Following their success in the group stages of the U16 National League, Kelburne?s youngsters travelled to Edinburgh Academy for the round robin final.
Today?s opposition took the shape of Midlands region winners Perthshire, and Eastern region winners Watsonians. Before a ball was struck, these finals had the makings of an afternoon of quality hockey with fourteen U16 Scotland full or development squad players taking part.
Kelburne?s coach Duncan McInnes was quietly confident given that half of his sixteen man squad has donned a Scotland shirt, with significant depth in the rest of his squad.
In the first game of the round robin Watsonians overcame the fantastic resolve of Perthshire to win 4-3 in a thrilling match.
Kelburnes first match was against Perthshire, The starting lineup was Blair Martin in goal, with a defence of Martin Byrne, Connor Bain, Ruairadh McArthur and Fabian Goldie. The midfield was Jack McKenzie, Jack McAllister and Andrew Duff, while the forwards were Dean Kennedy, Adam McInnes and twelve year old Jack Jamieson.
Kelburne immediately took the game to the Midland opposition and it took only eight minutes for them to work an excellent move down the left hand side to see Jack McKenzie coolly slot the ball past the Perthshire Keeper. Constant pressure from Kelburne high in the Perthshire half saw Adam McInnes flick the ball into the left hand side of the oppositions goal for goal number two.
Coach McInnes was rotating Lucas Farndale and Aiden Fitzgerald up front, Ed McGuire and James ?Cupcake? MacPherson in defence, and Neil McIntyre between midfield and attack and it was following a short corner after twenty one minutes that young McIntyre showed excellent composure and nailed goal number three with a fine strike.
Goal number four fell to Dean Kennedy after thirty minutes. In a rare defensive mistake the opposition picked up their only goal of the half just before the half time whistle.
Half time: Kelburne U16 XI 4-1 Perthshire U16 XI
The second half started badly for Kelburne with the opposition picking up an easy goal after two minutes. The negative effect of the early goal was superceded with an excellent solo effort from Jack McKenzie which resulted in goal number five after 13 minutes. The Perthshire boys then bounced back with another goal from a short corner after sixteen minutes. Kelburne saw out the rest of the half camped in the Perthshire side of the pitch.
Full time: Kelburne U16 XI 5-3 Perthshire U16 XI
After a short break the Paisley youngsters took on Watsonians, in the crunch match of the round robin.
Needing a draw or better to seal victory the youngsters, in combinations of the sixteen man pool, forced the game into the half of the East winners.
Jack McKenzie picked up the first goal of the match after the second short corner of the game. The score line was quickly doubled following another superb blisteringly quick, solo run by Jack McKenzie.
Adam McInnes picked up goal number three with another fantastic strike after fifteen minutes. Kelburne pressed the game constantly to their opponents from the East and when required the Kelburne defence mopped up any loose balls.
Half time: Watsonians U16 XI 0-3 Kelburne U16
In his half time team talk, coach McInnes asked his young charges for more of the same and asked them to weather the storm which he expected from the opposition in the first ten minutes of the second half.
Watsonians piled the pressure on from the pushback and it was only through excellent defence from Blair Martin and his defenders that they didn?t score from an early short corner. Watsonians pushed deep into the Kelburne half and were rewarded with a fine goal. Despite trying to weather the storm Kelburne lost a series of short corners and the opposition picked up another goal.
As both sets of players started to feel the strain of two full games in quick succession, Kelburne dug deep into their reserves. A well worked series of passes to the top of the D found Jack Jamieson in front of the Watsonian keeper and despite significant pressure, the youngster found the back of the net.
As the game came to an end Watsonians efforts were rewarded with another goal.
Full time: Watsonians U16 XI 3-4 Kelburne U16
KELBURNE HOCKEY CLUB - 2012 U16 NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS ? WE GROW TALENT
The Kelburne U16 squad this year has been made up of a mixture of experienced players through to a large group of inexperienced players playing U16 hockey for the first time. As a group of young men they have all stepped up to the plate, with the experienced players setting a fine example to their younger team mates.
Thanks to coaches Duncan McInnes and Willie Marshall and to umpire Ronnie Martin for their efforts in the group and final stages, and to all of the parents who supported the team in their endeavours.