Scottish Thistles "Over 70s" v England Over 70 squad

Durham 26 March 2014

Before the match on 26 March 2014 in Durham

On a bitterly cold day in Durham, punctuated by flurries of hailstones, the Scots put up a creditable performance against the England Over 70 squad, the match finishing 0-0 with neither goalkeeper being seriously troubled.

The Scottish defence, marshalled by Philip who was ably supported by Cassell, back playing after a heart operation, was equal to most of the English attacks. The normally effective English midfield was blunted by the close attention of the Scottish four, whose constant harrying made it difficult for their opponents to find telling, forward passes. Much of the time, they were forced to turn the ball back in search of another gap, which the well organised Scottish midfield quickly plugged. Springford, a long term absentee through a serious hamstring injury on the very same pitch, proved a handful for the English, who as a result had to keep men back to take care of the Scottish forwards. This was an excellent team performance, with every one of the Scottish players giving his all and keeping discipline throughout. It bodes very well for the near future when Scotland will have enough players to field a full international Over 70 side.

There were nine genuine Over 70s in the squad: Guy Leighton, Kieran McLernan, Ernie Di Rollo, Ally Philip, Doug Morrice, Robbie Robertson, Donald Paterson, David Cassell (making his come back after heart surgery) and Norrie Springford. Making up the numbers werre Sandy Weir, David Margerison and Ian Downie, who qualify for the Over 70s as underage players, as did Dick Pearce who was on standby as goalkeeper. Alan Parker and Ernie Britton-Dodd represented the youth policy, though Alan did not last long before succumbing to a hamstring injury. Ally Philip captained the team.

The following day, the squad, with three changes, was vastly overmatched against a younger and very much stronger England LX Red Over 65 team, and came a distant second thanks mainly to a very poor second quarter, when they shipped six goals. They had the consolation of scoring through a Bryce penalty corner. Leighton, Downie and Springford were replaced by Dick Pearce, Alan Bryce and Duncan Mitchell.

Scottish Thistles Durham 27 March 2014