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Lochaber Hockey Club made their mark on a national competitive level as they took victory in the recent Oban Mixed 7s hockey tournament at Taynuilt.
The club, which only reformed a year and a half ago, travelled south on Saturday, June 15, where eight clubs from across Scotland were all vying for success.
The first game of the tournament saw Lochaber take on a competitive Dumfries side. Lochaber’s Cameron Dykes scored the opening goal but Dumfries managed to take a 2-1 lead after half-time. Lochaber’s continued pressure eventually paid off when forward Chris Findlay levelled the match at 2-2, which is how it would finish.
Lochaber then faced up against west coast rivals Mull, who would prove themselves to be a good quality outfit as the tournament wore on. Lochaber got an early goal through forward Findlay and were able to soak up some late pressure to see out the game 1-0.
In the final game of the group stages, the Fort William side took on a Lorne team with top spot up for grabs in the group. The game went back and forth with Daniel Davidson scoring for Lochaber before Lorne equalised to see the game finish 1-1 meaning Lochaber finished second in their group.
This set up a mouth watering clash with Skye which proved to be a frenetic encounter. Lochaber scored the only goal through a superbly worked and finished move by Dykes. In the final few minutes Lochaber’s stellar defence once again was able to soak up some late pressure and see out the match 1-0 to set up a final appearance.
Familiar foe Mull were the opponents in the final but this game was a completely different affair from that earlier in the day. Mull enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and had the best passages of play. However, Lochaber’s defence once again proved too strong and they were able to hold on thanks to their battling female players in defence, who incredibly had played every minute of every match. With the final ending 0-0, a penalty shootout beckoned.
It was Lochaber goal keeper Ryan Murphy, who had been playing outfield in the first two games of the tournament, who would shine as he saved every Mull penalty. That meant that Daniel Davidson and Grant Matheson’s converted penalties were enough to secure outright victory for Lochaber.
As well as the 7s tournament trophy, Lochaber were also presented with a shield for winning the inaugural West Highland Mixed Hockey League, which was contested between Lochaber, Oban, Mull and Skye.
Lochaber would like to send their appreciation to Oban Hockey Club for the organisation of a fantastically run 7s tournament which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
The club want to encourage anyone who would like to get involved in the team, regardless of ability or experience, to contact them through the Facebook page to find out when training will commence after the summer break.