The Grange Club
For the second time in the last 5 seasons Grange sent three sides to the finals of the all 3 National Cup Finals; the Scottish Cup (for 1st teams), the District Cup (for 2nd teams), and the Reserve Cup (for 3rd teams).
The day started with the 3rd XI taking on Kelburne 3s and it started with promise as Grange opened the scoring early on through Sam Price. Slackness entered the game, the captain was sin-binned for 10 minutes and Kelburne equalised. Despite temporarily deficient numbers , Grange dug-in and started to control possession better, scoring 2 more goals courtesy of Neil Mitchinson and Gordon (G) Allan.
The early portion of the second half was all Grange and the side roared into a 6-1 advantage with well-taken goals from Richard (JC) Miller, Steve Swanton and Lewis Williamson. Kelburne had a final flurry and pegged the game back to 6-3 with two excellent goals but the game was long-gone. The 3rd XI brought home the bacon for the 4th successive year and Grange has now kept hold of this cup for 5th successive seasons.
The 2nd XI followed, also playing against Kelburne. The match started briskly with goals traded at either end in the opening ten minutes, Rob Barr slotting a Penalty Corner to equalise for Grange. The experienced Kelburne side quickly regained their slender lead and there was agony shortly before the break after a Grange mistake was punished and the side entered half-time 3-1 down.
Grange went about things with more purpose in the second period but couldn't find the back of the net, hitting the post on three occasions. Kelburne grabbed a fourth and, in an effort to force the issue, Grange withdrew their keeper and fielded 11 outfield players. However, a penalty to the opposition was dispatched in that period killing the game. Rob Barr grabbed a late consolation goal to finish the match 5-2 to Kelburne.
A tough end to the season for a young squad which included six under 18 players in the final.
The 1st XI finished in glorious sunshine with the aim to grab a League and Cup Double. The side bristled with intent, taking the lead through Frank Ryan in the opening 20 seconds before the same player doubled the lead shortly afterwards. Jo Waterson added a third to put the Grange side in early ascendancy. The student opponents dragged themselves back into game, only to see Grange pull away once again through a Calum Milne penalty conversion and a Luke Cranney solo effort.
Edinburgh University didn't stint in their efforts to find some way back into the match and their high press applied the necessary pressure to bring the score back to 5-with around 20 minutes left. However, John McCluskey got the all-important goal to pull the side 3-goals clear again and with it secured the victory. Another 6-3 win for Grange to bookend the day.
The 1st XI can't quite fully enjoy their season's successes just yet. They enter the National Play-Off Finals this weekend. On Saturday 12 May, they entertain Western Wildcats at Fettes at 1400. The winners go into the Grand Final at the National Hockey centre in Glasgow on Sunday 13 May. And just a few days after that, the side heads out to Vienna to compete in the EuroTrophy Championship.
Well done to all players involved, throughout the section. And many thanks to all the supporters who came through to another 'Stagtastic' day at Glasgow Green.
Scottish Hockey report