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Senior Grand Masters European Cup
Southgate, London 22-28 August 2015

Scotland Over 70 played against England, Germany and Netherlands for the Senior Grand Masters European Cup in a round robin, followed by play offs between 1st & 4th (England and Scotand) and 2nd & 3rd (Netherlands and Germany). The winners of the play offs (England and Netherlands) competed in the final and the losers (Scotland and Germany) played for bronze in the 3rd/4th place final.

Sat 22 Aug

England Flag ENG 9 GER 0 German Flag

Netherlands Flag NED 5 SCO 0 Scotland flag

With only one substitute, Scotland were always going to be up against it playing a very strong and skilful Netherlands side in blistering heat. The first quarter ended in stalemate with Netherlands probing down the wings but with no central striker, but the break allowed the Dutch to re-jig their formation, putting Hanusch into the inside left channel high up the field between the Scottish central defenders and right back. Verloop was given the freedom of the centre of midfield and his accurate passes to Hanusch put the Scots in all sorts of trouble. The speedy Hanusch took the ball to the goal line before cutting back inside, and scored twice with the same move in 23 and 29 minutes. Scotland readjusted and largely nullified the threat, but in 44 minutes Hanusch claimed his hat trick when he backed into Downie to create the space to shoot past Pollard in the Scottish goal. The umpire saw nothing wrong and awarded the goal. Both sides were visibly wilting in the heat and an ankle injury to McLernan led to Ferrol moving forward from sweeper to centre midfield, where his ability to hold the ball, along with the hockey ability of Lawson beside him, helped Scotland to keep the ball and even set up a number of opportunities in the Dutch circle. Scotland should have scored when a looping deflection fell in front of Weir with the goalkeeper helpless on the ground, but instead of trapping the ball in the air and guiding it over the line, the Scottish forward opted to swing at the ball, and missed. However neither of the central midfielders had the legs to chase down Verloop, whose fitness and ability to win short corners off the feet of defenders proved crucial. Netherlands added two more goals from such short corners through Scheepstra in the 55th minute and van der Meissen in 62 minutes, and the match ended 5-0 in favour of Netherlands, who look like strong contenders for the gold medal.

Sun 23 Aug

England Flag ENG 1 NED 1 Netherlands Flag

German Flag GER 0 SCO 0 Scotland flag

Not to be outdone by their younger counterparts who had managed a draw against Germany the previous day, Scotland Senior Grand Masters achieved the same result against Germany Over 70 by dint of a goalless draw. Both sides were weakened by absences due to illness and injury and they were evenly matched, the result being fair in terms of possession. Scotland showed in patches that they are capable of playing good hockey, retaining the ball and looking for the pass, helped by the fact that the Germans were relatively static and did not press the player on the ball. The flying Tucker was a constant thorn in the side of the German defence, his speed down the right wing taking him past his opponents time and again. 50% of the time he was blocked illegally by a defender but the umpires did not see fit to issue any cards for repeated fouls. Unfortunately, his other 50% resulted in a cross or cut back which failed to produce a goal, though Scotland won a good number of short corners. Their short corner drill was in need of care and attention, and very few of the short corners resulted in a shot on goal, a Weir shot from a switch left being one of the few successes. However the keeper made a competent save to thwart Scotland. At the other end, Germany had two very good chances stemming from breakaways, when first Wolff then Klöne found themselves one on one with Pollard. Wolff's shot went weakly wide and Pollard got the tip of his toe to Klöne's attempt to deflect it past with the last touch of the first half. In between, a Child shot for Germany from close range after a stramash in the Scottish circle hit the post and was cleared. Scotland continued to make a fight of it in the second half and denied Germany any more clear cut opportunities, though Germany, with two more players than Scotland, started to press Scotland back as the Scots tired. Their short corner drill was no more successful than Scotland's, which was just as well as with seconds left on the clock they were awarded a short corner - the full time hooter went before they had a chance to take the corner. Scotland defended that but were penalised again and hearts were in Scottish mouths as Germany lined up for their second short corner in added on time. Germany opted for a straight strike on goal and Scotland breathed a sigh of relief when the shot went well wide to end the game 0-0. The result left Scotland in third place in the group on goal difference over Germany, setting up the possiblity of retaining that postion or even improving on it with a good performance against England in the last group match.

Tues 25 Aug

England Flag ENG 8 SCO 0 Scotland flag

Unfortunately, the result of this match became irrelevant when Netherlands unexpectedly lost to Germany by 1-0 in the final group match, consigning Scotland to fourth place in the group. England were in command for most of the match but Scotland managed to create a few chances, winning several short corners. Though England were taken by surprise by the unusual Scottish short corner drills, Scotland could not find the telling shot which would have given them a goal. Lack of a proper striker once more cost them, while England had the cutting edge that Scotland lacked. Ballard opened the scoring after 6 minutes with a trickling effort which barely made it over the goal line, and the pattern was set. Di Rollo was forced suddenly to leave the pitch when his knee went and, while Scotland were struggling to regroup, another 'thunderous' shot from Surridge crept over the line to send England into the second quarter 2-0 up. Di Rollo was unable to continue, leaving the already thin Scotland squad with no substitutes. Scotland held their own for most of the second quarter but were undone by a superb deflection by Gill from a Perryman shot at a short corner. Five minutes later, Perryman fired in past Pollard from a short corner with no help from another England player. The pattern of two England goals per quarter continued in the second half, Gill scoring a superb goal in the third minute of the second half with a reverse stick deflection under pressure from Downie. Weir had a great chance to score for Scotland when he was in the clear on the left of the circle but could not put his stick on the ball to strike it into the opposing net. Wilcock gave England their sixth goal after a series of switches at a oenalty corner. Tired as they were, the Scots fought manfully in the final quarter but Sturridge began to impose himself down the English right, creating chance after chance by taking the ball along the line and cutting it back to waiting team mates. The Scottish defence kept them out until the 65th minute when Gill met Sturridge's cut back to claim his hat trick, and with two minutes left it was the turn of Cochrane to make it eight from yet another Sturridge pass. Scotland should be proud of their efforts, and though they were beaten by a better team, the score was a cruel reflection on their performance in the match.

German Flag GER 1 NED 0 Netherlands Flag

Wed 26 Aug

ENG 2 (Hayes, Leaverland) SCO 0 1st v 4th

The heavens opened at lunchtime, flooded pitches forcing the matches in progress to be suspended, to be resumed two hours later. The captains agreed to play shortened matches of 25 minutes each way to allow the full programme to be completed. Scotland were down to a bare eleven players, Di Rollo having been forced to return home because of his knee problem, but the fact that the match was to be shorter, as well as national pride, strengthened their resolve. The players, to a man, upped their game and a feature of the match was the good organisation of the Scottish side. The first quarter was fairly even with Scotland mounting a number of attacks but it was England who took the lead through Hayes in nine minutes. However the expected deluge of goals (expected by England that is) did not materialise and Scotland continued to keep their shape, forcing three short corners during the half. The Scottish back line of Robertson, Downie, Ferrol and Morrice kept the English forwards in check and Pollard in the Scottish goal had his best match of the tournament, commmanding his circle whenever the ball eluded the Scotland defenders. Their failure to break down the Scots began to prey on English minds and their play began to become more and more ragged in the second half, though the tiring Scots were largely confined to their own half by this time. The Scottish midfield of Tucker, McLernan, Lawson and Bremner harried the English and the quality of their passing from midfield was much reduced as a result. Tucker's runs down the right, where he had the beating of the English defenders on speed, were a constant threat to England. However with only eight minutes left, England sealed the match when a stick tackle on Downie by Leaverland went unpunished by the umpire and the forward was left one on one with Pollard who this time was unabe to keep out the shot. The match finished 2-0 to England but Scotland must take every encouragement from their performance and will go into the 3d/4th place final against Germany believing that they can take the bronze medal.

NED 2 (Hanusch 2) GER 0 2nd v 3rd

Fri 28 Aug

ENG 1 NED 1 Final

Netherlands took the lead in the third quarter and looked totally in command of the match against an uncharacterstically ragged England team, but a goal in the dying minutes for England with minutes to go levelled the score and the medals had to be decided by a penalty shoot out. Netherlands kept their nerve and came out on top to win the Gold medal.

GER 1 SCO 2 3/4 place Final

For scheduling reasons, this match was played after the final, on the second pitch. Germany started brightly and put the Scottish defence under pressure for a time but Scotland were determined to play a possession game and gradually began to take charge. Strong running by Tucker down the right was once again a feature. Scotland rarely had a man available for the pass when he went past his marker, but more often Tucker was fouled and Scotland won a succession of free hits and short corners. Their first goal in the competion came when Bremner got the end of his stick to a Lawson switch at a short corner and his 'shot' trickled over the line to give Scotland a 1-0 lead at half time. Boosted by the addition of Margerison, which gave them a valuable substitute to spell players tired after having played their last match with no substitute, Scotland stuck to their possession game in spite of intense and increasingly desperate pressure from Germany. When the Scottish midfield started to sit back, Lawson showed his experience by spurring them on to push up and take the pressure off the defence. Weir finally atoned for earlier misses by netting when McLernan, picking up a ball switched to him by Lawson, found the Scottish winger clear outside the keeper's right hand post. Scotland were 2-0 up and now in complete command but Germany summoned up their last ounce of energy and were awarded a dubious goal when a long ball fired into the circle went past Pollard in the Scottish circle off Margerison's stick. In spite of Scottish protests that no German had touched the ball in the circle, leading to a consultation with the other umpire, the umpire awarded a goal with exactly three minutes showing on the clock. Scotland retained the ball from the restart and Tucker took it for a wander into the right hand corner of the pitch, from which it emerged only briefly during the whole of the remaining time, and Scotland had won the Bronze medal. This was an outstanding team performance, all the more remarkable for its having been achieved with a squad containing at least three players fewer than the other countries in the competition.

Table

  P W D L F A Pt GD
England 3 2 1 0 18 1 7 17
Netherlands 3 1 1 1 6 2 4 4
Scotland 3 0 1 2 0 13 1 -13
Germany 3 1 1 1 2 9 4 -8

Squads

England Flag England

 

German Flag Germany

 

Netherlands Flag Netherlands

 

Scotland flag Scotland

Scotland Senior Grand Masters European Cup Southgate 2015

Alan Bremner, Ernie di Rollo, Ian Downie, Andy Ferrol, Fred Lawson, Kieran McLernan (Captain), David Margerison, Doug Morrice, Donald Paterson, Tim Pollard (GK), Robbie Robertson, Colin Tucker, Sandy Weir.
Mhairi Ferrol - Scotland SGM team manager Eurohockey 2015
Manager: Mhairi Ferrol, Coach: Murray Paton

 

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