Month: January 2016

Challenge Cup Quarter Final 2nd Leg – Braehead Clan v Nottingham Panthers

First of all, for anyone living in the Glasgow area a visit to the Braehead Arena to watch the Clan is a must! The atmosphere is electric (at times!) and friendly (always!), it is a great spectacle of sport and one which I highly recommend you go and see.

THE CHALLENGE CUP QF

The game began in typical Clan fashion, lights out; the arena is coated in darkness as the spotlights circle around the expectant fans, over the tannoy the crowd is psyched by the familiar sound of Escala by Palladio which explodes into the Joker and the Thiefs popular Wolfmother track, the fans are excited, the hands and are going and the Clan enter the arena one by one, each player is given a heroes welcome onto the ice. Truly a spectacular scene to behold, and the game hasn’t even kicked off yet (pucked off – not sure if that’s quite correct)

To set the scene, the Clan are a goal down having lost 5 – 4 to the Nottingham Panthers in the first leg of the Challenge Cup Quarter Final. This was a dramatic affair in itself. The Clan showed great determination at the National Ice Centre to come back from 4 – 0 down to keep their cup run alive. Although they finished the game with a 5 – 4 defeat, they left Nottingham optimistic that they could overturn the one goal deficit on home soil (ice). The scoreboard at the Braehead Arena displayed Clan 0 – 1 Panthers. The pressure was on, the stage was set, time for the face off.

THE FIRST PERIOD

The Clan started the game looking very sharp, and the crowd was right behind their Purple Army. Braeheads positive start was rewarded with an early goal for number 16 Chris Bruton. An early equaliser had the crowd buzzing! It seemed like this could be the Clans night, but the Panthers had other ideas and with 6 minutes left to play in the 1st period the Panthers scored to take the lead at 2 – 1. Nottingham struck again, 2 minutes later, to pile on the Clans misery; two goals in the 1st period, 3 – 1 up going into the first break – devastation for the Clan. There was a missed opportunity in the final minutes of the 1st period when the Clan failed to capitalise on an important power play when the Panthers number 45, Steve Lee, served a 2 minute penalty.

To summarise, it was a great start by the Braehead Clan but they found themselves on the back foot for much of the 1st period. It’s not quite mission impossible yet though, they did come back from being 4 – 0 down in the first leg.

THE SECOND PERIOD

It was a rather uninspiring 2nd period. The first bit of excitement came with 9 minutes to play when the Panthers Steven Lee found himself in the sin bin for the second time of the evening. This was an opportunity for the Clan to claim a goal back but they were unsuccessful in gaining from the advantage. With 5 minutes remaining in the period the Clans number 6, Scott Aarssenn, was made to serve a penalty leaving Braehead with 5 men on the ice.

There was some entertainment towards the end of the 2nd period when a controversial ricochet helped the puck land at the heel of the netminder (that’s the guy in the goals) who hadn’t a clue it had crept up behind him. The crowd gasped and were instantly relieved when the puck was directed far away from the goal mouth. One move and it could have gone horribly wrong for netminder, Travis Fullerton.

Shortly after this incident the Panthers further increased their lead with their third goal of the night. The goal scorer was King of the Sin Bin, Steven Lee. The Braehead fans were put through the mill towards the dying minutes of the 2nd period; 4 – 1 down and 5 men on the field as Chris Bruton was made to serve a penalty – things were not looking good. Alas, the Clan endured and their number 5 Ben Davies gave us a laugh and entertained the crowd with his terrific left peg after he lost his stick to the ice. Good effort from Davies who continued to defend despite the fact his stick lay flat on the ground.

The laughter didn’t last long, and in the final minute of the 2nd period the Panthers secured their fourth goal of the night taking a 5 – 1 lead.

As one Clan fan put it, “Time to wake up!”

Overall, a timid and uninspiring display from the Purple Army.

THE THIRD PERIOD

Despite a strong start, the home side lost another goal at the hands of the ruthless Nottingham Panthers. Their fifth of the evening and the score was 6 – 1. The home fans remained in good spirit, and continued to chant for their beloved Purple Army in spite of the disastrous result.

The Clans pattern of play was far more direct and aggressive in the final period. But it was too little, too late for Braehead. Still, they soldiered on and continued to entertain the fans.

CLAN GOAL!!! Number 49, Brendan Brooks! Restoring some faith to the Clan crowd! The score was now 6 – 2.

CLAN GOAL!!! With seconds remaining the Clan score their third goal of the match. Captain Keith Matt gets his first and the last goal of the match. The game finished 6 – 3.

If only Braehead started as they finished. It wasn’t to be, but what a terrific night!

THE PURPLE ARMY

I have been to the Braehead Arena on many occasions, and it never fails to impress me. Crowd attendance is magnificent, the chants are great, the people are friendly and the camaraderie is second to none, as is the entertainment. Even with tonight’s dreadful defeat, consequently leading to cup elimination, it was yet again an outstanding night.

This truly is one of Glasgow’s greatest weekly events. Please get yourself along, I promise you’ll be hookeed!

PS. You can have a wee drink at the game! (If you’re 18 and over of course)

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Australian Open 2016, British success.

Johanna Konta has continued her remarkable run of form and has reached the semi finals of the Australian Open by beating China’s Zhang Shuia.

Andy Murray also had success in the quarter finals beating David Ferrer, to reach his 6th Australian Open semi final.

It has taken 39 years for two Britons to reach this stage of the competition. Sue Barker (semi finalist) and John Lloyd (runners up) were the last British tennis players to do so.

Good Luck Andy and Jo!

SD Eibar: Eskozia la Brava (Scotland the Brave)

SD Eibar was founded on the 1st January 1940. Formed by the merger of Deportivo Gallo and Unión Deportiva Eibarresa, the club was originally known as Eibar Fútbol Club, before changing to Sociedad Deportiva Eibar. The city of Eibar has a relatively small population of 27,000 (even Airdrie has a bigger population).

In 2014 SD Eibar, the Spanish football side affiliated to the autonomous Basque region, gained back to back promotion from Segunda B to the Liga Adelante to the promised lands of La Liga in a matter of two years (1 of only 6 teams to achieve the mighty feat).

The club at this time were met with a monumental challenge and faced imminent demotion back to the Segunda B, if they were unable to produce the necessary €1,724,272 to stay in the top flight. To the Eibar faithful and Eskozia la Brava (Scotland the Brave), this was simply unacceptable.

 

Eskozia la Brava

This SD Eibar supporters group was formed in 2001, when the Basque side were competing in the Segunda B.

The head of the supporters group, Joseba Combarro, spoke with Copa90 in 2015 and stated his adoration for Scotland saying:

“It’s a country where we admire their passionate support and the colour and the atmosphere that they bring to the ground. But the most important thing whether you win or lose, there’s always time for the post match activities.”

I think the Eibar fans appreciate that we Scots love a good drink!

Eskozia la Brava have taken Scotland to their hearts, and have extended their love to one Scottish team in particular, the Glasgow Celtic.

SD Eibar invited the Hoops to their home ground, Ipurua Stadium, in July 2015 to celebrate the clubs 75th anniversary. Despite receiving an absolute hammering, Eskozia la Brava and the supporters of Eibar cannot get enough of Scotland. The Eibar supporters have taken in the fitbaw’ at Hampden Park, Tynecastle, Easter Road, Ibrox and Celtic Park.

SD Eibars’ connection to Caledonia originated after a trip to watch the Scots play rugby at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. John Stewart, the piper invited to the 2014 promotion celebration in Eibar, explained the connection to the Sunday Post:

“They loved the way the Scots continued to support their team even though they were losing. In Spain it’s very different. If a team is 1-0 down, the fans tend to get on their backs. The guys from Eibar came home with a new way of supporting their team and with some souvenirs of Scotland kilts and ginger ‘See You Jimmy’ wigs!”

 This trip changed the identity of the small town club. Now, etched into the very fabric of the Armeros (Gunners) are proud Scottish traditions and values. The Eskozia la Brava group bleeds tartan, and as such the SD Eibar fans where depending on their Scottish friends to correct an injustice by raising the money to lawfully compete in the Spanish La Liga.

 

Defiende al Eibar (Defend Eibar)

The supporters sent out an SOS when their club faced administrative demotion to Segunda B in 2014. The clubs, and its supporters, launched a huge social media campaign. Essentially, Eibar attempted to raise €1.7 million through selling club shares at the minimum price of €50. The campaign successfully saw the clubs shareholder count rise from 1,800, based in Eibar alone, to 10,000 in 69 different countries worldwide, raising the necessary funds and then some. Through the social media campaign the proud club had raised a budget of €16m.

SD Eibar are competing in their second season in La Liga and are currently sitting 8th in the table, merely a single point away from a Europa League spot. This astonishing little club has shocked the world! And its supporters are proudly at the forefront of this incredible story.

Alba gu bràth. Eibar gu bràth. On yerself Eibar!

 

 

 

https://www.sundaypost.com/sport/football/spanish-minnows-bank-on-fans-scottish-spirit/

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SD_Eibar

 

http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/may/27/eibar-la-liga-promotion

 

http://www.insidespanishfootball.com/109917/sos-sd-eibar/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuS82pCBUas

 

https://twitter.com/EskoziaLaBrava

 

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13526170.Ezkozia_La_Brava__Basque_fans_of_Celtic_seek_audience_with_SNP_s_Sturgeon/?ref=twtrec

 

http://www.thebasquepass.com/sd-eibar/eibar-to-host-celtic-75-anniversary-match

 

http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/fans-of-basque-club-eibar-adopt-scottish-spirit-1-3613135

 

http://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2015/sep/03/eibar-model-another-kind-of-football-is-possible-passport-video