Edinburgh Napier 1sts 0
Ben Jamieson helped himself to eight goals as the Hockey Men’s 1sts annihilated Edinburgh Napier 1sts to go second in BUCS Scottish 2A.
His chief partners in crime, Luke Mitchinson and Pete Stebbing, netted three apiece as the visitors simply could not contain Saints’ attacking talents.
The victory came as no surprise – St Andrews sat third in their division at the start of play and Napier rock bottom – but the manner in which Saints went about achieving that result, and the final score itself, brought the hosts great satisfaction.
Saints began as they meant to go on, laying siege to the Napier goal, while their opponents were clearly pinning their hopes on the counter attack.
The breakthrough was not long in coming. Four minutes in, Jamieson grabbed his first goal of the afternoon after some neat interplay from Saints in the Napier half.
He added his second two minutes later (his shot tearing the goal-net), before his teammates got in on the act to effectively end the game as a contest within 10 minutes.
Mitchinson (twice) and Stebbing brought the score up to five in rapid fashion, the beneficiaries of Saints’ fluid passing and movement that the away side could not handle.
The hosts remained camped in their opponents’ half, although the Napier defence did manage to hold the tide until the 17th minute, when Stebbing made it 6-0 after yet another neat passing move.
Club President James Rivers came off the bench to put away goal number seven, and it was 8-0 within minutes, Jamieson again doing the damage with another finish from close range to reach his hat-trick.
Five minutes before half-time Mitchinson claimed his third and Saints’ ninth, before Jamieson finished the first period off with a fine goal after the hosts’ passing tore straight through the Napier rearguard.
There was to be no respite for the beleaguered visitors after the break, as the home side continued where they had left off. An efficiently-worked penalty corner allowed Jamieson to run through and score with aplomb.
Stebbing was allowed to run through and set up Jamieson to slot in, before Gregor Schueler lashed in a shot that took a deflection en route to the goal, meaning that Saints were 13-0 up within seven minutes of the break.
With such a substantial lead, the hosts were oozing with confidence and playing some sublime hockey, not least in their best-worked move of the match. They counter-attacked after the away side gave the ball away on a rare foray forward, moving the ball through Stebbing and Rory Hayward and giving Josh Lawrence the chance to score, which he duly accepted.
Hayward, who had missed an open goal earlier in the match, was more than making up for that with his general play as part of a seamless team unit.
Napier, meanwhile, were losing their cool (despite it being a bitterly cold day), with one defender taking a swipe at Schueler with his stick after being dispossessed. That lack of focus was unerringly punished, first by Grant Hunter after a goalmouth scramble and then by Jamieson’s tidy finish.
The pattern of play remained the same through to the end, even if the intensity did inevitably drop. Marshalled by captain Paul Ireland, Saints maintained their iron grip on the game and Lawrence scored after some prolonged pressure, swiftly followed by Jamieson, putting away his eighth and the team’s 18th goal.
Napier, to their credit, did not give up and were nearly rewarded with a goal, only for Saints goalkeeper James Bowler to spring into action after spending the entire game a spectator to make a solid save.
And to add insult to injury, the home team went straight up the other end and Stebbing scored with a beauty of a chip past the onrushing keeper to complete his own hat-trick and notch number 19 on the scoreboard for his team.
That was how the scoreline stayed, despite Saints’ best attempts to set up a birthday goal for ‘The Admiral’, and the final whistle finally put Napier out of their misery.
By contrast, it was a delightful performance from the home side. Clearly the fixture was a mismatch in the extreme, but they took full advantage with every player contributing to a fine team display and Jamieson, Mitchinson and Stebbing leading the line magnificently.
Tougher tests lie ahead in the BUCS and Scottish Hockey leagues, but if a result like this doesn’t give the squad confidence, nothing will.