Hockey: Grange coach admits team wilted under title pressure

Western's Adam MacKenzie, left, challenges Grange's Duncan Riddell. Pic: Nigel Duncan
Western's Adam MacKenzie, left, challenges Grange's Duncan Riddell. Pic: Nigel Duncan
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Grange coach David Knipe admitted the pressure got to his team as their hopes of a first Division One hockey title in 15 years were dashed on the final day of action.

The Capital outfit were favourites to be crowned champions, but a 3-2 home defeat by Western at Fettes, coupled with arch-rivals Bromac Kelburne’s 2-0 win at Edinburgh University later in the day, saw the title go west.

Knipe, whose team had held a 2-0 lead in the match, admitted the defeat by Western was hard to take.

He said: “They played a really good game. We made mistakes and did not play as well as we can, possibly because of the pressure.

“Games at this level turn on little things but well done to Western.”

Indeed, the game turned on an error. Dom Wilde was penalised and a short corner given. Set-piece expert Adam MacKenzie, a former Inverleith player, netted to make the scoreline 2-2. Western scored again soon after that and there was no way back for Grange.

Earlier, Wilde had fired a nervy Grange ahead and Todd Mills scored the second, but MacKenzie’s double and a single from Roshan Anderson saw Western spoil Grange’s party.

Kelburne coach Gordon Shepherd was delighted to see his team chalk up a 13th straight title but admitted the success was unexpected.

He said: “When I woke up (on Saturday) I didn’t expect this.

“Before the game we talked about preparing for next week when we play in the Scottish Cup Final.

“I didn’t think that Grange would slip up.

“Just before we stepped on the pitch they found out what they had to do and they controlled the game.”

Ben Peterson scored for Kelburne in the first half and Lee Morton converted in the second to wrap up the title.