Mini Tournament Auchenhowie Saturday 25 May 2013

A glorious sunny, Saturday morning at Glasgow Western Hockey Club's fantastic new water based pitch saw a combined gathering of Scotland 60s, 65s and Scottish Thistles players meet up to play an All Stars (Hillhead) hockey team in a mid morning mini tournament designed to give the international players a workout prior to the upcoming home Internationals in Swansea.

All Stars were also able to field several Masters internationals in their line up: Swift, Frail, Higham and a special appearance by one Mr G Black.

A low turnout from Scotland players meant that we had to run with just one team, plus subs, instead of the two teams that were anticipated. No problem! We changed the format and set off for game number 1.

A 60 minute game split into four 15 minute quarters saw a competitive start from the Scotland LX team with some great interplay from defence through midfield to the ever dangerous Hew Bishop up front. The All Stars recovered and pressured LX on the break and took the lead from a well worked breakaway. A short corner routine brought the equaliser via Connaghan, whose mishit crash shot bobbled over the goal line. The game ebbed and flowed with both teams attacking and defending well throughout the session. A defensive error let in a young Hillhead striker who crossed for his centre forward to score easily. Scotland LX then had to defend as the All Stars increased the pressure, but held firm with Chris Kalman in goal making several great saves. The fiinal session saw a change of attitude with LX now on front foot taking the game to the All Stars. Bishop scored the equaliser. Final score 2-2.

Game number 2 followed after a 15 minute break. A revised starting line up for Scotland LX and another cracking 60 minutes of hockey between the two teams with the game flowing between attack and defence on both sides.
The temperature was rising on two counts: heat and aggression, as both teams dug in to play a more physical game. Great stuff and 3 goals later Scotland LX were 2-1 winners but it was a hard shift.

Another 15 minute break was followed by the final session - a full 35 minute half. Fitness eventually had an effect on the game and it was no surprise that it was the All Stars who were suffering. With just 3 substitutes it was hard work to sustain over 150 minutes of competitive hockey in very hot, dry conditions. The Scotland LX midfield suddenly clicked as a unit and with the entire team pressing up from the halfway line the All Stars just could not get out of their 25. Goals galore with slick one two hockey a desirable but rare sight in games so far) penalty corner routines et al. Bishop, Connaghan and Stuart Robertson all scored freely from set ups by Candlin, Louden and Durazsyk. All Stars did cause problems on the breakaway but these were dealt with by defence and keeper.

A great end to a fantastic hockey session, played in great spirit from all concerned, who retired for soft drinks and excellent home made pizza in the bar. My thanks to Western Hockey Club for access to their pitch and bar facilities, All Star players and Hillhead Hockey Club, umpires on the day and of course to the LX guys who made the effort to turn up and make the event possible.

Ian Wilson

Scotland LX

Kalman, Bate, McBride, Chisholm, Wilson, Durajzcyk, S. Robertson, Connaghan, Loudon, Bishop, Conkie, Smith, Gallacher, Auld, R. Robertson, Candlin

All Stars

Black, Higham, Shirriff, Currie, Stewart, Marshall, Anstey, Frail, Swift, Brown, Stewart, Pickett, Moore, Guest