Reivers hold out for a draw

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Granite City Wanderers 1

Fjordhus Reivers 1

NATIONAL LADIES DIVISION TWO

Reivers took the long drive north to the oil capital of Scotland to play Granite City Wanderers, who are currently flying high in the league.

Granite City are the envy of other clubs due to the fact that they have a full-time coach, funded by Aberdeen Asset Management and Scottish Hockey.

To make matters worse, the Border ladies could only muster 11 players to make the journey due to the youngsters having school commitments.

This meant that the 11 who took to the field would have to play the whole game, compared to the home team who had a full complement of 16 and would be using their rolling substitutions to effect.

GCW passed back and from the start it proved to be a very physical and aggressive game, with both teams testing each other out, with no quarter given or asked by both sets of players.

On 10 minutes, Reivers gained a penalty corner after good build-up play by Laura Mclean on the left, the home keeper saving well to thwart her.

Some silky play by Sarah Mathers on the right of midfield created a couple of glorious chances, but they were unfortunately not capitalised on by the strikers.

Leisa Poole and Elena Lunn were combining well and looked sharp and up for the game.

Play swung from end to end with hefty challenges and stick tackles flying in from both teams. There were a lot of verbals given to the Borderers and they did well to resist getting involved.

On 18 minutes Stacey Tennent in the Reivers goal made the save of the season when, at full stretch, she parried the ball away from a certain goal.

For the last 10 minutes of the half, Granite City gained the upper hand. From a goalmouth melee, after initially being saved by Tennent, the ball was scrambled over the line.

Reivers did not lie down to their opponents in the second half, and from the restart, they harried, stole possession and fought for every scrap of ball.

And GCW did not know how to cope with a good old-fashioned battle. Janet Jack and Pippa Bell had swapped positions and were firing their troops up by playing some inspirational hockey.

This rubbed off on the Borders ladies and every player wearing the Fjordhus shirt gave 100 per cent and showed bags of courage and skill. It was not only the Granite City side that the Border ladies were playing, as the umpires consistently failed to give any form of free hit, let alone three stonewall penalty corners. This inability of the umpires to stamp any form of authority turned the match into a bad-tempered affair.

The Borders ladies were extremely professional and although being provoked, did not retaliate and concentrated on their own game. That patience paid off 20 minutes into the second half. Reivers’ defence stole the ball, switched play through Jack, who laid off to Denise Fairbairn, who in turn fed Leisa Poole. She cleverly turned her defender and fed Laura McLean, who had her front-stick shot blocked, but followed up with a super reverse stick shot to level the match. This was a fantastic passing move up the pitch which spurred Reivers on to further attacks.

The final whistle went and Reivers fully deserved the draw and the point. The 11 ladies that boarded the bus in the morning as a team, played as a team and worked as a team, and were a credit to themselves and to the Fjordhus club.

Coach Janet Jack was frustrated at the lack of respect by the opposition and the umpiring decisions, but was full of praise for her 11 Border warriors.

Fjordhus Reivers: S. Tennent, J. Jack, E. Newlands, N. Wheallens, J. Wilson, P. Bell (capt), L, Mclean, D. Fairbairn, S. Mathers, E. Lunn, L. Poole.