ESA South West Shinty League Grand Finals Day 2020
After a fantastic season, the teams of the ESA South West Shinty League battled it out in the first ever grand finals day. Mylor Cons, CSM Gold, Mabe Shinty Club & Bristol Camanachd squared off in a playoff format to decide who will become champions of the South West & take the trophy.
First up was Mylor Cons against Bristol Camanachd. A scrappy centre game on a very uneven pitch between Adrian and the vastly fitter Mylor centre and scalp-collector of the SW Mossop kept the ball pinging between side of the pitch. Rock solid defence by Brown and Best kept the Bristol goal and Holt relatively free and safe. Big hits up the park and strong attacking presence of MacIver & Rouse allowed Adrian to push up and slot home the first of the day. Continued pressure from the midfield allowed Rouse to shoot home the second to give Bristol some serious breathing room before the end of the first half. Soon after this Adrian took a few big hits to the ankle and toes that would take him out for the rest of the match.
Second half and a few team changes (Adrian out, Rouse to centre and Noakes to fill his spot up front). Again, much of the same, an impermeable defence keeping Bristol safe and allowing Rouse to make chances for MacIver and Noakes were possible. Although the Cons had lead league table for the whole season it was this game that was to see the mighty Cons Fall and for Bristol to move on to the next round.
Match Result: Mylor Cons 0 vs 2 Bristol Camanachd (Adrian x1, Rouse x1)
The 2nd semi-final of the day saw CSM Gold play Mabe Shinty Club (2nd and 3rd places in the league) to determine who would be playing Bristol in the final. The first half was fiercely fought by both teams though with neither able to gain a significant advantage. Although gold got a lead in early, Mabe successfully tied up the scores by the half time whistle.
Gold made full use of their subs to give their players some rest, including bringing the keeper out field, while Mabe got more and more tired as the half went on. Gold was relentless, with White scoring goal after goal against an exhausted Mabe. Ross and White put the final nails in the coffin during the final 10 minutes with Mabe unable to bring back the score despite a valiant attempt by all players and a sneaky goal in the final minute.
CSM Gold: 6 (Feeney 5’, White 30’, 36’, 41’, Ross 45’, White 47’)
Mabe: 2 (Birkett 17’, Gardner 49’)
Mylor vs Mabe (3rd place playoff)
Sweat pouring from everywhere as Mabe walked away from their previous game as the beaten only to face the mighty Cons for a third-place playoff. Three really was the magic number today for Mabe after Spencer 'sent the ball into the back of the net within 3 minutes to what were to be a whitewash against the reigning champs. Goal two was short to follow hammered in by star forward Jamie Cranston. As the game moved on its like Mabe could not stop scoring from all angles with Spencer striking next at 31 minutes and Cranston at 35minutes. Mylors resilient midfielder Mossop sent one past the unsuspecting keeper at 42 minutes to make sure Mylor Cons at least had a consolation goal for the day. However, Cranston got another, securing his hattrick.
Match Result: Mabe Shinty Club 5 (Cranston x3, Johnson x2) vs Mylor Cons 1 (Mossop)
Next up was final. Todays match meant there was going to be new league champions. Gold were coming off a semi-final win of 6-2 making this match an answer to the age-old question: what comes out top between an unstoppable force vs an immovable object. Off the bat, whirlwind midfield presence by Rouse combined with defensive monoliths of Brown & Best kept Holt and the Bristol score-line the safest place to be in the South West of England that fair Saturday.
Big hits from Brown up the pitch and attacking runs from Rouse allowed MacIver and Noakes free reign to take their chances on the Gold goal line. 2 shots from MacIver found the back of the net in the first half to give Bristol their due and steal the trophy from its homeland for the first time in its history!
Match Result: Bristol Camanachd 2 (2x MacIver) vs 0 CSM Gold