Hockey: Inverleith retain title with gutsy fightback

Inverleith celebrate their title success
Inverleith celebrate their title success
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Inverleith hockey coach Stuart Neave hailed his players as they secured a second-straight national indoor title with a 5-3 win over Grove Menzieshill in Perth.

The Edinburgh side have not been beaten since the first game of last season and their eclipse of Saturday’s final opponents, who have dominated Scottish indoor hockey for more than a decade, is a significant achievement.

As the club celebrated their third indoor title, Neave said: “The boys have worked hard for this.

“We’ve not lost since the first game of last season and that is a significant achievement.

“They targeted winning the title and getting back into Europe and that is what they have done.”

On Saturday, Neave’s bravehearts had to keep their cool after going 2-0 down at Bell’s Sports Centre.

Chris Wilson fired Grove Menzieshill ahead after 11 minutes and Scottish internationalist Gavin Byers made it 2-0 three minutes later.

Inverleith are resilient, though, and former Commonwealth Games defender Adam Mackenzie slotted home the Edinburgh club’s first goal ten minutes later.

Stephen Dick levelled three minutes after that and Aeden McCrossan fired the champions ahead for the first time after 31 minutes.

The Dundee side hit back with a strike from Wilson 60 seconds later but two old heads saw Inverleith home.

Another former Commonwealth Games star, Derek Salmond, slotted No 4 after 37 minutes and Dick, with a little help from fellow Olympian Graham Moodie, made sure with a minute left.

The success allows Inverleith to travel to Denmark on Wednesday for the EuroHockey Trophy as indoor kingpins of Scotland. Coach Neave must now refocus his squad for a real step-up in class in Lyngby from Friday to Sunday.

The last time Inverleith played in Europe the club hosted the event at Napier University in Sighthill when they emerged with a bronze medal.

A repeat of that would be a major achievement as they are in a tough qualifying group.

Polish cracks WKS Grunwald Poznan, HC Valenciennes of France and Belarus combine SC Stroitel Brest await.