Scottish Circuit Event 2, Glasgow

Sunday 20 November 2016 and it is freezing outside as players converge on Glasgow to compete at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew.

A few notable absentees on the day but that didn’t affect the players who did make it!
Group 1: Gareth Christie, Rob Conway and John Halpin.
Group 2: Steve Bennett, Dave Baxter and Baver Bari.
Group 3: Malcolm Lees, Andy Beskaby and Tom Burns.
Group 4: Colin Berry, John Mathieson, Craig Thom and Dave Minty.

Group 1 
The opener was Christie v Conway and this was an unbelievable game! Conway hustled and harried Christie throughout this game and made life extremely tough for his opponent, so much so he took the lead early in the second half with a lightning strike to stun Gareth. Christie was finding things tough going but we are beginning to see a resurgence in Conway’s game of late. Christie dug in deep, got a foothold in the match and started to put the pressure on and it paid off midway through the second half with a well worked deflected shot from the corner of the shooting area which went over the keeper into the far corner. The game ended 1-1 and heartbreak for Conway.
John Halpin and Rob Conway fought out a tough 1-1 draw and in the end it was probably a fair result given the past history between these two. The draw turned out to be beneficial to Conway.
The final game of the group saw Halpin giving Christie a real run for his money and this one ended with a bit of a disagreement between Halpin and the referee, but to no avail, Christie winning 2-0. Christie finished in top spot with Conway’s two draws gaining him second place and an aggrieved Halpin third!

Group 2
First off Steve Bennett was pitched against Baver Bari. This final score line could have been a lot different if Baver had scored his two early chances when Bennett was a bit lax in defence. Bennett eventually woke up and scored in each of his first four attacks, the game ending rather one sided at 8-0.
Next game was Baxter v Bari and a wee shock was in store for the Dundonian as he conceded all three of Bari’s efforts and lost it 3-2. Dave’s next game was against fellow Dundonian, Bennett.
As far as recent games have gone between these two it was another tight battle only to be won 3-1 by Steve, a brilliant consolation goal being scored by Dave late in the second half.
Congratulations to Baver on finishing second in the group!

Group 3
This was clearly the group of death, but for whom! As it turned out it was for Andy Beskaby. He lost his opener 3-1 to Malcolm Lees, who would later appear in the final, and also went down 2-0 to Tom Burns. Thus Andy would not progress from the group which is uncharacteristic for Beskaby!
Honours for top spot were won by Malcolm Lees in a tight and challenging 2-1 victory over fellow GTSA player, Tom Burns, a result that clearly was one that Tom wanted to win!

Group 4
This was surely going to be Colin Berry’s come the end of his three games and he didn’t disappoint.
In the GTSA derby he got the better of Mathieson albeit by a solitary goal in a 1-0 score line.  Mathieson, however,is improving all the time. The DUTFC derby between Craig and Dave saw Craig victorious in a 2-1 opener. Thom failed to keep the winning formula as he went down 1-0 to Mathieson and after another close battle he went down 1-0 to Berry, this result securing a 9 point total for Berry!
Dave Minty playing in only his second STFA event lost 4-0 to Berry and 2-0 to Mathieson, not a bad start for the new player!

The Quarter Finals
This saw Christie edge out Burns 2-1 in a very hard fought game, one in which Tom felt aggrieved not to be level at half time when his shot crossed the line after the whistle.
Steve Bennett had it fairly easy as he racked up a 7-0 against John Mathieson. Probably the most enthralling game in this round was Conway v Lees as this one ended up at 1-1 after extra time. Lees went behind on shots but recovered to win 2-1. In the remaining match it was Colin Berry who overcame a brave battling Baver Bari with a 3-2 victory. It was a great performance by Baver running his clubmate so close!

Semi Finals
Malcolm Lees made short work of Colin Berry with a thumping 7-0 victory to take him into the final but against whom, Christie or Bennett?
This second semi final was as close as these two have played in recent times being a defensive and midfield battle for supremacy!

There weren’t many attempts on either player’s goal such was the excellent defending, but a well placed Bennett strike midway through the first half was enough to win this encounter.

The Final
Malcolm Lees was thirty minutes from his first circuit victory! The first half was fairly tight with both players going end to end and Steve’s defence a pale shadow of the way it performed in the semi final. Nevertheless he went in at half time with a deflected goal over the Lees’ keeper. The second half was, however, a more polished half by both players. Perseverance paid off for Steve as he scored another two before Malcolm gifted a fourth when his spare keeper lost the ball. Steve finished that with one touch but near the end Malcolm got on the scoreboard with a cracking goal but in the end it was not enough.
Result: Bennett 4-1 Lees

After two events Steve Bennett and Gareth Christie are joint leaders on 92 points with Tom Burns third on 83.


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