The boss scores four as Edinburgh University lift the Scottish Cup. - AD-HOCKSPORTS

The boss scores four as Edinburgh University lift the Scottish Cup.

Maybe it's been too much in recent years to expect these two great sides to produce great games every time they meet.  Well, no need to worry yesterday, as they didn't disappoint.  And with goal difference the only thing that separated them at the end of the league campaign a few days ago, the champions, Edinburgh University, were looking to do the double, with Grove ready to throw the proverbial spanner into the works and pull out the trophy they've won so many times in the past.

The Sunday late 4pm pushback time, with a relatively big support in attendance, produced a strangely subdued atmosphere under the cold, overcast conditions - until the first goal was scored 19 minutes in.  Edinburgh University Player/Coach, Sam Judge, broke the ice of the evenly contested match only seconds after Grove had thought they'd scored themselves - but that was ruled out.

Whilst Sam Judge can poach many a goal, she's an expert at creating her own chances within tight confines as well.  And nine minutes later she was at it again with another sweet strike to double her tally.  However, three minutes later Grove hit back, and hit back hard, with a business as usual  Louise Carroll penalty corner.

The weather was deteriorating and the temperature dropping, but the crowd sure were warming up now!  Game on, it seemed!

A lively first half was followed by a great second half. 

And on the 48th minute Grove got that all-important equaliser - and it was arguably the goal of the game, as Karin Belch charged in fast from the left, shielding the ball expertly as she entered the circle and then swiping it on her reverse stick through the university defence and past Nicki Cochrane at her near post!  It really was a cracker of a goal.

There's that overused cliché "end to end" to describe exciting, evenly contested matches, but this really was that kind of game.  At 2-2 it was poised and ready for a winner - team or individual - to step forward. 

There wasn't that feeling that running penalties was going to decide it, because both sides were creating to many openings in this fast paced game.

Well, it was Edinburgh University's overall lady in charge, coach Sam Judge, who put this cup final to bed, with two more goals on 61 and 67 minutes.  Her third goal was an absolute belter, on par with Karin Belch's for Grove 13 minutes earlier.  Her fourth was right in front of goal and routine for the ex-internationalist.

All credit to Grove as they kept battling - and they came mighty close themselves with a minute on the clock, with a great shot heading high into the roof of the net saved brilliantly by Edinburgh's Nicki Cochrane.

And that was it, a wonderful cup final match played in great spirit between women on both sides who know each other well.

There truly wasn't a bad individual performance to be had between both teams.  It's fascinating to watch the older more experienced players blending with the younger newer faces on the scene.

For Grove, Leigh Fawcett, Sarah Jamieson and Karin Belch had a great game.  It's completely her business, but goodness knows why Leigh Fawcett retired from international duties, as she's playing the best hockey of her life right now.

For Edinburgh University, Becky Dru and Mairi Drummond put in great performances.  Becky Dru was giving her Grove positional counterpart, Louise Carroll, a real run for her money when it comes to hard, precise tackling and great distribution.  In the second half in particular she was picking off her tackles brilliantly and then releasing the ball sensibly under pressure.

Mairi Drummond got loads of pitch time and for good reason.  The solid built midfielder eats up the ground in front of her as she drives in to opposition territory - and she takes no prisoners (in the nicest possible way) as players at times literally bounce off her.  She featured a lot yesterday, creating a number of chances for her forwards.

But, how could we forget the four-goal lady of the day, Samantha Judge.  What a day she had.  And for any who were hoping it would all go to the drama of running penalties, "Judgo" effectively killed off all of that with her third and fourth goals.  If she keeps this up, Britain will be parachuting her into Rio 2016!  Wow, now there's a thought indeed!

Congratulations to both sides for a great game, and to captain Kirsten Peters and Edinburgh University on their victory.

FINAL SCORE:  Grove Menzieshill 2  Edinburgh University 4

Andy Lovat 03:15hrs - 04/04/2016

Match entertainment rating ★★★★☆

Team performances:

Grove Menzieshill ★★★★☆

Edinburgh University ★★★★☆

Grove Menzieshill MOM:  Karin Belch ★★★★☆

Edinburgh University MOM:  Sam Judge ★★★★☆

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