Victory for Dumfries at Auchenhowie – Hockey News

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The men’s team headed up to Glasgow for their first final in 20 seasons and faced the daunting task of beating a strong Clydesdale team. Backed by a large following of fans the team took to the field under the searing heat.

The game started at 100mph, although nerves were evident, and this resulted in several missed traps and misplaced passes.  Dumfries eventually got into their rhythm and knocked the ball around the pitch well and soon the first real chance came after a neat-through ball Johnston had a challenging 1-on-1 with the ‘Dale keeper but unfortunately due to the tight angle was unable to make it count. The next chance fell to Aitken who failed to connect with a clean ball across the goal. In this half the men from the southside of Glasgow failed to create many clear-cut chances with keeper Steele called into action just the once. HT 0-0.

At halftime fluids were taken on board and ideas were shared, the team knew if they just kept playing their way, they would be successful.

Clydesdale started the second half much stronger as they looked more likely to break the deadlock and Steele was called into action repeatedly making many a fine save- the pick of the bunch being a strong hand to a shot headed towards the top left corner. Steele was not alone in holding back the Clydesdale tide with Stott also making several well-timed challenges and Rennie being the calm general at the back. After surviving the ‘Dale onslaught Dumfries managed to work themselves into the game and got onto the ball. The deadlock was finally broken- the ball was turned over in midfield and a pass from Marshall found its way to Mair who went on one of his trademark mazy runs beating several defenders for pace before slotting the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper. 0-1. Clydesdale looked to immediately respond through a short corner but once again the Dumfries backline stood firm. It was at this point the Southsiders temporarily went down to 10 men as the only card in the match was shown due to a robust stick tackle, although the men in red failed to capitalize on their man advantage. Dumfries continued to press and wayward ball along the Clydesdale backline fell to Aitken who entered the D and coolly slotted the ball past the keeper to double the lead. 0-2. As the game wore on tiredness started to have an impact with the sun sapping many of the team’s energy although at this point the crowd picked up on this and rallying cries of “Let’s go Dumfries, let’s go!” boomed out around Auchenhowie; this drove the players on to try and finish the job and Graham went very close to putting the game to bed. After neat work by Boulton the ball fell to Johnston and the bearded wizard zipped the ball across the D, Graham applied a deft touch, but the ball rattled off the post before going out for a side-line. With the full-time whistle imminent, Clydesdale worked themselves a short corner, although once again the backline stood firm to preserve a clean sheet. FT 0-2.

For some in the team post-game was rather emotional as the weight of history was lifted from their shoulders. Many of the team had fantastic games such as Stott and Boulton but man of the match was Steele who was superb all game. Post-game, the team were presented with the trophy by West District President Keith Joss and then all descended on the Aitken family home for a BBQ. The celebrations continued late into the evening in Dumfries with the trophy rightfully filled with many a beer.

Many thanks to all those that came up and watched the final, without the support the team would have really struggled. In addition, thanks must also go to Gordon Black and all those at West District for organizing a great tournament. The men now have a summer break to look forward to and recover before going again next year in West 1 and also with a trophy to defend