A warm sunny day, with patchy cloud bursts greeted the mighty Stags as they arrived at the luscious, freshly watered peffermill astro turf pitch. Well rested and ambitious the the team arrived for the pre match warm up in excellent spirits. This outing the team was led by the stalwart Paul Diamond, captaining the valiant sevens for the first time this season, and looking to champion their success throughout the year. Paul welcomed a starting 11 consisting of Red in goal, Ray S, Ian J, Steve J, Andy L, James B, Mark C and Damien. The team short of numbers welcomed the support of Chris D and Grant from the club to assist in the starting 11. (Mark P and Thomas H ( on his first outing for the Stags) both arrived just after match start.
Facing the Stags on this fateful day was the young and fresh faced Edinburgh uni 6's. A squad of 15 began there warm up before many of the stags had arrived and appeared to be fit and in good health, not the hungover husks we had hoped for. However many of there squad was recognisable from previous duels between the two sides, with stupid pony tail boy, lanky stoner and two pints lad all clearly recognisable in there ranks. This was not to be the in inexperienced lazy slackers we had expected but an experienced, well coached team of valiant athletes.
The two adversaries lined up to begin there destined competition. The game started cautiously with both sides testing and probing the skill and passing success of their opponents. Many a mid field clash and tousle occurred , but extended periods of possession by the uni proved their practiced passing skills. The dead lock had to be broken, and at 15 minutes in the first half a surging run by the uni caught the cautious stags off guard. Recovering heroically the stags defence fought off the attack and launched the ball downfield to the poised forward line. Mark C and James B ceased the opportunity and charged like cavalry towards the enemies D. Skillfull passing and a powerful reverse stick shot by Mark C ended the phase of possession, sadly not with a goal but a uni hit out. The fight had begun.
For the rest of the first half, both sides thought an end to end fight, with the uni conceding 4 short corners and the stags 3. All attacked with precision and defended with passion the score remained 0-0, until 35 minutes in, blocking a thunderous strike by two pints lad Ian J deflected the ball into his foot, bravely putting his body on the line but conceding a penalty flick. Moments later the uni lined up for the flick and put it top left clipping a nimble but unlucky stick of by the keeper,Red. The Stags were 1-0 down, it was half time, but the fire in the bellies had not quailed and the team new victory could snatched out of the hands of defeat.
Starting the second half the stags came out with engines roaring, forcing long periods of heavy defending by the uni, who in their panic and desperation conceded several more short corners. The stags having a goal clear in their head lights got their just rewards when a blasted shot by Mark P bounced off the keepers pads and landed at the base of Mark C's stick, who flicked it graciously over the keeper and into the back of the net.1-1 and the game was back on.
Startled by there slumber the uni pressed and pressed and the a wall of stags pushing forward in waves to recover there lead. The stags holding back thesis tide got another couple of shots on target and further short corners, but the famine of goals persisted. That was until the uni changed tack and instead of developing possession and moving forward launched a number of hard long balls up field and desperate counter attacks. The stags defence expecting this of the young side held there own until a scuffed back pass from ray to Paul, was met with silly pony tail boy and two pints lad who caught Paul off balance. Paul making a last ditch reverse stick shot to get rid of the ball, scuffed the hit! The uni recovered and with two quick passes landed the ball square in the back of the net.
The stags, though frustrated and angry, fought on with the renewed vigour and passion. Pressing wave after wave on the uni's defence, gaining more short corners and many a shot on goal. Sadly all in vain and with no progress being made. The stags battled on until with 5 minutes to go the uni capitalised on there larger squad and fresher legs rushing quickly on the counter attack. A 3 on 3
emerged but lucky bouncing pass reached the back post and was hit in the goal by silly pony tail boy cementing a victory for the uni and a 3-1 defeat for the brave Stags.
The sevens lost that day but a fierce-some determination showed they were not beaten. Encouraging signs of improvement in all areas of the game showed significant progress on last season and despite the loss the grange sevens are most definitely hopeful about this seasons progress. With a league game and a cup game next weekend the sevens will be looking to push past last weekends defeat and get on the hunt for some scalps.
Edinburgh uni 3 - Grange mens VII 1
(Supported by a nice bottle of Rioja and a beef stew)