Scotland: Wildcats take over pole position in the men`s indoor first division

The men`s indoor first division is certainly a competitive environment, after this weekend`s matches the top of the table was turned upside down. After two wins and a draw champions Western took over top spot with a cushion of three points.

After losing to losing to Wildcats and a shock draw with Watsonians, Inverleith drop down to third on goal difference to Grove Menzieshill. Grove Menzieshill held Western to a draw and then beat Grange to retain second spot and very much in contention.

Western Wildcats, with a full squad of twelve including import Jamie Golden, provided a goal feast in the opening match at the Peak with a 12-1 mauling of Clydesdale.

It was only 3-0 at the interval, Andrew McConnell opened in three minutes but the next two came from Golden just before the interval.

The second half produced an avalanche started by Fraser Moran, a further three from McConnell, two from Hamish Galt, Nikki Homfray, Jamie Golden again for his hat-trick and finally Callum Duke. Clydesdale did manage a consolation at a penalty corner by Andrew Allan.

Grange pulled themselves off the bottom rungs with a 4-2 win over Dundee Wanderers. It was level at the interval, Aidan McQuade`s spot conversion was cancelled out by a penalty corner strike by Callum Ross.

Grange took control of proceedings with another spot strike by McQuade and then Michael Mackenzie, all within the space of three minutes. Wanderers` Bobby Ralph pulled it back to 3-2 but a late penalty corner by Dylan Bean settled the matter for Grange.

Perhaps the result of the tournament so far, Inverleith were held to a 4-4 draw by bottom side Watsonians in the traditional game of two halves.

Inverleith strolled into a 4-0 lead at the interval – Stuart Hatton opened, there followed a couple from Ewen Mackie and the scoring was rounded off by Charlie Jack. And the former champions were heading for another comfortable win.

But, oh no! There was the small matter of Watsonians` Dan Coultas – he entered the fray and proceeded to score all four goals in the final ten minutes, two from penalty corners, one from open play and finally from the spot – the final two goal coming in the last two minutes. That certainly knocked the wind out of the Inverleith sails.

Wildcats also had a bit of a stumble in their second outing with a 4-4 draw with Grove Menzieshill in a pulsating encounter. There was an early flurry of goals with Luke Cranney putting the Taysiders in front, Fraser Moran immediately replied for Wildcats, and inside a minute Ollie James had restored Grove Menzieshill`s lead.

The Dundonians continued to pile on the pressure and in 13 minutes moved into a 4-1 lead through quick-fire strikes by James and Cranney again. Things looked bleak for the champions.

However, the Wildcats gritted their teeth – Jamie Golden, Rob Harwood and Golden again with three minutes remaining restored parity at 4-4…and that`s how it finished.

That means Western and Inverleith are joint leaders with ten points, the former having a better goal difference, with Grove Menzieshill three points adrift. All to play for in the second half of the day`s events.

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But the top of the table clash brought Western to the fore with an 8-5 win over Inverleith. It was a late show, with three minutes remaining the score was poised at 5-5 but it was the Wildcats who got stuck in and a goal from Hamish Galt and a late double from captain Rob Harwood ensured that the three points and pole position left for Auchenhowie.

Earlier a double from Keir Robb put Inverleith two in front, Fraser Moran and Andrew McConnell from the spot brought the score back to 2-2. But just before the interval Charlie Jack gave the Edinburgh side a narrow 3-2 lead.

Back came Wildcats early in the second half with goals from Joe McConnell and Jamie Golden and then Kyle Taylor levelled at 4-4. There were further exchanges, Andrew McConnell put the Wildcats 5-4 in front only for Ewen Mackie to level for Inverleith…and the contest was poised for the closing denouement.

Grange had mixed fortunes in their later games, to start with the Edinburgh side saw off Dunfermline Carnegie 4-1. Grange were a goal up at the interval through Gordon Amour. In the second half Harry Eddals, Amour again and Cam Hunt advanced Grange`s advantage to four before Josh Love replied for the Fifers.

But later in the day Grange went down 4-2 to Grove Menzieshill which pushed the Taysiders level with Inverleith on ten points. There was an early exchange of goals, Mike Ross scored twice along with Grange`s Harry Eddals for a 2-1 lead. Grove Menzieshill advanced their cause with further strikes by Ollie James and Ross again before Aidan McQuade got one back for Grange.

A good day at the office for Watsonians, after their draw with Inverleith they moved from bottom of the table to fourth with back to back wins over Dundee Wanderers and then Dunfermline Carnegie.

And Dan Coultas was again in second half action to secure the 5-3 win over Wanderers. He opened the scoring in the first half only for Kennedy Gibb to reply for a half-time 1-1 score line His second half hat-trick along with a goal from Duncan Riddell knocked the stuffing out of Wanderers and although Callum Ross and Bobby Ralph scored for the Dundonians it was insufficient to obviate defeat.

In their final game Watsonians beat Dunfermline Carnegie 5-2.

Dundee Wanderers did not have a good day out but recovered some consolation with a 4-3 win over Clydesdale who went back to Titwood pointless., All the goals came in the first half, a double from Cammy Moran gave Clydesdale an early advantage but Kennedy Gibb and Bobby Ralph brought the score back to parity. Then it was 3-3 with goals from Adam Docherty and Wanderers` Oscar Brown, and finally the latter added a fourth for the Dundonians. And there were no further goals in the second half, so a narrow win for Wanderers

The result is that both Grange and Watsonians have moved out of the bottom echelons to be replaced by Clydesdale and Dunfermline Carnegie.

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by Scotland Hockey

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