The opening day of the Premiership produced some interesting results but 2020 leaders Grange (men) and Clydesdale Western (women) retained their reputation with first day victories.
Wildcats appear to be making the early running with a comfortable 6-1 win over Hillhead in their opening fixture in the men`s Premiership. Andrew McConnell was the catalyst with a hat-trick, Fraser Calder pitched in with a double and Fraser Moran completed the scoring at a penalty corner.
However Clydesdale are not far behind after coming away from Tayside with a 4-1 win over Dundee Wanderers. It was a goalless first half but the third quarter proved crucial with goals from David Nairn, Fraser Hirst and Andrew Allan at a penalty corner. Callum Ross pulled one back for the Taysiders with a direct shot from a set piece but any comeback was stifled by a fourth from Ali Douglas.
Grange, leaders when the Championship came to sudden end in March 2020, continued their winning sequence after seeing off Uddingston 3-1 at Bothwell Castle. On his Grange debut teenager Fraser Heigh put the Edinburgh side ahead in 17 minutes but by the interval 18-year-old Gavin MacKenzie had levelled for the Lanarkshire side.
However the second half belonged to Grange, English recruit Matt Murphy made it 2-1 and with ten minutes left Heigh again struck again to seal the three points.
On their Premiership debut Dunfermline Carnegie emerged 4-3 winners over Inverleith in a ding dong affair. Iain Bruce gave the Fifers a single goal half-time lead. Thereafter the score line advanced to 3-3 with Carnegie`s Andrew Doyle scoring twice from the spot. Finally, the winner came from a penalty corner conversion from Aidan McQuade.
In the other contest of the day Kelburne and Grove Menzieshill fought out a 1-1 draw, veteran Iain Scholefield was on target for the Paisley outfit.
The women`s game of the day at Peffermill ended in a 1-0 victory for Clydesdale Western over Watsonians. The only goal came in the third quarter with a penalty corner strike by Scotland player Jen Eadie.
Perhaps Watsonians` coach Keith Smith did not come away with the points, but he was nonetheless positive. “I think we did enough to have earned at least a point over the course of the game, especially after a strong start.
“We played well in spells, but with a brand new team, it`s going to take a bit more time for us to get used to each other and be able to do that for the entire game.”
Hillhead and Wildcats opened this season`s competition on Friday evening at Upper Windyedge, but left the park goalless. Wildcats` Kaz Cuthbert described the occasion as “dusting the cobwebs off.”
Although goalless both sides had opportunities to take all three points. Wildcats best chance fell to Rachel Bain whose close range deflection brought the best out in Hillhead keeper Lucy Harris. At the other end Wendy Andrews saw her effort sail over the bar while Ava Wadsworth`s chance was blocked by the keeper.
Dundee Wanderers were also held to a draw by Gordonians in the North East. The Aberdonians seemed to have the contest sewn up with a two goal lead from Hannah Mitchell, but in the fourth quarter Megan Cant and Iona Fleming levelled proceedings.
GHK started their campaign with a 4-1 win over Premiership debutants Uddingston, courtesy of a hat-trick from Aimee Anderson. She opened the scoring with a deflection at the back post but within two minutes Emma Worthington had levelled for the visitors.
However, in the second half the Glasgow side advanced, Zara Kennedy beat several defenders to score from the top of the circle for 2-1, Anderson added a third after rounding the keeper and lifting the ball into the net, and finally finishing off a pass from Tamilla Matchett. Uddingston pressed in the latter stages to get back into the contest but a save on the line by Carly Bisset and saves from keeper Ali Westwood frustrated that possibility.
In the final game Erskine SM beat Grove Menzieshill 2-1 on their debut in the Premiership. Two minutes into the contest Jordana Emerson put the Edinburgh side ahead, only for Florie Mitchell to level for Grove. The winner came in the second quarter through Amy Atkinson, and with no further scoring in the second half, that is how the final score stood.