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Pacific Rim Tournament Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 26 Oct-1 Nov 2015

The Pacific Rim Tournamen ran alongside the Grand Masters Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur. The matches werre played at two nearby stadia:

Stadium A: Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA) Stadium, Pantai

Stadium B: Ministry Of Education (MOE) Stadium, Pantai

Scotland played in Group B with guest teams Alliance, Egypt, England, Southern Cross A and B. They started with a well earned 1-1 draw against England and followed up with a resounding 6-0 victory over Southern Cross B. The third scheduled match against Egypt was treated as a training session, Egypt having a team full of younger players. Scotland ground out a 2-1 win against Southern Cross A and finished the group stages with a convincing 4-0 win against Alliance, ending with a goal difference of 11, still not enough to stop England from claiming first place in the group with an even better goal difference.

The final matches in the competetition were between the teams finishing in positions 1-5 and the corresponding teams in Group A (competing for the Asian Cup): Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. In the event, neither Hong Kong nor Egypt could field an age qualified team and the scheduled matches involving both countries were played outside the tournament and the results not recorded. England beat Malaysia, Asian Cup winners, to win the Pacific Rim Tournament and Scotland beat Japan to claim third place. No trophies or medals were awarded for the Pacific Rim Tournament.

Scotland Grand Masters and WAGs in Kuala Lumpur in Pacific Rim Tournament 2015

Scotland Squad

John Candlin, Jim Chisholm, Andy Ferrol, George Finlayson (Captain), Peter Gordon, Derek Johnstone, Chris Kalman, Ian McCreath, Neil Mackenzie, Bernie Morrison, Alistair Ogilvie, Glenn Paton, Peter Robertson, Murdoch Shirreffs.

Manager Mhairi Ferrol, Coach Peter Gordon, Umpire Brian Moore

Match Results and Reports

Monday 26 October Scotland 1 (Johnstone) England 1

Today's game in KL might go on record as one of the longest in hockey history. Beginning on time at 17.00 hours local time, it finished at 20.00 hours! The reason for this was a 90 minute intercession as a local monsoon hit the ground and both teams were forced to wait for the pitch to be visible and barely playable.

In between the downpours Scotland showed a strong English side that they were not to be underestimated. From the start Scotland pressed the English defence and took the game to their great rivals. From an early corner Johnstone's initial effort was saved but Morrison picked up the rebound and selflessly returned the ball to the former who flicked the ball into the corner of the net. Scottish hopes of consolidating this advantage were thwarted immediately after when the English equalised with a fierce hit from a set piece. For the rest of the half the English pressed the Scots but were unable to penetrate a resolute defence even after a torrential downpour caused play to be suspended.

The second half began after much negotiating about whether to continue or replay the game the following morning, but instead of the expected English onslaught the Scots began to increase in confidence and as the minutes ticked away the English realised that they had a game on their hands and that the Scots were becoming more and more dangerous as they launched a series of raids on their opponents' goal.

The Scots corner routine was causing problems and a Gordon shot caused the English keeper to pull off a splendid save. But it was the solidity of the Scottish defence, with Kalman up to the mark as increasingly sporadic efforts were repulsed, that encouraged the Scot's midfield to become more proactive and ask more questions of an increasingly jittery English defence. Morrison and Ogilvie stretched their opponents defensive skills as the Scot's midfield, led by Paton and Candlin, fed the impressive Johnstone as the Scots strove to produce an unexpected result.

The final result was a 1-1 draw with the Scots the happier of the two sides. A great team effort with two of the new boys McKenzie and McCreath both playing their part in what will hopefully be a successful week for the Scots. Now for the Southern Cross tomorrow.

The icing on the cake however was the inexplicable decision of the English to leave immediately after the game in order not to miss out on the cocktail hour at their hotel - and leave behind a cool box of beer. What an open goal - and we did not miss!!!

Peter Gordon

Tuesday 27 October Scotland 6 (Gordon 2, Johnstone, Ogilvie, Morrison, Paton) Southern Cross B 0

In a completely unexpected start Scotland were two up inside the first five minutes as Gordon powered through from his midfield position to send two thunderous shots past the despairing Aussie keeper whose frustrations increased moments later when Johnstone flicked the ball into the top corner to give the Scots a dream start. A certain complacency entered the Scots play thereafter until Ogilvie dived in at the far post to send a pinpoint Paton cross into the net. Whilst the Aussie side were shocked at his devastating start, they tried hard to mount meaningful attacks and Kalman in the Scottish goal had to be particularly alert. A further series of Scots attacks eventually resulted in Paton, doing an impressive impersonation of Andy Murray, send a forehand smash into the opposition net to make the half time score 5-0.

The second half should have resulted in the Scots increasing this lead but in a mixture of wrong choices, the competence of the Aussie keeper, and a lack of composure in front of goal, the Scots failed to add to their total until Morrison found the target. That ended the scoring but there was a certain frustration from the Scots at not adding to their total - but a satisfaction that that a sustained effort resulted in them still on course for a possible place in the final.

Captain Finlayson, leading from the front, (albeit in a defensive position) impressed upon the squad that the preparatory work was done but that increased application was needed to consolidate the excellent start the Scots had made. Special praise was extended to Ferrol and Shirreffs who had stepped in from on the 65s but who had played their part in what was basically, and crucially, a team effort.

Peter Gordon

Wednesday 28 October Scotland v Egypt

This match was played as a friendly as Egypt had brought a very young team and all their matches were declared null and void. The score was not recorded.

Thursday 29 October Southern Cross A 1 Scotland 2 (Ogilvie, Candlin)

Scotland began their game against Southern Cross A on the front foot and deservedly went in front when Alistair Ogilvie dived full length to divert a cross into the net. Shortly after, John Candlin doubled the score when he bravely dived in to force the ball over the line. For the rest of the half Scotland held the upper hand but could not use their superior skill to further pierce the Aussie defence. The cause was not helped by the temporary suspension of Doc. Murdoch Shirreffs whose misdemeanour may well come before the General Medical Council on his return!

The second half was a scrappy affair with the Scots threatening but never quite able to defeat a competent Aussie keeper. A golden chance to increase the lead was spurned when Glenn Paton missed a penalty flick and the Scots were made to pay when a contentious refereeing decision resulted in an Aussie goal being awarded.

Scotland cannot now qualify for the final as England, on the same number of points with one match to play, have a far superior goal difference but second place and an undefeated record are still within reach. An early morning wake up call at 6 a.m. will no doubt work in their favour as the Scots take on Alliance in their last group game. Success here will allow the Scots a day off on Saturday (for shopping!!) prior to a final game on Sunday.

Peter Gordon

Friday 30 October Scotland 4 (Johnstone, Paton, Robertson, Shirreffs) Alliance 0

An alarm call at 6am and push back at 8.30 (only twelve hours after the end of the previous match) might well have discomfited a lesser team, but, bright eyed and bushy tailed, the Scots took the early initiative and pressed the opposition defence. In midfield the two prima donnas strutted their stuff whilst John Candlin, as usual, did the tracking back and laying off. Chisholm was his usual steady self and Neil Mackenzie beside him was solid in defence giving Kalman in goal little to do.

An early short corner was perfectly executed allowing Derek Johnstone time and room to flick the ball into the corner of the net. The next goal was a Morgan FP combo when Peter Gordon fed Glenn Paton who emulated his midfield guru by flicking the ball home.
Even at this early time the temperature was over 30 degrees and manager Mhairi Ferrol had to make numerous substitutions which she later equated to herding a group of stray cats. As half time approached the Scots were comfortable on the ball but when the opposition regained possession Captain George Finlayson was not slow in reminding the team of their individual and collective responsibilities.

The second half continued with the Scots the more likely side to score but it took a piece of opportunism from Peter Robertson to consolidate the Scot's advantage. At last the Scots played safe, possession based hockey and demoralised the opposition playmakers. The highlight of the game happened near the end when Murdoch Shirreffs crashed the ball into the net from close range (although he insists it was from the edge of the circle) to consolidate a comfortable victory.T

Scotland finished the group stage undefeated and on the same number of points as England, each recording three wins and a draw. A goal difference of 11 (13-2) was still not enough to pip England for top spot in the group, and the Scots return to action on Sunday1 November to play Japan for third place confident that they can maintain their undefeated record.

Peter Gordon (edited)

Sunday 1 November Japan 0 Scotland 1 (Ogilvie)

Today in the steamy heat of Asia Scotland Grand Masters completed their action in the KL Trophy competition with a 1-0 victory over Japan, courtesy of an Alistair Ogilvie goal, to maintain their undefeated campaign and record a creditable 14 goals for and only 2 against. Commented John Candin "it was great to play against a team of regular stature".

Your correspondent notes that, by common consent, this was one of the best hockey experiences that Scotland LX has been involved in - both in a sporting and in a social sense. The Traders Hotel was first class and the envy of other sides who chose a cheaper option; the travel arrangements organised by Bernie were efficient; the views of the Petronas Towers from the hotel were stunning. But what made the off - field atmosphere so harmonious was the support and friendship enjoyed by the ladies of the party. To Becca, Marie, Lyndsey, Jenny, Sandra and Linda thank you for the part you played. As one player stated "a happy wife makes a happy player".

On the field of play the ongoing work of Murray our National Coach was beginning to show through, particularly against Japan, where an obviously exhausted team retained possession for long periods of time and frustrated their eager opponents. The undefeated record too, from what has been described as a "scratch team", augurs well for the future when the 60s will be augmented by a number of regular team members.

Japan gave Scotland a very hard game, possibly even harder than the England match. Scotland started off strongly and took the lead in the second quarter when Alistair Ogilvie lobbed the Japanese keeper to put him in pole position for top scorer with four goals in the tournament. The game then ebbed and flowed as the Scots tried to get the second while Japan tried very hard to get the equaliser. Once of the best features was the Scots ability to, in effect, kill off the game by holding onto the ball for a full two and a half minutes by retaining full possession. One shot from the energetic Japanese was well saved by Chris Kalman who palmed away an almost certain goal heading into the top left hand corner of his net, and Scotland held on to take a deserved and very hard earned third place in the tournament.

In goal Chris Kalman, whilst being underemployed for long periods of time in certain games, showed just why he could be trusted to keep his concentration and command his area. The back four, marshalled by captain Finlayson, made few mistakes, as the goals against total shows, with the experienced Jim Chisholm a usually reliable force as sweeper. In midfield the real strength of the Scots shone through. Glenn Paton and Derek Johnstone were at the heart of all the good work the Scots were involved in and could be relied upon to take the ball to the opposition and create attacking possibilities whilst not ignoring their defensive responsibilities. John Candlin was his usual busy and unobtrusive self - but a vital cog in the midfield engine. The two new boys - Ian McCreath and Neil Mackenzie - learned just what this level of continuous hockey meant for both the mind and the body and came through with flying colours. Up front the duo of Bernie Morrison and Alistair Ogilvie were ever willing, if increasingly tired, workers.

The contribution of the "irregulars" should also not be underestimated. Andy Ferrol, Peter Robertson, Murdoch Shirreffs and Peter Gordon stepped in to fill the breach to prove that they had a contribution to make and they played with enthusiasm in whichever position they found themselves selected. In fact 4 of the goals came from their sticks.

Finally the decision to appoint Mhairi Ferrol as Manager was a great success. She added her voice to team talks and managed the almost impossible task of getting 11 players on the field in the right place at the right time as injuries and exhaustion played an ever increasing part.

Peter Gordon and Bernie Morrison

Sunday 1 November Malaysia 0 England 3 (Final)