Following good performances against Edinburgh Uni and Grange, Kelburne 2's met current league leaders and local rivals Western Wildcats at Bellahouston, keen to take 3 points home and take the top spot in the table. With key players Gordon Menzies and Fraser Scott missing from the squad this week some extra skill was needed and provided in the form of short corner specialist Josh Cairns.
With the squad being shuffled around to accommodate for the missing players, the game started off fairly unsteadily for Kelburne as they were unable to obtain possession until a few minutes had passed. Western capitalised on this unshaky start and were able to win a short corner, though a solid save and clearance from keeper Jon Rooney prevented them from scoring. In an attempt to deter further incursions into the Kelburne 25, Stuart Robin administered a lesson to a Western player trying to play the ball whilst on the ground, this harsh lesson was not appreciated and resulted in a caution for both players from the umpire.
With most of the game being played in the central half of the pitch, it was 15 minutes into the game before Colin Bryce provided some space for Josh Cairns to break forward into the western 'D' and threaten the western goal, winning a corner. The first attempt from Cairns was returned to Bryce on the edge of the 'D' whose pass found stand in captain Fraser Hutchieson who was able to hit a Western foot and win a second short corner. This attempt was drilled into the top right hand corner of the goal from a Josh Cairns drag flick, leaving the Western defence somewhat shell-shocked. The remainder of the first half continued to be a midfield battle with some attacking spells, though without any outcomes, allowing Kelburne to go into half-time in the lead: 1-0.
The second half continued to be the attritional stlye of hockey from the first half, though cracks began to appear as Western became more desperate to get on the score sheet. Kelburne's defence, marshalled by Robin stood up to the challenge and were able to deny Western. 15 minutes into the second half a brief respite was given to Kelburne after a second cynical challenge on Ewan Carmichael resulted in a yellow card for one of the Western midlfield players. After a 5 minute period where Kelburne were reluctant to step out and challenge for the ball Western applied more pressure to the harried defence, producing a yellow card for Hutchieson after a slightly too physical challenge. Josh Cairns was moved to the defence and his aerial passing removed a lot of pressure by stretching out the high pressing Western team.
A second yellow card was handed to Western, this time their captain, when the Western substitutes bench refused to stop harassing the umpire. The temporary advantage gained was soon lost when Jason Cairns was yellow carded for an over enthusiastic challenge after losing the ball outside the western 25. With a few minutes left on the clock and all the players back on the pitch, a pass from Colin Bryce found Josh Cairns in the 'D' whose shot was dangerously lifted off the keeper, resulting in a short corner for Kelburne. Cairns stepped up again, this time beating both the keeper and the man on the right post with a drag flick to the bottom left corner of the goal for his and Kelburne's second of the day.
In the closing minutes of the game Western were awarded a short corner which was again competently stopped by Rooney, though the further clearance was lifted into a Western player, allowing them a second chance. Yet another fine save was made by Rooney, low and to his right hand side, and the ball was cleared to touch by Robin. The final whistle went not long afterwards, much to the relief of the Kelburne team. Not the prettiest of performances, but the team has shown that they can grind out a result if they need to and the defence can keep a clean sheet even when under considerable pressure. A good result to carry into the next game.