Saturday 16th September – Carnegie 3rd XI v Grange 6th XI @ Edinburgh Academy
The first league game of the year saw the 3’s away against Grange 6’s, one of the three teams relegated from division 1 last year. Like us, Grange had brought in a number of their talented youths to their squad and on paper, the two teams looked well matched. With the Carnegie captain managing to pull a muscle in his back during the warm-up the squad was reduced to just 12. But as luck would have it, new recruit Adam Cybulski was on hand to seamlessly step into the squad and join Mark Sutterby in the back line.
The first 10 minutes of the game was played with great intensity and saw both sides probe the opponents shooting area but without much success. After some formation adjustments, Lewis Cameron unexpectedly found himself in the centre forward role and took that as the green light cause mayhem in the Grange ‘D’ and win our first penalty corner. Unusually, the first corner of the game was not a direct shot on goal, instead a perfectly timed switch at the top drew all the onrushing defenders and left the stranded keeper to face a Sean Byron drag flick from the edge of the ‘D’ which he fired low and hard into the side netting just over the keepers outstretched leg. 1-0 Carnegie. This seemed to settle the nerves a bit and the following 10 minutes of the game was all Carnegie, attacking with ease down both sides of the pitch. Had the young Grange keeper not brought his ‘A’ game, the score would have quickly turned to 2-0 as he made save after save to deny the forwards and two excellent penalty corner drag flicks from Finlay Conroy. The score line did eventually change, as Hue Bishop gratefully accepted a close quarters rebound from the keeper to flick high into the top corner. 2-0 Carnegie. Grange did manage to create some problems for the Carnegie defence and it took a superb triple save and clearance from Robbie Pollock on one of these attacks to keep the score line at 2-0. Despite this goal line scare, Carnegie finished the half strong and that was how it stayed until half time.
The second half started with the same intensity as the first, the ball being moved around the pitch with pace and purpose and it wasn’t long before the increased pressure on the Grange defence created enough space to allow Ewan Forster to drive diagonally into the ‘D’ riding three hard tackles and calmly slot the ball home into the bottom right corner of the goal. 3-0 Carnegie. Although Carnegie continued to apply pressure, Grange were not ready to roll over and started to play some effective counter attack hockey, most of which was snuffed out rather effectively by the long, reaching arms of Ross Inglis. Grange were to pull one goal back from a penalty corner deflection past Robbie Pollock in goal and through Adam Cybulski’s knee to make it 3-1. 3-1 Grange. This did not change the flow of the game in the slightest and within 5 minutes, Ewan Forster found himself drifting left to right across the ‘D’ with the ball and played a deft underarm diagonal ball towards Hue Bishop on the back post that somehow managed to trickle past the sweeper, the goalkeeper and Hue’s outstretched stick to creep into the bottom corner of the goal! There was a momentary pause as everyone realised that the pass had originated from inside the ‘D’ and the whistle sounded to signal the goal. The Grange goalkeeper may have had an excuse for missing the ball as it trickled past him, he was probably still seeing multiple balls after having his bell rung by a fierce undercut from a ridiculously tight angle by Sean Byron on the previous attack! 4-1 Carnegie. The fifth goal was possibly the best worked goal of the day. A quick self-pass by Hue Bishop just on the 25 yard line drew the Grange defender creating enough space for Jack Tweddle to receive a reverse stick pass (yes PASS!!) from Hue which released Jack towards the last defender just inside the ‘D’. A quick pivot in front of the defender allowed Jack to hit the baseline and provide a textbook 90 degree cutback for Ben Stubbs to first time it high into the net for his first ever league goal. 5-1 Carnegie. The final goal would come from a classic Hue Bishop deflection from a superb hard and flat cross from the right that found the bottom left corner with just minutes to go. Final score – 6-1 Carnegie.
Overall a great result with some good team hockey being played. Next game on the 30th will be another test as we play Inverleith 3’s, the team that was relegated from the third bottom slot of last years Division 1.
Team: Robbie Pollock, Mark Sutterby, Adam Cybulski, Finlay Conroy, Ross Inglis, Jack Tweddle, Ewan Forster, Lewis Cameron, Paul Ralph, Hue Bishop, Sean Byron, Ben Stubbs. Oh, and glass back Greg Forster.