Success on a Plate for Reivers

Reivers, winners of the District Plate final
Reivers, winners of the District Plate final

Inverleith II 3

Reivers 3

EAST MEN’S DISTRICT PLATE FINAL

REIVERS capped a fine season by defeating Inverleith at Peffermill on Sunday to add the District Plate to their recently acquired Division Two title.

This was a famous day for the club – their first major district knock-out victory.

Expectations were high at the outset, despite Inverleith having finished third in a league three tiers above the Reivers.

Fortunately, the Tweedbank men got their tactics spot-on. They denied their opposition time and space, quickly recycling the ball from front to back and pressed Inverleith’s youthful backline.

The capital side struggled with the early pace and it was no surprise when Andy Bell lashed home a deflected short corner, hitting both posts before the net bulged, giving the sizeable travelling support reason to cheer.

Perhaps surprised by their early superiority, the Borderers unwisely loosened their stranglehold on the midfield and conceded a penalty flick, which was saved by goalkeeper Stephen Young. But Inverleith continued to press and two straight strikes quickly left the Borderers reeling 2-1 down.

And it was little surprise when further Inverleith pressure forced a second penalty flick, which not even Young could keep it out.

The Borderers fought back and a fierce shot from Tim Watkin rattled the right post, falling to Scott Girvan to sweep home. The half-time siren sounded with Reivers back in the game.

Chastened, the Tweedbank men ensured they stuck to their gameplan for the second period.The pressure told with Graham Lofthouse scrambling the ball over, following a well-worked Bell free hit to level the match.

Several times Inverleith were kept out only by last ditch saves, while at the other end Reivers’ counter-attacks came tantalisingly ever-closer to unpicking the Inverleith defence one final time.

Cometh the moment, cometh the keeper; Reivers’ stalwart Young had confidently declared that he had a feeling the Borders side would prevail, and now he would be the prime mover in making this happen.

In a tense shoot-out, Reivers twice spurned chances to close out the match.

Suddenly, Inverleith had the chance to win, but Young’s heroics again kept the Tweedbank side in it.

Then Spencer Pitman stepped up and made it third time lucky for the Reivers, sending the Borders contingent wild.

Speaking afterwards, captain Peter Cairns said: “This was an inspiring win for the club and for Borders hockey.

“I am very proud of the way we matched our opponents for skill and determination, and refused to roll over.

“This was a great team performance.”

Reivers: S. Young, P. Cairns, S. Girvan, P. Conkie, D. Jonhstone, C. Stockdale (Sr), C Stockdale (Jr), C. Tucker, T. Watkin, G. Lofthouse, M. Kulow, S. Pitman, A. Bell, J. Fletcher, K. Darling, S. Ramsay.