Vets On Fire

YOU'RE NEVER too old to pick up that stick and do battle at a high standard level. Scotland Men over 60s have just returned from two trips into Europe. The first was to Kortrijk in Belgium over the weekend May 21/22 to take part in an international event hosted by the St Georges HC (writes Keith Forster).

The squad on this occasion consisted of: George Black (GK). Ron Fraser (GK), Howard Andrew, Alan Bremner, Douglas Caren, Ernie DiRollo, Ian Downie, Keith Forster, Freddie Lawson, Dave Mcintosh, Jim Mitchinson.Alistair Philip, Norrie Springford. Alan Strachan, Sandy Weir and Jim White - a fair old mix from North, West and East District clubs.

The first game against Alliance (a mix of over 60 players from various countries) was a disappointing draw. Our defensive work and build-up play was superb but finishing left a lot to be desired.

Our next game was a test to be faced by all the over 60s (but not counting towards tournament points) a game against Llamas (an over 40s veterans touring side). That 20 years difference in leg power was our undoing - Scotland lost (as did the other over 60s).

Back to reality - next up. Zestig Plussers (the Dutch National side). A better performance all round and we found where the net was, running out worthy winners. Final league game was against Deutschland. In our previous four meetings we have lost to them - this time we went one better and fought out a hard 0-0 draw.

Now we had to play England who won the other league for the right to play in the final. The standard of our play remained high throughout but neither side had found the net when the final whistle sounded. To our dismay there was to be no play-off or penalty shoot out. Instead, the winner was to be decided by the toss of a coin. Our captain Ally Philip shouted 'heads' loud and clear, but it came up tails.

In the 3rd/4th play off we managed to see off the Belgians by 3 goals to 2. Our thanks go to Ken Hunter who travelled as our umpire.

Three weeks later the over 60s were off to Rotterdam to take part in the European Super Veterans Cup over the weekend June 11/12. Into the squad came Alan Auld, Rab Keddie, Peter Monaghan, Doug Morrice and Keiran McLernan whilst out went Howard Andrew. Jim Mitchinson and Sandy Weir all due to non availability.

The opening game against a very strong England was a disaster. We never got to grips with their pace or their slick passing and as a result were easily beaten. Game two against France was a different story and our constant pressure on their defence and rapid closing down on players when they got possession bore fruit and we ran out easy winners this time.

The third and final section game was against Holland who had trounced France and drawn with England. This game turned out to be worthy of a final as neither side wanted to lose and a great deal of effort was expended in an open end-to-end encounter. An early goal from us was nullified just before half time, then just after the restart we found ourselves 2-1 down. The effort was continued and it was again all square on 60 minutes. 6 minutes later we got what proved to be the winner - but that last 4 minutes seemed to last forever during which we defended frantically - but held out.

So once again it was into the 3rd/4th play-off - this time against Germany who had lost out in their section to England 2. The final was England 1 v England 2 with the first squad winning comfortably. Against Germany the legs had gone after the previous games effort and although we put up as spirited a display as we could we were beaten 3-0. Our thanks this time to Gerry Toner who travelled as our umpire.

Scotland Squad 2005 European Superveterans Championship Rotterdam

Scotland Vets - Back Row: Alan Strachan (North), Rab Keddie (East), Alan Bremner (North). Ian Downie (North), Douglas Caren (East), Peter Monaghan (West), Doug Morrice (East), Freddie Lawson (North), Alistair Philip (East - captain): Front Row: Earnie DiRollo (Manchester), Dave Mcintosh (East), Alan Auld (West), George Black (West). Ron Fraser (North), Keiran McLeman (North), Norrie Springford (East), Match Umpire (Japan), Jim White (East). Missing: Keith Forster (East) - behind camera.

reproduced from Hockey Scotland Summer -Autumn 2005 - report by Keith Forster