Scotland: Top four now decided in the Women`s Indoor National League 1

After the final matches in the league stage of the women`s Indoor National league 1 champions Watsonians, Clydesdale Western, Wildcats and Dundee Wanderers have qualified for the top four competition, and will now play out for the right to a place in the final. The other sides will take part in the lower group to attempt to avoid relegation.

Dundee Wanderers kept hold of third spot in the table after a 2-2 draw with Edinburgh University who were breathing down their neck. Although Sam Sangster opened for the Taysiders in only two minutes from a penalty corner strike it was the students who reached the break 2-1 ahead through Sophie Hinds and Zara Kennedy. Just as it looked as if Edinburgh were going to sneak a narrow victory Wanderers` Amy Snelle levelled with only three minutes left.

Then came the “game of the day” between the top two, and it was Watsonians who took the three points with a narrow 5-4 win – the same score that won them last season`s final.

There clearly is nothing much between the sides and they will meet again in the top four competition, and who knows, perhaps also in the final.

Watsonians took the first half 4-2 with goals from Sarah Jamieson, a double from Katie Crawford and Emily Dark with replies from Millie Steiger and Fiona Semple. In the second half Kayleigh Justice reduced the deficit to 4-3 but another penalty corner strike from Dark restored Watsonians two goal lead. It all got a bit tense when Semple again reduced the deficit to a single goal from the spot with two minutes left, but there was no further scoring, and it was first blood to the champions.

Wildcats retained their interest in a top four spot after a 3-2 win over Edinburgh HC – all the goals came in the first half.

It looked as if Edinburgh were about to earn their first points of the campaign when Cheryl Valentine put them into a two goal lead after only three minutes. They failed to capitalise, Mhairi McGregor opened the Cats` account and that was followed by two from Alex Stuart, and that was that.

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Inverleith also kept their interest in the top four alive with a 1-0 win over Hillhead, Marnie Arnold got the only strike.

Clydesdale took out their earlier frustration on the Edinburgh students with an 11-0 win. The contest was over in the first 13 minutes with two goals each for Margery Justice and Fiona Semple, Laura Paul added another before the interval.

The goals continued to flow in the second half, Millie Steiger got one, there was a hat-trick for Kayleigh Justice, Paul got another and Semple completed her own hat-trick.

The Cats completed their meteoric climb up the table with a 2-1 win over Dundee Wanderers – they finished third and confirmed their place in the top four competition. The Cats were two up at the break, Mhairi McGregor and Kate Holmes were on target. Although Sam Sangster pulled one back for the Dundonians they were unable to achieve parity.

Now the Taysiders have to wait for the result between Inverleith and Edinburgh HC to see if they can hold on to fourth place.

Meanwhile, Watsonians completed the league section undefeated with a comfortable 7-0 win over Hillhead. The champions were four up at half-time, Sarah Jamieson scored twice while Emily Dark and Georgia Jones also contributed. Three more goals came in the second half through Katie Stott with Dark and Jamieson getting another one each.

Dundee Wanderers could breathe a sigh of relief as Inverleith went down 3-2 to Edinburgh HC, thus leaving the Taysiders in fourth place in the top echelon. Edinburgh left it the last game of the league set-up for their first win of the competition, but they still remain bottom on goal difference from Hillhead.

However, Inverleith were one up at the interval through Jenn Veitch, then two up with a goal from Jenn Tait. But that was the end of their scoring as Edinburgh drew level through Karen Maguire and Hannah Coull, to be followed by the winner by Emily Morris.

The last two games of the day involved the initial games in the lower four competition and both games ended in narrow outcomes.

Hillhead finally won another three points with a 3-2 win over Edinburgh University, but they are still in second bottom spot. After almost a goalless first half, Jessica Ross put the students ahead but within a minute Jenny Sinclair had levelled for the Glasgow side. In the second half Hillhead advanced to 3-1 through Ciara Goddard and Rachel Osborne at a penalty corner. With three minutes left Ross scored another set piece but it was not enough to save the match.

In a repeat of game eight between Inverleith and Edinburgh HC, this time it was Inverleith who came out on top with a narrow 2-1 win. Cheryl Valentine put Edinburgh in front at a penalty corner after only two minutes, but seconds later Jenn Veitch had levelled from the spot. It was left to Steph Bain to secure the winner for Inverleith – and the second half produced no further scoring, so Inverleith move to the top of the bottom four group.

by Scotland Hockey

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