UNDER-17s NATIONAL PERFORMANCE TIER
THE Hirsel Estate Developments-sponsored Borders Under-17 District squad braved the snowy conditions at the weekend to play the third of their five National Performance Tier matches.
Originally scheduled as a double-biller, the fixture in Edinburgh saw Borders having to settle for only one match, with their other opponents, Perth, calling off due to the poor road conditions.
With two solid wins against South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire already under their belt, the Borderers were hankering to get going after the Christmas break and the match against their neighbouring rivals was eagerly awaited.
Both teams started hesitantly, with the Borders lacking drive across mid-court, but solid defence work from captain Hannah MacDonald stemmed most of the Edinburgh wing’s attempts to create attacking chances.
An early clash of players around the circle saw young Borders shooter Susanne Krabbendam fall to the ground clutching her ankle. As umpires halted the game, her teammates faced an agonising few minutes in the knowledge that they had no substitute, their other goal shooter, Nikki Pettitt already sidelined with a back injury.
There was relief as the Borders coach declared Krabbendam fit to continue play, with her team rallying to take a lead of 16 goals to four at the first quarter break.
Edinburgh fought back strongly in the second quarter and with the aggressive Borders defence of Lauren Tait and Hannah Crick falling foul of the umpire’s whistle repeatedly for obstructing too closely, Edinburgh was able to add another seven goals to its scoreline, largely by virtue of penalty shots on goal.
However, with Scotland Under-17 squad goal attack and Borders vice-captain Jenny Hudson yet again on fine shooting form for Borders, their lead increased to 29-11 by half-time.
The comfortable lead gave the chance for Borders substitutions Kitty Lambton – filling in ably in centre to rest Flora Gillies – and Mhairi Jackson – coming in as wing defence – to inject much-needed pace into the mid-court passing moves.
Going into the final quarter with a lead of 41-21, Borders stepped up their game once more, West Linton’s Neve McLean in particular firing the ball into the shooting D with some breathtaking manoeuvres.
A late flurry of goals from Borders saw Edinburgh heads go down, resulting in a convincing win, and their third Performance Tier victory.
Borders face Glasgow District in February and will now need to play a rearranged match against Perth District to complete their matches.
Borders: Hannah MacDonald (WD/GD), Jenny Hudson (GA), Susanne Krabbendam (GS), Neve McLean (WA), Flora Gillies (C), Kitty Lambton (C), Mhairi Jackson (WD), Lauren Tait (GD), Hannah Crick (GK).