Dragons Festival Swansea 27-28 July 2013
A small contingent of Thistles made their way to Swansea to take part in the Dragons Festival. 3 travelled from Scotland, another 5 from various parts of England and thankfully the Welsh were able to help make up the numbers. However it was quite clear to us on arrival that we were 'lambs to the slaughter' as both the English and Welsh over 60's and 65's sides were using the tournament as part of their preparation for the Europeans in August. First game was up against England LX over 65s and we ended up being drubbed 5-0. Against the LX over 6s we fared better with Watson scoring the first goal, from 2 inches out which he is legendary for. However we ended up going down 4-1 losing two goals in the last few minutes. The final game on the Saturday was against the Welsh Yellow Dragons (over 60s) when we lost 5-0.
Sunday was a new day and after we polished off a bottle of whisky between us the night before, which had been presented to us at the dinner for the 'fair play award', we came out with renewed vigour. First game was against a strong Midlands team. Despite being under heavy pressure for most of the game, we managed to keep them at bay until a couple of minutes from the end when a speculative hit into the D hit the heel of a Scottish defender and was diverted away from Pearce into the goal. Thankfully the heads did not go down and we soon won a free hit at the edge of their D and the subsequent hit in from Donald Dunbar was delicately diverted by one of the Welsh contingent into the back of the net resulting in a well earned 1-1 draw. The final game was against the Black Dragons (over 65s) with the only goal coming from Watson again but this time from at least 6 inches from the goal line to give us a well fought win.
This was a well organised tournament and the team, although stretched at times, enjoyed the opportunity to play at such a high standard against teams of the same age bracket. It would have been great to have a full squad made up of all Scots but sadly this was not the case. Our fringe players need the opportunity to play in more tournaments of this nature, but to make it work, we need the support of a few of the international squad to bolster numbers.
Finally you will be delighted to know that the whisky presented to the team was actually a bottle of the Scotland LX which in turn must have been presented to the Welsh by us in the past. The circle of life! Shame it's now dead and buried!
John Smith, Thistles Captain
and 3 Welsh defectors
Saturday 27 July
England LX 65s 5 Scottish Thistles 0
England LX 60s 4 Scottish Thistles 1 (Watson)
Yellow Dragons 5 Scottish Thistles 0
Sunday 28 July
Midlands 1 Scottish Thistles 1 (OG, D. Dunbar assist)
Black Dragons 0 Scottish Thistles 1 (Watson)