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Scotland Great Grand Masters World Cup 2016

Newcastle, New South Wales 3-12 May 2016

The Scots were always up against it, taking a depleted squad with the highest average age in the competition. They had a tough draw in the first round, having to play the eventual gold and silver medal winners Australia and England, as well as Japan who finished fifth. Not unexpectedly, the task was too great for Scotland and they entered the 5-9 play offs without a win. A draw against Wales in the first play off match gave them encouragement but they could not overcome any of the other sides and finished in ninth place.

The first round consisted of round robins in two pools.

Pool A: Belgium, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and Wales

Pool B: Australia, England, Japan and Scotland

Pool Matches (Pool B)

4 May Japan Flag Japan 2 (Yamamoto, Sekiya) Scotland 0 Scotland Flag

An early, soft goal by Yamamoto in the fourth minute encouraged Japan, who dominated the first quarter with hard, slick hockey. Scotland took some time to adjust to the bustling style of their opponents and Sekiya forced the ball over the line in the 28th minute with the umpire failing to punish a barge and trip which left a Scottish defender on the ground. Japan finished the half 2-0 up. Scotland re-jigged their formation for the second half and at last started to string some passes together, producing some of the short passing, possession game desired by Coach Murray Paton. However Scotland could still not match the forceful skills of their opponents and there was no further scoring, the match finishing 2-0 for Japan. England went down 2-1 to Australia, leaving Scotland bottom of their pool with England their next opponents.

5 May England Flag England 7 (Bansal, Muller 2, Mahmood 2, Yardley, Slator) Scotland 0 Scotland Flag

Scotland had difficulty in controlling the ball in the early morning light and made little headway as the short passing game which they have been working on depends on control. The occasional reversion to the old crash ball had the expected consequence. Bansal opened the scoring with a field goal after only six minutes, the only score of the first quarter. Muller added a converted penalty stroke in 26 minutes and Mahmood's field goal in 33 minutes made the half time score 3-0 for England. Another field goal from the same player six minutes into the second half took the score to 4-0 and the Scots hung on until the final six minutes, when field goals by Yardley in 64 minutes and Slator in 68 minutes, and a penalty corner goal from Muller in the final minute, took the score to 7-0. The score could have been higher - Nigel Dixon in goal had a splendid game and was awarded man of the match by England. Despite the score line nearly all of the team enjoyed the game.

In the other match in the pool, Australia beat Japan 3-1 and Scotland now had a virtually impossible task to avoid finishing fourth in the pool. Only a massive win against the unbeaten home side, and the right result in the England-Japan match, would lift them off fourth place, and the 5-9 play offs now beckoned for the Scots.

7 May Australia Flag Australia 11 Scotland 0 Scotland Flag

Taking on world Champions Australia on home territory was never going to be easy, but the Scots started brightly moving the ball around with confidence. At the end of the first period interest on the terracing was growing as the Scots held out to finish the first quarter level. Both sides rejigged their formation at the quarter break and the relentless speed of the Australians began to tear holes in the Scottish defence. A field goal from Northwood early in the second quarter put the home side ahead and two further field goals by French in 27 minutes and Peebles two minutes later gave Australia a comfortable 3-0 lead at half time.

In the second half, Australian pressure led to a stream of short corners but Nigel Dixon, who was having a splendid game in goal, was equal to all of them. The shortage of substitutes on the Scottish bench was beginning to tell as the Australians rolled their squad regularly, and tired legs allowed too many Aussies to remain unmarked in a position to score. Thompson made it four for the home side with another field goal three minutes into the second half, and French followed up to complete his hat trick with two field goals in 41 and 47 minutes. Scotland, 6-0 down at the start of the final quarter, suffered a quick barrage of Australian field goals from Peebles (55), Northwood (57), Thompson (58) and a fourth goal from French in 59 minutes. A final field goal in the 65th minute by Sue See made it 11-0 to Australia. The game was remarkable for having no goals scored from penalty corners, and for Scotland having its first card for either squad after six matches - a green card for Graham Conkie in 21 minutes. The Scots move on to the classification matches with confidence in their ability to stand up to the worlds best some of the time.

Pool B P W D L F A Pt GD
Australia 3 3 0 0 16 2 9 14
England 3 2 0 1 14 2 6 12
Japan 3 1 0 2 3 9 3 -6
Scotland 3 0 0 3 0 20 0 -20

England beat Japan in the last pool match, going through to the semi finals in second place behind Australia, with Japan and Scotland in the 5-9 play offs, Japan having the advantage as the result of their Pool B match against Scotland is carried through to the play off stage. They will be joined by Wales, South Africa and Belgium who finished in 3rd, 4th and 5th places respectively in Pool A.

Finals and Play Offs

To equalise the number of matches played by the teams qualifying for the semi finals, Australia and England, the teams finishing first and second in Pool B played each other a second time before the semi finals, the result being used also to determine the final position of the two sides, Australia and England, in the group - Australia won 2-1 once more and topped the group. The semi finals on 10 May are New Zealand v England and Netherlands v Australia. The remaining three teams in Pool B (Wales, South Africa and Belgium) and two teams in Pool A (Japan and Scotland) formed a new pool to determine places 5-9 in a round robin, carrying forward the results of their pool matches against teams they had already played.

The winners of the two semi finals played off for places 1 and 2 and the losers for places 3 and 4.

5-9 play offs P W D L F A Pt GD
Japan 4 4 0 0 7 1 12 6
Wales 4 2 1 2 6 3 7 3
South Africa 4 2 0 2 4 6 6 -2
Belgium 4 1 0 3 5 6 3 -1
Scotland 4 0 1 3 2 8 1 -6

8 May extra Pool B match Australia 2 England 1

8 May Belgium flag Belgium 0 Japan 2 Japan Flag

9 May Wales flag Wales 1 (Johnson) Scotland 1 (P. Robertson) Scotland Flag

Wales went into this match knowing that a win would put them top of the 5-9 play off group. As usual, this was a close encounter between sides which know each other very well. The match took place in the first cool day of the tournament but hot for the Scots defence as the Welsh supporting the long ball kept the Scots pinned back. However Coach Murray Paton's passing game was beginning to work for Scotland and there were some good periods of play with sustained passing even if the forwards were hunting for the good final pass. Wales gained the advantage in 23 minutes when Alan Auld received a yellow card (Scotland's first of the tournament) and Welsh Captain and Aberdeen resident Ben Johnson went up to take the penalty stroke. Although Nigel Dixon dived the right way, the bounce of the fluffed stroke took the ball under his outstretched stick and over the line. The aggrieved Scots started the second half with attack in mind and they gradually took control of midfield. Play tended to become congested and wide open spaces were not exploited sufficiently to allow penetration of the deep-lying Welsh backs, allowing the Welsh to break up the attacks. With ten minutes left, Scotland won a penalty corner and a strong shot by Peter Robertson rebounded off the Welsh keeper's pads straight back to to Peter who banged it firmly into goal to record Scotland's first goal in the tournament and level the match. Just reward for the effort, and Scotland's first point in the tournament as the match finished 1-1. Scotland, currently in eighth place, could now finish no higher than seventh but had the teams immediately above and below them still to play, and a game in hand over both.

9 May South Africa flag South Africa 1 Japan 2 Japan Flag

10 May semi finals New Zealand 2 England 4, Netherlands 1 Australia 1 (Australia won 4-3 in a penalty shoot out)

10 May South Africa flag South Africa 1 (Surtees) Scotland 0 Scotland Flag

South Africa shaded this match with a field goal by Surtees in the 43rd minute, guaranteeing them seventh place, leaving Scotland needing at least a draw against Belgium in their last game to finish eighth.

The 65s took on South Africa to try to rebuild national pride in the second of the classification games. The initial exchanges indicated that the SA team were sluggish and hopes rose ...but alas the Scots took the opportunity to play at walking place as well and the degree of concentration required to focus on trapping well and passing accurately was simply not there. A hamstring injury to the valuable David Fargus led to his being substituted in the first quarter. The Scots right wing was almost impossible to play as the low setting sun made it virtually impossible to distinguish Scottish players in blue from South Africans in deep green when the Scots on the right were looking across field into the setting sun. So play favoured the South African right. The net result was a stalemate of errors.
The South Africans pressed the Scots without any real penetration. Basic Scottish errors led to a series of short corners which allowed their opponents shots at goal but the first half ended goalless. Early in the second half, Surtees for South Africa forced the ball over the line to take the lead. Spurred on by strong encouragement from coach Murray Paton in the last quarter, Scotland at last responded with some energetic play. Despite dominating in midfield the Scots failed to convert their dominance into positive goal attempts and most attacks fizzled out in control errors. The extra effort on the last quarter raised spirits and the Scots looked now to Belgium for their first win.

11 May Wales flag Wales 0 Japan 1 Japan Flag

11 May Belgium flag Belgium 4 (Boon, Frere, Maroye, De Onys) Scotland 1 (Button) Scotland Flag

A penalty corner goal by Boon in 9 minutes and a Frere field goal in 17 minutes put Belgium in the driving seat at the end of the first quarter, but there was no further scoring until Mike Button pulled one back for Scotland from a penalty corner at the end of the third quarter. There was to be no fairytale ending for Scotland, Maroye restoring Belgium's two goal lead from a penalty corner early in the fourth quarter, and De Onys sealed Scotland's fate.

Japan ended the play offs with full points and claimed fifth place, while Wales dropped to sixth after losing to Japan in their final match. South Africa finished seventh ahead of Belgium who improved to eighth and Scotland ended last.

12 May 3/4 final New Zealand 3 Netherlands 1; final England 0 Australia 1