Jacques Lévy Supervétérans Tournament 2016

Lille 11-13 March 2016

Scottish Thistles performed well in Lille but could not overcome strong England LX and Supervétérans France A sides. They had to settle for a creditable third place after losing the semi final to the French and beating the French B side in the 3rd/4th place final on Sunday 13 March. Overall, they ended with three wins and a draw against three losses. The tournament winners were England LX who beat the French A side in the final.


Brian de Mattos, Ian Downie, Donald Dunbar, Chris Heeps, Mike McInally, John Michalik, Duncan Mitchell, Alistair Ogilvie (captain), Alan Parker, Dick Pearce (keeper), Keith Raper, Tony Walker, Neil Ward, Jim Watson

Tim Lorimer was manager and Jackie Parker tour organiser. Mairi de Mattos, Catherine Downie and Eileen Pearce came to help their husbands off the pitch. Dick Pearce was voted man of the tournament by a large majority.

Pool Results

Scottish Thistles 0 Supervétérans France A 1
Scottish Thistles 2 (Ogilvie, de Mattos) Belgium Old Lions 0
Scottish Thistles 5 (Ogilvie 4, de Mattos) Alliance 0
Scottish Thistles 0 England LX 2
Scottish Thistles 1 (de Mattos) Supervétérans France B 1

Semi Final 2nd v 3rd

Supervétérans France A 2 Scottish Thistles 0

3rd/4th place Final

Scottish Thistles 3 (Ogilvie, de Mattos, Watson) Supervétérans France B 2

Scottish Thistles started the Jacques Lévy Tournament in Lille on Friday 11 March with a match against Supervétérans France A. The first half ended in a goalless draw after a good deal of French pressure in midfield but few real chances. Dick Pearce in the Scottish goal had one outstanding save to keep the scores level. The French continued where they had left off in the second half and eventually their slick interpassing in midfield found a forward in space and he gave Pearce no chance to open the scoring. Thistles rallied but could not find the killer pass which would open up the home defence and the match ended 1-0 to Superveterans France A.

Scottish Thistles took the game to Belgian Old Lions and their second match and were well on top. An early diving strike by Alistair Ogilvie from a right wing cross fired across by Donald Dunbar put the Scots 1-0 up and a few minutes later John Michalik's shot came off a Belgian defender's leg and fell to Brian de Mattos who scored a second to put Thistles 2-0 up at the interval after a half which they completely dominated by playing controlled, passing hockey. The Belgian side came into the match in the second half, disrupting the Scottish play and winning a couple of short corners which came to nothing. The one shot they managed on target was decisively cleared by Dick Pearce in the Scottish goal. Thistles regained their shape towards the end of the half but could not improve on their score and the match ended 2-0 for Scottish Thistles.

The second day started well for Scottish Thistles, who ran out 5-0 winners against a weak Alliance team bolstered by some recruits from England LX. One again Brian de Mattos and Alistair Ogilvie shared the goals, though the latter netted four times with two in each half. The first goal was disputed by the opposition as the ball appeared to come off a Scottish foot before being put past the Alliance keeper by Brian de Mattos with Alistair Ogilvie in close attendance. With the tournament rules meaning that goals up to three were worth a point each, Thistles played the ball around very well against a static Alliance defence, keeping possesion and constantly probing for weak spots. Alliance found it difficult to progress far into the Scottish half and the Thistles defence was never under any pressure. The inevitable goals came from the stick of Alistair Ogilvie, the first from a sweep from a prone position. The question was asked whether he could score while standing up and Alistair answered it emphatically by firing decisively past the Alliance keeper from a short corner. 3-0 half time. With all the available points in the bag, Scottish Thistles relaxed a little in the second half, keeping the shape which had been successful and slotting in players from the bench, some in unaccustomed positions. Tow further goals followed in the second half, one from a long pass from John Michalik up to Jim Watson whose pass to Alistair Ogilvie found the striker one on one on the keeper. Alistair sold the keeper a dummy and walked the ball into the net. The other again came from a one on one on the keeper, this time Alistair receiving the ball with his back to the keeper and swivelling to net past him. This was a great team performance and set up Scottish Thistles for their next match, against Auld Enemy England LX.

England proved to be too strong for a dogged Scottish Thistles side, which resisted well until half time, the defence making it difficult for the English possession to be converted into goals, though their forwards were quite profligate in missing two clear cut chances outside Dick Pearce's left hand post. The English regrouped at half time, putting four men up at times to counter Thistles' defensive system of three at the back with a centre half cutting off the supply to the forwards. However it was a driving run from the very skilful English centre half which broke the deadlock, the LX player taking on and beating four men before firing the ball past the helpless Scottish keeper. A second followed soon after from a switch move at a short corner injected from the 'wrong' side, the ball being passed back to the injector who crossed to the penalty spot for his team mate to net a second for the English. It could have been worse because the umpire awarded England LX a penalty stroke, but with Dick Pearce diving one way, the ball hit the other post and the match finished 2-0 to England LX, virtually assuring them of first place and a semi final against the fourth placed team.

In the last game of the round robin, the task was clear for Scottish Thistles, who were already assured of fourth place and would finish third unless France Supervétérans B could beat them by more than one goal. The French side was bolstered by the addition of a skilful midfielder who had also played for the A side in the previous game, and he caused Scottish hearts to leap when he forced his way into the circle and shot past Dick Pearce to put the home side ahead after only five minutes. Scottish Thistles had the bulk of the pressure but the French continued to look threatening. The tension was released when Alan Parker broke free on the right and his cross found Brian de Mattos on his own in front of goal; the Scottish forward had time to pick his spot before despatching the ball into the empty net. With players on both sides tiring visibly, Thistles continued to dominate but could not find the winning goal. The match ended 1-1 and Scottish Thistles finished in third place, qualifying for a semi final against the French A side on the last day of the competition.

Unfortunately, though Thistles were better organised than in their first match against the French, they were unable to match the work rate of a good French side in the semi final on Sunday 13 March. The French took advantage of a misunderstanding between Dick Pearce and Ian Downie in front of the Thistles goal with only minutes on the clock to move into a 1-0 lead which they never looked like losing, and a second score from a short corner in the second half sealed victory for the French.

Scottish Thistles made up for a lacklustre performance in the morning match with an excellent display of passing hockey in the first half of the 3rd/4th place final against the French B side, which had been reinforced by an excellent lady midfield player, admittedly considerably younger and prettier than anyone else on the field. Scotland abandoned their 3-1-4-2 system in favour of a 3-4-3 formation and took the game to the French. The first goal was scored by Alistair Ogilvie after he found himself one on one on the French goalkeeper, drawing the ball to his left and driving it into the net past the wrong-footed keeper. With the Scots now relaxed and confident, Brian de Mattos took a very sharp chance after a great run by John Michalik, whose pass into the circle came in at waist height to be deflected in by Brian. The third came from Jim Watson after another interpassing move among the forwards left Jim with all the time in the world to compose himself and pass the ball into the empty net from the left hand side of the circle. The Scots continued to press in the second half but the width which had caused the opposition so much trouble was missing and the Scottish attacks were too central, and too easily mopped up by the French defence. Thistles missed the dynamic presence of John Michalik in midfield and the French gradually began to take control of the central area. With ten minutes to go, a solo run and shot by the lady guest resulted in a goal for the home side, and minutes later they were awarded a penalty from which they scored to make the score 3-2 to Thistles, scarcely a reflection on the balance of play but leaving the Scots looking worried that the match would end up equal with a resulting penalty shoot out. However John Michalik came on for the last two minutes and spent most of them with the ball in the vicinity of the French corner flag to see out victory for Scottish Thistles and third place in the tournament once again.