THERE was a positive feeling and a spring in the mature legs as the Borders Women’s team travelled to Stirling to compete in the annual District Masters tournament at the weekend.
That feeling continued when the team took to the pitch to play against Central, who were the victors of the previous year’s event. Borders were in possession of the ball from the start and some fine interlinking moves out of defence through Carolyn Allison and Denise Fairbairn (who was celebrating her 40th birthday) saw great distribution to the forwards and many opportunities in front of goal went amiss.
A penalty corner awarded midway through the half saw a drag flick from Janet Jack saved illegally on the line and the awarded penalty flick was dispatched into the net by Jack to put the Borderers 1-0 ahead, which was how the game ended.
Next up were East, who were never given a chance to enter the Borders’ half.
And, following some goalmouth tennis, Katie Francis popped up on the far post to slot the ball past the East keeper. Five minutes later Jack found herself in acres of space at the top of the circle and fired the ball home to lead the team off the pitch with a 2-0 victory.
A change in formation paid dividends against West with the superior fitness and strong running of Jackie Wilson causing disarray in the opposition defence.
From one of many attacks the ball was moved on to the tireless Elena Lunn, who was impeded illegally in the circle. Jack converted the ensuing corner with an uncharacteristic reverse stick shot for a 1-0 win.
New to the competition, Midlands fielded a very strong team with a number of Scottish and GB Internationalists, and this proved to be the toughest game. Yvonne Johnstone in goal had had little to do up to this point in the tournament, but a number of fine saves kept the Borderers in the game, which ended in a 0-0 draw.
Entering the final game against North, the Borderers knew they had to secure a win to lift the trophy and they took to the pitch with a determined attitude.
North went 1-0 up after a very dubious goal, struck from outside the circle at a dangerous height, which sparked Borders into attack after attack, only to be denied by the stuffy North defence who had set up camp in their circle.
With time running out, Lunn managed to play the ball off a North foot and the awarded penalty corner was put away by Jack.
The Borders Ladies were a credit to the region, and were denied the trophy by the slimmest of margins.
The disappointment and frustration was evident, but the manner in which each individual played could very well see a number of the players being selected for the Scottish Masters teams who will represent the country at this year’s Home Nations tournament at Peffermill, Edinburgh, in June this year.
The squad would like to thank Karen Hay who made the trip as the Borders’ umpire.
Borders Masters Squad: Y. Johnstone, J. Wilson, C. Allison, M. Anderson, L. Dixon, D. Fairbairn, J. Jack, R. Hounam, E. Lunn, E. Jack, K. Francis.