie McKelvie and Jenny Stark were in mid-field with Mia Walker and Hannah McCartney on the forward wings and Lorraine Hewie playing centre forward.

It didn’t take Arran long to make their mark on the game when Lorraine fired a shot at goal and Mia picked up the rebound off the MCCW keeper and shot it into the net just five minutes after the first whistle. The constant call of ‘rebound, rebound, rebound’ at training on a Thursday night certainly paid off.

Being constantly alert to where her team mates were, Jenny, in centre-mid, saw Lorraine up-field and shot the ball through the opposition to her on the half way line. Lorraine then sprinted down the left wing, leaving defender’s in her wake to dodge past the MCCW sweeper and take on the goalie. With a cross flick, the ball sailed past the keeper’s outstretched arm and into the goal. Although the home team did try to break through the Arran defence, Elyse and her defenders were just too strong and repelled all attacks on the Arran goal. Susie Murchie got the third goal for Arran when she had a magnificent run from a long corner take on the 25m line. With the MCCW defence unable to stop her, Susie blasted straight into the shooting ‘D’ and found a successful line for her shot into the top right hand corner of the net.

With the score at 3-0 to Arran, the home team kept up the pressure on Arran’s goal area and just before half time Ali McKie’s acrobatic skills stopped a double attack. Springing up to bat away a top corner shot, she then sprang back to the other end of her goal to kick out the rebound attempt, before sweeper Faith cleared the ball away to mid-field with a strong swiping hit.

Both teams returned from the half time break and MCCW might have had an encouraging team talk as within two minutes of the push back their young left wing, perhaps following Lorraine’s example, sprinted down the side line into the ‘D’ and shot her ball into the corner of the goal, showing how difficult it can be to stop a forward in this manoeuvre. A second goal then came for MCCW from a short corner, superbly executed from a strong hitter at the top of the ‘D’, bring the home team back into the game. Only for a brief moment however, as Hannah McCartney collected a convenient pass from mid-field and ran wide on the wing – as instructed in the half time Arran team talk – looking up for Lorraine running into the ‘D’ she stopped running, spun round her player, and sent the ball into the perfect position for Lorraine to fire it past the goalkeeper.

Jenny was next to set up Lorraine’s hat-trick of goals when she fought off her opponents with sheer determination in the home team half of the pitch, to find Lorraine watching for the pass. Running onto the ball and then into the goal area, Lorraine fired her first shot, which the keeper saved, but went back in for the ball and moved herself into a clear shot at the goal and flicked it in.

Never giving up, the home team came back with another successful attempt on goal within five minutes, but this was unable to aid them, as with less than 10 minutes to go, Mia saw Lorraine pick up a ball in midfield and sprinted into the top right hand side of the ‘D’. Collecting the pass from Lorraine, Mia swung her stick high for a power shot which whizzed past defenders and the goalkeeper to give her a well deserved double score – along with the dame of the game nomination from the home team for all her efforts on the pitch throughout the game. The final score ended with a 6-3 win to Arran, keeping them at the top of their division.

The next game is at home on the Ormidale astroturf pitch in Brodick on today (Saturday) against East Kilbride 2s. Push back is 2.30pm and all supporters and side line cheerers would be very welcome and appreciated.