Scotland: Top four places up for grabs in women’s indoor

The denouement of the league part of Women`s Indoor National League 1 takes place in Dundee this Sunday, and there are some very interesting matches on offer.

But this season`s format has been altered due to the unavailability of the traditional venue at the Bell`s Sports Centre in Perth, the result of October`s flooding. Now the teams will be split into a top four mini-league with the top two sides progressing to the GALA finals day on Sunday 04 February – while the bottom four will also play each with the side finishing bottom being relegated and the second bottom club playing off against the runners-up in division two. In each case all the results in the league format will be carried forward.

At the end of the day it is personalities that often make the game of indoor hockey so attractive.

An observer at last Sunday`s indoor matches nominated three. “Carmin Dow is still the best goalkeeper by a distance.” The Dundee Wanderers` keeper helped to keep champions Watsonians at bay until the stroke of half-time.

To continue… “Outfield, Sarah Jamieson was in a class of her own, Jess Ross also in sparkling form for Edinburgh University.” Jamieson`s highlight was eleven goals against Edinburgh HC while Ross scored half the students eight against Hillhead and two late goals in a 4-4 draw with Wildcats.

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Unbeaten Watsonians and Clydesdale Western have already qualified for the top four with maximum points after their five games – and they meet head-to-head in the second game of the day.

Both coaches, Watsonians Keith Smith and Fiona Semple of Clydesdale, will undoubtedly be out to win and top the league table, but in the bigger picture the result is not crucial to the destiny of the championship and the sole place in Europe. That is reserved for the Gala finals, which both sides will certainly be hoping to reach.

Both sides have pivotal players who can sway the issue, mention has already been made of Sarah Jamieson, but there is also free-scoring Emily Dark who can score from both open play and penalty corners.

But Clydesdale have regular strikers in Millie Steiger, Tamilla Matchett and Semple herself. As in last season`s final it should be a close contest, and it was a single belated strike to win the championship for Watsonians.

Later in the day Clydesdale take on Edinburgh University while Watsonians play Hillhead.

Dundee Wanderers and Edinburgh University are presently in third and fourth place respectively and interestingly play each other in the opening game of the day. The crux of the contest could rest on whether Carmin Dow can frustrate the students` strike force or whether Jess Ross can augment her goal tally.

At the moment Wanderers are two points ahead of Edinburgh and have Wildcats still to play. University`s final game is against Clydesdale, so the students really need to take the three points from the Wanderers game to have a chance of a top four spot.

And there are others waiting in the wings ready to pick up a top four position. Inverleith are on four points, three behind Edinburgh, but might fancy their chances of wins in their final games against Hillhead and Edinburgh HC.

In last night`s catch-up game Wildcats were narrow 4-3 winners over Hillhead and now move up two places in the table to fifth, moving closer to a top four spot. That could become a reality if they can see off Edinburgh HC and then Dundee Wanderers on Sunday.
There was never more than a goal in the contest although Wildcats were never behind. Kate Holmes opened with a penalty corner in ten minutes, Morna Sinclair replied for Hillhead before Lucy MacMillan restored Wildcats` lead at 2-1, and that is how it stood at the interval.
Four minutes into the second half Alex Burdon restored parity for Hillhead and that is how it remained until the 36th minute. In a late flurry, Holmes again scored for Wildcats but again Sinclair replied, but with two minutes left Alex Stuart notched the winner for the three points.


by Scotland Hockey

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