In case you missed it:
• Another all Glasgow final
• Glasgow victorious
• Aberdeen stands strong, make the semi finals
• St Andrew’s win spirit
The not so hidden storylines:
• Dundee started out strong on Saturday, topping a pool containing Saints 1, lose to the same opposition in game to go to Div 1.
• Strathclyde 2 lose to St Andrew’s 2 but beat them and Stirling 1 to make it to Div 2 for the second year running.
The city of Glasgow is ready for nationals as the two best teams in the region were a step above the rest. Strathclyde will be celebrating the success as two of their teams make nationals for the second year running. Having said that, Strathclyde’s depth doesn’t seem to matter enough in these games as Glasgow’s isolation of their best players out of iso and ho stack are effective enough to get them the gold medal. The final saw a sloppy start from both teams, leaking breaks before both teams tightened up to trade the game out. Does anyone believe a southern team can take advantage of the offensive frailties? Or will Scottish teams flood the top 8 once again? There were a few convincing victors in England, but it is hard to say whether the teams are any good or the regions are just weak. Never the less, it will be exciting to see if nationals will see another Glasgow Derby late in the tournament.
Edinburgh played out a pretty average weekend, taking 3rd. It is hard to read much from their results other than that they were not really pushed and then were not a match for Glasgow. They were comfortably the 3rd best team at the tournament but there is not much else to say. We wait and see how the season unravels for this lot.
Aberdeen show up once again. Making it to the semi-finals past St Andrew’s 1 was a brilliant achievement and showed that the men will play a big factor in the mixed team’s performances at UXIN and hopefully they can ride this wave of success and finish well at men’s indoors too. They ran out of steam against Dark Horses and Edinburgh, but the job was already done.
St Andrew’s, well, weren’t they just coasting through Saturday until they decided to draw with Dundee and finish second in their pool? In a game that everybody thought they would win, they failed to shut up shop. The confusing thing with this Saints team is that every game against first teams ran closer than expected. They played Glasgow and lost 8-6, a very decent result, however twice only beat Heriot-Watt by 2 and clinched a Div 1 berth by beating Dundee by 2 again. For this team to finish well at UMIN they need to bring the motivation they displayed again Glasgow rather in their other games or they will be out of contention rather quickly.
Dundee come out of this weekend with their reputation enhanced. Taking first in a tough pool before losing 3rd seed on points difference is harsh. Their drubbings by Glasgow and Edinburgh take the gloss off a little, however they proved in their rematch with Saints that they are not far off the pace for Div 1 qualification. This team is on the up and if they carry on with this trajectory, maybe we can stop talking about Dickers soon.
Heriot-Watt did enough didn’t they. They played some tighter than expected games against the two Glasgow teams, but also played Saints 2 twice and won by a combined goal difference of 3. Losing to Dundee and St Andrew’s sealed their fate and despite the early promise shown against Glasgow they faltered to 7th. They can be content knowing they have nationals to look forward to and they can go and do well but may be disappointed that they could not harness the consistency or motivation needed to qualify a few places higher.
Strathclyde 2 qualify in crazy circumstances. Seeing off Stirling and Saints 2 in universe point in their last two games. The Horses programme is doing something right to qualify their second team to nationals again. They showed throughout the tournament that they were one of the best second teams along with Saints 2, they even drew with Aberdeen 1 in power pools, a team now going to Div 1 nationals. A strong performance and perhaps a good omen for outdoors, we shall wait and see.
The predictions weren’t far off, the top 5 were the top 5. Glasgow have a history of turning up in the final and they know how to win, especially against Strathclyde. Dundee’s stock has risen a bit and the second teams performed better than I had expected. Saints 2 surprised the most as I didn’t give them a mention, but Horses 2 coming out strongest as I had thought would happen.
Tune in for a women’s preview tomorrow!
Points of note:
St Andrew’s 1 being in contention at nationals. This may seem like a weird thing to say for a team that finished 5th at regionals, however with Scotland dominating indoors for a while, it would not be mad to see them in the top 8. If they catch fire at the right time, they could find themselves in the semis. From there, anything can happen.
Hopefully the Div 2 qualifiers go down with full squads and smash nationals. Too often do we see weakened squads and lower finishes than expected from Scottish teams. These three teams can use the tournament to develop for outdoors and cause some upsets later in the season. Dundee looking particularly promising following a strong regionals outing.
Strathclyde show an immense amount of depth, let’s see if they can finally translate this into outdoors success or will they keep jamming it to their more experienced players in crucial moments and flop again.
Strathclyde may or may not have chumped it depending on how you see it.
Stirling are taking action on early season results. Lauded Chevron superstar Tommy Linson has been called in to coach their young talent and get this team to bounce back.
Thanks to Farflung’s page for the photo!