After defeat yesterday away against Edinburgh University, MCC Western ladies were looking to take all three points today at home, with no questions asked - and that's precisely what they did, at the expense of GHK ladies.
Barely two minutes in and ex-Edinburgh Uni girl, Heather Lang, got her first of three goals to add to the other five that the Western ladies despatched with ease. Unfortunately for GHK, from that first goal in, you just knew that the ladies in orange were not going to let up.
And to be honest Western could have, and possibly should have, taken the score line into double figures. But they were stopped from doing that by a very young GHK side who quite fascinatingly had their own 70 minute "journey". They started poorly, and certainly for the first 20 minutes or so gave the ball away cheaply, causing themselves endless problems on top of the mountainous task they had ahead of them anyway. However, gradually as the game marched on and with the goals slipping past them, they started to pull themselves together despite it all - and under the constant instruction of coach Kane they tried, under non-stop pressure in their own circle, to play a disciplined game. By the third quarter and already a handful of goals down, the heads were starting to rise again and they were marking a lot better. In the first half they had understandably panicked a little under the relentless pressure. In the second half they were far more confident in possession and prepared to "travel" with the ball (as instructed by coach Kane), out of defence instead of walloping it aimlessly out of their own D. GHK were definitely improving as the game went on and did seriously well to keep the score down to 8-0. All credit to their young keeper, who by the end of the first half must have been shell-shocked. Deep into the second half and she was pulling off some great saves and gaining in ever more confidence. And the young girl in front of her, in a sweeper's role, was equally as good and getting better and better as the game (read endurance test!) went on.
This, however, was Western's day. For them it was a routine win, from a side that is barely recognisable from three to five years ago. Coach Derek Forsyth came in at the start of this season and is building his own squad. And some of the younger players, new to it all, are looking mighty impressive.
But the tireless engine house today consisted of some senior internationalists (some just back from the Scotland Senior Ladies trip to South Africa) who really took their game to the opposition. The GHK side were camped in their own circle for close on the entire game - and goodness, they were up against some determined faces, no doubt still smarting from yesterday's defeat against Edinburgh University. Sisters Ali and Heather Howie were in top form as they drove direct at every opportunity whilst resisting the temptation to be ball-greedy given the space they were afforded at times. Millie Brown and Heather Lang were extremely lively and scored some cracking goals, with Lang earning herself a hat-trick. Alex Wilson was also very effective coming down the left flank looking to score or assist. And Jen Eadie was as solid as ever within a good all-round team performance.
It was indeed a good Western team performance, and in fairness - and with the respect to the opposition - didn't need to be more than that (an 8-0 score line should be par for the course when you compare the two sides) And whilst it will be exciting to see how the rest of the season pans out for the Western ladies, what's far more interesting/exciting is the prospect and potential of the rebuilding and building, as they look to next season and beyond.
FINAL SCORE: MCC Western 8 GHK 0
Team performances rated:
MCC Western ★★★☆☆
GHK Ladies ★★★☆☆
Man of the match: Heather Lang [MCC Western]
Click here for a selection of shots from today's match