Reivers fail to shake off the cobwebs

Reivers Hockey: Veteran defender Bruce Montgomery gets in on the action.
Reivers Hockey: Veteran defender Bruce Montgomery gets in on the action.
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Edinburgh University 1

Reivers 0

EAST MEN’S DIVISION ONE

REIVERS travelled to the national hockey centre at Peffermill in Edinburgh with a strong-looking squad.

With the league having hibernated since the end of November and the previous week’s game being cancelled, it had been a full two months out of action for the Borders outfit and the players were raring to go.

Reivers controlled the opening exchanges with some solid defending and hard work from the midfield.

The hosts came more into the game as the half wore on, forcing two short corners which they failed to convert. As ever, the students were fast and skilful and prepared to make their slightly older opponents chase them all afternoon.

The Reivers defence was holding up well to scrutiny and the visitors had the chance to take the lead. Good work from Stuart Ramsay created an opening at the back post, where, uncharacteristically, veteran striker Spencer Pitman failed to connect cleanly, or at all, for a simple tap-in.

As ever with students, they were always keen to break quickly from defence and it was from one of these breakouts that they won another short corner. The initial shot was blocked, but the follow-up was placed well into the far corner of the goal.

At half-time, the visitors concentrated on keeping warm and tried to fight their way back into the match.

The second period, however, did not start well with the home side dominating possession and the Reivers looking more and more disjointed as the cold and an apparent lack of fitness began to take its toll.

The University team created several good opportunities, but a mix of last-ditch defending and solid goalkeeping held them out. The visitors carved a couple of half-chances of their own late on, but it was not to be their day.

Reivers felt they should have taken something from the game, but the fact that central defender Stuart Ross and goalkeeper Stephen Young shared the man-of-the-match award tells its own story.

Overall, it was a disappointing game for the visitors who were looking to start the second half of the season with a bang. Captain Graham Lofthouse was left frustrated by the result.

“It was just one of those days when things didn’t go to plan,” he told TheSouthern. “We lacked sharpness and it was bitterly cold which made things harder.

“We will need to lift ourselves for another big game next week at home.”

Reivers: S. Young, P. Conkie, S. Ross, B. Montgomery, S. Ramsay, Callum Stockdale, W. Dixon, A. Bell, G. Lofthouse, R. Girvan, S. Pitman. Subs: Colin Stockdale, P. Cairns, G. Edwards, P. Gibson.