by Shannon Scovel
Winston Churchill once famously said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”. On Wednesday afternoon, the Stirling 2s women’s hockey team took that sentiment to heart, consistently battling through the rain, wind and a relentless Edinburgh 7s offence before falling 4-0 at the end of 70 minutes.
Edinburgh dominated much of the game on the attacking end of the ball, driving towards Stirling keeper Iona Craig with repeated force, and navigating through the valiant defensive efforts from Stirling’s Rebekah Cranney and the team’s defence.
Stirling conceded two goals early in the first half, and despite late standout defensive performances from Stirling’s Janey Deehan and Niamh Coyne, Edinburgh managed to add more goals in the second 35 minutes.
Veteran leaders, including Stirling captain Iona Cruikshank and vice-captain Catriona O’Donnell, attempted to organize the 2s to fend off Edinburgh’s attacks throughout the match, but communication between players ultimately short.
Stirling fourth-year player Siobhan Grady explained that the 2s held only mild expectations for Wednesday game given the new team members, but she anticipates that improvement will come as the chemistry between the athletes builds throughout the season.
“We’re all individually really skilled players, but together we’ve never worked as well, so we need to work on that,” Grady said.
Head coach Siobhan Penman echoed Grady’s sentiments, adding that she hopes to see pitch position discipline increase among her players as they refine their roles and adjust to the incoming freshers. Neither Penman nor Grady focused on Wednesday’s loss; instead Penman remained zeroed in on bringing her team back together for additional practices and setting a formation that can allow the team to find success in the season’s later matches.
The 2s will compete again next Wednesday when they take on the Glasgow 4s at the Garscube Sports Complex in Glasgow, which should give Penman a better sense of her team’s ability to bring their strengths together in a cohesive manner. The Glasgow 4s will make their season debut against Stirling, creating a sense of anticipation for the 2s as they will be facing an as yet untested opponent.
The game will be another chance for Stirling to prove their ability, and Penman said she hopes her team can demonstrate enough improvement over the course of the season to earn a promotion from BUCS Division 5A to 4A.
“That is the big aim for this year,” Penman said. “We’ve gained a lot of new freshers, and we have a lot of experience and talent with them, so trying to use that as much as we possibly can to get out of this league, and hopefully a promotion is something we’re aiming for.”