ESA Women beat Aberdour in the first round of the Challenge Cup

Congrats to the ESA Women’s team for their first win in the Challenge Cup ESA 3 (Bernadette Elliott-Bowman 2, Beth Evans 1) Aberdour 1 Player of the game: Nicole MacIver Most Improved player of the game: Beth Evans and Ellie Kemp On to Lochaber on 19th May!

Aberdour's Match Report (for more information please goto their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aberdourshinty)

MATCH REPORT - WCA CHALLENGE CUP v ENGLISH SHINTY ASSOCIATION (ESA) As late April and early May is the month of cup ties what with the Ballimore, the MacAulay, the Valerie Fraser etc .... not to be outdone by our senior clubmates, it was the turn of the Women's Development Squad to lace up the boots, check the defibrillators were on stand-by and get wired in about our opponents for the first round of the WCA Challenge Cup - ESA. First off, a massive hoorah to ESA for making it all the way from "Beyond the Wall" as they ventured forth to "the North" with not a single dragon in sight. Anyway you look at it, that's a helluva drive for a game of shinty and we doth the cap of cleverness to them all for making the effort - even though they arrived with dragon glass in their sticks. Curses, and a plague on their houses.... Warm welcomes over, a quick check over the shoulder to confirm that "the dead army" was nowhere in sight, and onwards it was to what turned out to be a really tense encounter with maximum effort being shown from both teams. This was the first time that many of our Development squad had taken part in the 8-a-side format, and the game of 2 x 35 minute halves was certainly something that many of our players were aware of - hence the defibrillator reference earlier.

With 2 of our more experienced players cup-tied from their fantastic call-up to the senior squad for last weeks Valerie Fraser tie, we called upon all of our remaining squad to give their all against what turned out to be more mature players both in terms of age. For example, we had a p7, S2 and S3 players amongst our numbers where ESA had a couple of previous Valerie Fraser winners in their ranks alongside team mates who I have on good authority had spent last night dodging about the darkest hostelries in St Andrews until the wee "sma oors ....

Before a ball was hit, our players were asked to give everything they had, to remember the basics (this is still "development" shinty after all), to block, to chase, to be first to the ball and to tackle. What I forgot to remind the team was to HIT. And that was the single difference between the teams today. ESA hit the ball very well and to be frank, our hitting was as forgotten as a forgotten thing on national forgotten day. As a consequence, we were always under pressure as we struggled to clear our lines, give our midfield or attack the opportunity to take the game to ESA, and found ourselves almost always on the defensive foot. That said, the whole squad put in a power of work leaving nothing behind them on the field with some first class keeping by Sandra Megahey ably protected in defence by Lorna Cooper, Wendy Chamberlain, and a blend of rolling substitutes in Claire McCulloch, Sara Hall and Nikki Henderson. Our midfield ran themselves to a standstill. Literally. It's really easy as a coach to bawl from the touchline (as I may seem I do from moment to moment...) - but these are the players out there putting their all in to the game. So hats off to Sunday Atkinson, Riane Cooper and Catriona Chamberlain for all their energy and efforts. Methinks a wee bit of learning was had by all in that department today, all good and something we can now pick up on and work with at training and league games. And massive respect must go to Rowan Cooper. Our youngest player today but WHAT a shift she put in. This young lady can swing for Scotland - and that's just exactly what she did all game. So much so, she was asked at one point to come back into defence purely to help with goal hits. Bravo Rowan, and way to go ma'am. First class cameo performances were also given my Chloe Pritchard and Louise Burns ensuring that the whole squad were engaged throughout the tie with everyone playing their part in what was sincerely, a very exciting cup tie. In the first half, ESA found the net first followed shortly thereafter by a deserved equaliser scored by the aforementioned Rowan. A cracking shot from distance by ESA found the net to make it 2-1 and that's the way the game stayed until the very last 30 seconds when a wee switch off at the back allowed ESA to bag their 3rd. Final score 3-1 to ESA - and well deserved too.

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