1st XI v Cargilfield 

With a near gale force westerly howling across Hallhill, today’s match against Cargilfield was not played in the best of conditions. That said, it was an exciting match between two well matched teams which contained some exciting hockey.
Before today we’d played Cargi twice: once in the sevens when we beat them and once in sixes when we lost. For 47 of today’s 50 minutes, there was little to separate the two teams but two goals in three minutes with just six minutes remaining on the clock meant that Cargi ended victorious today.
The first half ended without any goals. We’d played some good hockey, getting into the wide channels on occasion and passing the ball about quite well. Unfortunately, when we did penetrate their final quarter, there never seemed to be anyone in a good position in the circle and all too often we tried to carry the ball straight into the circle rather than passing it in and their defence was up to the challenge.
They too had a number of visits to our circle but our tri of defenders, Charlie, Josh and Oscar managed to restrict any shots at goal. Oscar worked away with his usual industry and showed good awareness, intercepting any number of passes or cutting off a number of attacks. Josh also had a good game today and seems to be growing in confidence.
At times our midfield pair of Sholto and Ben pushed up a bit too far and were caught out when Cargi broke but they also linked up well and made some excellent drives.
We were into the wind for the second half but despite this, I thought the boys actually worked a bit harder. I changed the structure a bit for the final 25 minutes, moving one of our defenders into midfield to allow Sholto a bit more freedom to press forward as I was determined to play more positive hockey even if it left us a bit short at the back. In the end, both of these things happened: we did press into their circle more often but were also caught a bit short at the back.
Throughout all this, Robbie had his best match of the season so far. His positional play was excellent and he delivered some excellent passes. We did break a number of times but, frustratingly, the boys tended to drive down the middle time and time again while there was acres of space out wide.
Cargi had pressed a number of times but finally in the 44th minute, they broke forward and one of the lads found himself unmarked in the circle. When the ball found its way to him he made no mistake and took his team one up. Then, from our resulting hit-off, the first pass was intercepted and within seconds a second Cargi goal had been added to the scoreboard. Disaster.
So, it was a rather disappointing result in the end and one which didn’t quite reflect just how close this game was. There were many good points in our play today but there remain a few areas in which we need to improve.
Belhaven Hill        0        -         2        Craigclowan
MOTM:  Robbie. Well played.

P.S. Well done all the spectators who managed to survive the bleak winds "baith snell an' keen".

William Townshend, 08/03/2017