Azzurri Kelburne 4 ? 3 Menzieshill
After all the controversy of the SHU?s handling of this years event Azzurri Kelburne turned up to face beaten semi-finalists Menzieshill in a Challenge Trophy Match, in the knowledge that they had already been crowned Scottish Champions for the second successive season.
It was the youngest Kelburne U18 squad in history that took part in this showpiece game after skipper Michael Bremner & Alan Forsyth were drafted into the 1st XI squad, Scottish U16 internationalists Ben Petersen & Greig Cunningham missing due to injuries sustained in Poland whilst competing for Scotland and Simon Urie on holiday.
So U12 stars of the future, Brodie McKay, Fabien Goldie & Adam McInnes were drafted into the squad, alongwith Scottish U21 keeper Phil Carr.
Despite their youthful squad Kelburne started brightly and were unlucky not to take the lead after 8 minutes when a fantastic solo run by Josh Cairns ended with his flick crashing off the crossbar with the keeper beaten.
Mark Connor then failed to score with the goal gaping after the Menzieshill keeper saved Josh Cairns attempted drag flick from a short corner.
With Azzurri Kelburne doing the pressing against a physical and far older Menzieshill squad it came as no surprise when they took lead with Josh Cairns scoring from a short corner dragged low into the keepers right. The short corner was won after fine work from Miles Goldie & Lee Morton.
After this setback Menzieshill move from their half court press to put pressure on the Kelburne back 3, and it took a wonder diving safe from Phil Carr to keep the lead intact at the interval.
After the break it was still Menzieshill pressing and they equalised after a cross from the right was deflected high into the Kelburne net, 2 minutes later Menzieshill took the lead when a short corner was controversially awarded and Menzieshill scored with a low deflected shot past the Kelburne rearguard.
But the young Kelburne squad came fighting back and when Josh Cairns first attempt from the short corner was brillantly saved by the Menzieshill keeper, his younger brother Jason then smashed the rebound into the Menzieshill goal through a scrum of player to level the scores. With 20 minutes to go score 2-2.
After 55 minutes the impressive Jason Cairns then made a sliding save off the line to keep the scores level, on the hour Mark Connor was unlucky not to give Kelburne the lead when his shot went past after an excellent pass from Scottish U16 internationalist Craig Morton.
But Mark was not to be denied when with 7 minutes remaining Craig Morton again found Mark Connor in the ?D? and this time he made no mistake slotting the ball home to give Kelburne a deserved 3-2 lead.
Jason Cairns then scored and almost identical goal to his first scoring from a rebounded short corner save.
Menzieshill then scored a late consolation goal to make the score 4-3.
The game ended in controversy when 11 year old Fabien Goldie was cynically taken out by a Menzieshill defender who received a Yellow Card for his actions. The subsequent short corner was saved by the Menzieshill defence, and Kelburne were 4-3 victors.
A fantastic occasion and result considering the age of the players and superb performances from the likes of Ryan Edgar, Ross Lee & Michael Nicol ensured that the challenge trophy returned to Paisley along with the National U18 championship.
This completes a clean sweep for the Azzurri Juniors this year winning all tournaments Indoor and Outdoor at District & National Level at all age groups, a fantastic achievement from Scotland No. 1 hockey club.
Azzurri Kelburne Cup Winning Squad;
1. Phil Carr
2. Ross Lee
3. Jason Cairns
4. Craig Morton
5. Ryan Edgar
6. Josh Cairns (Capt)
7. Michael Nicol
8. Lee Morton
9. Miles Goldie
10. Mark Connor
11. Fabien Goldie
12. Adam McInnes
13. Brodie Mackay
Coach: Jeff Cairns
Squad Members unable to play on Finals Day
1. Michael Bremner
2. Alan Forsyth
3. Greig Cunningham
4. Ben Petersen
5. Simon Urie