CAPTAIN Gordon Black struck the winning goal last Saturday as Helensburgh Hockey Club’s first XI made it through to the second round of the Scottish District Plate tournament for the first time in almost 10 years.

Black’s second half strike was the only goal of the game away to CALA Edinburgh in the first ever meeting of the two teams, with Burgh’s win setting up a tie away to either Stirling Wanderers or Highland Hockey Club.

The game started well for Edinburgh, who were on the front foot early on; they kept possession well and had Helensburgh chasing the game.

Helensburgh eventually got to grips, however, and managed to retain some possession of their own, and it was the visitors who managed to get the first shot away, with Barry Cox doing the leg work for Helensburgh.

As the half wore on, chances were coming Helensburgh’s way, with plenty of space to be gained down the wings; strikers Cox, Alan Bowman and Gavin Mackenzie were all creating good width up front.

A number of chances were created by Harry Green, playing at left wing back, who was defending expertly and moving on to create attacking chances for Helensburgh.

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Edinburgh did have a couple of half chances in the first half, but the Helensburgh defence kept goalscoring opportunities for the hosts to a minimum, leaving the score a tight 0-0 at half time.

The second half started much as the first had ended, with little to split the sides, though both teams were pushing for a goal which left space at the back.

Cox and Bowman both had chances but nothing clear cut, while Edinburgh’s best opportunities came from short corners, but Helensburgh were equal to them.

As the second half went on, penalties looked like they could be on the cards to decide the tie – and having exited last season’s competition in the same way, Helensburgh were determined not to let it happen again.

Midway through the second half, after a failed Edinburgh chance, Helensburgh took their opportunity; Gavin McWilliam started the move at the back, with slick passing between Green and Mark Orsmby.

Ormsby found Cox making the run wide, and a neat ball in from Cox found Mackenzie at the top D – and the striker had the composure to slip the ball into Black who, just inside the top of the D, took a swing at it and watched as the ball looped over the keeper and nestled into the top corner of the goal, to the jubilation of Black and his teammates.

Helensburgh’s 1-0 lead was precarious and Edinburgh were pushing for an equaliser, but the visiting defence held tight, with Mark Findlay pulling off a number of impressive saves.

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Helensburgh nearly doubled their lead with some ingenuity from Bowman; a ball in from Ian Bowyer was hit low and hard, and Bowman managed to redirect with a reverse hit towards goal, only for the Edinburgh keeper to show he was equal to it.

With the clock counting down, Edinburgh won themselves a late short corner; the resulting shot was well struck, but Findlay was equal to it, pulling off a match-saving stop low down to his left.

Helensburgh team: Mark Findlay; David McGregor; Gavin McWilliam; Callum Sumsion; Ian Bowyer; Harry Green; Rob Heywood; Mark Ormsby; Gordon Black (capt) (MoM); Gavin Mackenzie; Barry Cox; Robert Whittick; Alan Bowman.

Thanks to Paul Bowyer for umpiring Saturday’s match.


THE other two Helensburgh sides were battling against one another on Saturday – and whilst they couldn’t field two full teams, the game was valuable for both sides.

Jamie Caulfield was having a field day up front as he managed to slot seven goals in for the second XI.

Sean Caulfield added a double and Josh Murphy completed the second team’s tally, while Andy Richardson with a double and Calum Ross were the scorers for the third XI.

The 10-3 scoreline didn’t quite reflect the game, but the second XI will be happy to get the three points and move within three points of league leaders Western.

Second XI: Matthew Payne, Richard Park, Ian Richardson, George McCallion, Brian Kennedy, Josh Murphy, Sean Caulfield, Jamie Caulfield.

Third XI: James Pettit, Andy Richardson, Paddy Walsh, Stephen Boultby, Ross Hynes, Calum Ross, Logan Hill, Carrick Mullin.

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