LOCH Lomond Hockey Club’s two teams had a tough day at Hermitage Academy on Saturday, with the first team losing 7-0 to Rottenrow Blue Sox and the second XI going down 5-1 at the hands of Western Wildcats’ third team.

Rottenrow went into the first of the day’s two matches second top of the league, and wasted no time in stamping their authority on the game, going in front within the first five minutes.

Loch Lomond struggled to gain ground going forward, and the hosts had to rearrange to a more defensive formation after Rottenrow’s second in a bid to stymie the visitors’ number 11 and number 16 from coming up through the middle.

Rottenrow added a third before half-time, and remained on top after the break despite even tighter man-marking in the defensive 25, Rottenrow outplayed the home side with good runs from midfield and strikes straight from the top of the D.

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Loch Lomond pushed forward in the dying moments in search of a consolation but without success as Rottenrow ran out convincing winners, inflicting a second successive defeat on the local side.

The true test is how Loch Lomond respond to this defeat: they have two more games to play in the first half of the season, so there’s time yet to get back to winning ways and end the year on a high.

Squad: Elaine Brown, Sue Aikman, Sophia McDermott, Evie Harkins, Lauren McCreadie, Vanesa Sabala, Kirsten Bruce, Heather Cullen, Kim McCallion, Bongiwe Tshabalala, Alexandra Smith and Sharon Crossan.

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Meanwhile, Loch Lomond II faced a similarly trying afternoon against fourth division leaders Western Wildcat, who have been scoring goals for fun all season and had racked up scores into double figures going into Saturday’s match.

The visitors were energetic and organised from the outset but the home side managed to frustrate them and gave them a tougher game than they had anticipated.

Loch Lomond did have a few chances in front of goal and were unlucky not to convert any of these, but Western Wildcats were hard to press as they worked in a swathe going from one side of the pitch to the other.

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They attacked in waves and only stalwart defending and some great saves from keeper Heather Smith kept the score down to 3-0 to the visitors at have time.

The hosts’ tackling was better in the second half, and they played slightly higher up the pitch, which made a difference to their efforts; wave after wave of Western attacks yielded two more goals for the visitors, but Gillian Finch netted a fine consolation late on when she picked up the ball in midfield, pressed forward and worked the keeper before hammering home an excellent strike.

Although Loch Lomond II lost the game, they certainly put up a good fight as Wildcats, up until Saturday had only conceded 2 goals. Loch Lomond II should take pride from their performance. They fought hard in all areas of the pitch right up to the final whistle.

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Opposition Player of the Match and Player of the Match was awarded to striker Gillian Finch and runner-up was keeper Heather Smith. Thanks go to coach Anne McGregor for taking control of substitutes, tactics and encouragement throughout the match. Thanks also to Alexandra Smith for umpiring, it was most appreciated.

Squad: Heather Smith, Anna Currie, Kara Kerr, Jane Neil, Melanie Birch, Kirsty Richardson, Eve Howard, Jenna Gallacher, Caroline Lyall, Jenny Tripney, Ava Currie, Gillian Finch, Eilidh Hill, Rachael Peacock, Kathryn Fish.

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