Borders players are top of the class in Academy Series
Seven U18 players from Fjordhus Reivers ladies were inlcuded in the three squads announced earlier this month for the inaugural Academy Series, which took place in Dundee, Glasgow and Uddingston over the weekend.
This is part of ongoing enhancements to the talent pathway, to give the best youth hockey players in Scotland the opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the national U18 and U21 programmes, who both have European A Division Competitions next summer.
Molly Byers, Livvy Hogg, Erin Lawrence and Molly Turnbull were selected for Edinburgh Lightning.
Hannah Millar was chosen for Glasgow Thunder, while Kady Hulme and Sophie Younger were picked for Dundee Devils.
Male player Charlie Jack, of Ancrum, helped Glagsow Thunder to success in the boys’ Academy Series and got on the scoresheet.
The ladies’ opening game was played on Friday in Glasgow. Edinburgh Lightning played some slick hockey in the early stages and went 1-0 up through Faith Joubert.
Glasgow Thunder fought back in the second half and equalised with a goal by Anna Hoolaghan from the top of the circle. With two minutes left, Lucy Anderson from Thunder scored the winning goal to give Glasgow the points.
On Saturday, Edinburgh Lightning played Dundee Devils in Uddingston. Disappointed with their loss on the Friday, Edinburgh were hungry for a win.
Both teams were evenly matched in the first 15 minutes and Edinburgh took the lead with an excellent strike from Neve Wood.
This was followed a few minutes later with a second goal from Holly Shepherd (Galashiels Academy/Watsonians). Edinburgh extended their lead five minutes before half time with a well-worked penalty corner – Nina Constable putting the ball past the Dundee goalkeeper.
Dundee Devils never gave up and were rewarded with a goal just before half time when Lucy Smith drove along the baseline and Sophie Younger was on hand to slot the ball home to make the score 3-1.
Six minutes into the second half, Edinburgh Lightning scored their fourth goal following a scramble in the D.
Despite continued attacking play from both teams, there were no further goals. Edinburgh Lightning won 4-1 and took the points.
On Sunday, Glasgow Thunder played Dundee Devils to decide the winner of the first ever Academy Series. Dundee Devils surged into a 2-0 lead in the first half, with goals from Jennifer Tait and Lucy Smith. The score remained 2-0 going into the final 15 minutes.
Glasgow Thunder battled hard and scored two goals through Ellie Mackenzie to pull the score back to 2-2, and then a third from Ava Smith, all within two minutes.
In the last minute, Devils equalised through Joanna Johnston to make it 3-3, meaning Glasgow Thunder won the Series on four points.
Dundee Devils won the running penalties 3-2 for a bonus point, finishing third with two points, and Edinburgh Lightning finished second with three points.
The boys’ Series, also played at the weekend, was won by Glasgow Thunder in two exciting games – one in Glasgow on Friday, where they took on Edinburgh Lightning, and on Sunday against Dundee Devils.
The Series brings together the best 60 young players in Scotland, providing them with a platform to impress selectors for the Scottish U18 boys squad to represent Scotland in the Europeans 2020.
Charlie Jack and Glasgow Thunder found themselves in a desperate position on Friday, 3-0 down with five minutes to go.
Euan Burgess pulled a goal back but, in a thrilling end to the game, with only two minutes left, Charlie scored a rocket of a volley to make it 3-2.
Glasgow pushed hard for the final goal, which came in the last minute, also from Charlie and, with 30 seconds on the clock, the Thunder v Lightning game ended on level terms, calling for running penalties to decide the ultimate winner.
Glasgow Thunder showed skill and composure to win 3-0 and gained the extra point.
Dundee on Sunday also threw up an exciting game, this time with Glasgow going 3-0 up, only to concede two late goals.
The Devils were unable to capitalise fully on their comeback as the Thunder defence stood strong, which meant a 3-2 win for Glasgow Thunder and a Series win for the boys in black.