2017 Grand Masters European Cup

Glasgow 19-27 August 2017 - Grand Masters (Over 60)

Scotland was represented at the 2017 European Cup in Glasgow by three international teams (Over 60, Over 65 and Over 70) and a Tournament Trophy Over 60 team.The Grand Masters European Cup competition (Over 60) involved ten teams split into two pools. Pool A contained Belgium, England, France, Ireland and Spain; Pool B included Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland and Wales. Depending on their position in the pool, Scotland Grand Masters would play:

Scotland narrowly lost out on second place in Pool B to Germany, who scored their decisive equaliser with only two minutes to go in the final pool match. Three teams: Germany, Scotland and Wales finished on five points, in that order because of goal difference. Scotland had the advantage of playing the bottom side in Pool A, Belgium, in the cross over ties to decide places 5-8, but could not overcome a stuffy Belgian side. The match finished in a 2-2 draw and Belgium won the penalty shoot out to condemn Scotland to the 7-8 play off against Wales. There was to be no repeat of the drawn pool match between these sides, Scotland winning 5-2 to finish the tournament in seventh place.

Full statistics on teams, matches, standings and players are available from AltiusRT

Pool B Matches

Saturday 19 August Scotland Flag Scotland 7 (Mackenzie 2, McArthur, Robertson, Taylor 2, Morrison) Italy 1 (Affibris) Italy Flag QTV logo

For their opening match of the European Grand Masters tournament, Scotland took on Italy. Putting the hard work of the training sessions into the international competition, Scotland soon dominated possession and territory against an Italian side still settling into Glasgow. Within 5 minutes Scotland took the lead from their second penalty corner, Gordon Mackenzie netting at second bite. Scotland hardly let Italy into their half, seeming to struggle more with a slippery pitch than the opposition. They finished the quarter strongly but could not increase their lead in spite of earning two more penalty corners and having a Hew Bishop shot cleared off the line.

The second quarter continued as the first, with Scotland dominating possession and scoring again from an early penalty corner. From the pull out, Skipper Ian Wilson fed Derek Johnstone on the left, who slipped the ball through to Alasdair McArthur in the right channel to fire past the hapless Giancarlo Faltelli in the Italian goal. Although Scotland continued to create chances, they were unable to make the most of the possession. As the half drew to a close, Italy got into the game, forcing their only penalty corner and drawing a fine save from Ali Ross.

After the break, Scotland, perhaps buoyed by the fine drizzle, took back control, forcing a string of penalty corners. Alasdair Robertson hit the sideboard, and Derek Johnstone and Bernie Morrison forced good saves from the big Italian keeper. Then, against the run of play, Italy broke into Scotland's half, took advantage of a couple of defensive slips and a poor clearance and somehow Italy captain Claudio Affibris forced the ball over the line. This is not the Scotland of old, and they were quickly back into their stride, moving the ball around freely. Two late strikes in the quarter put Scotland firmly back in control. First, Bernie Morrison took the ball on the right of the circle and squared across to Arthur Robertson to slot home from the left post. Then with the ball fired into the circle, Billy Taylor took the important touch to deflect past the keeper.

In the final quarter, Scotland continued their passing game, finding plenty of space against a defeated team. Solid defence from Ian Wilson and John Hay snuffed out infrequent Italian attacks, while at the other end John Candlin and Billy Taylor drew more saves from the keeper. The relentless Scottish pressure brought further result, with three late goals. Billy Taylor picked up the ball from a firm pass from Arthur Robertson, turned away from the keeper and struck firmly home. A further flowing attack resulted in a pass to Alasdair McArthur on the right of the circle, a swift pass to Bernie Morrison and a simple finish. Moments later, another penalty corner and a direct shot from Gordon Mackenzie found the gap between keeper and defender on the line.

A good start from Scotland, with bigger battles to come, starting with Wales the following day.

Saturday 19 August Germany Flag Germany 1 Wales 1 Wales Flag

Sunday 20 August Netherlands Flag Netherlands 8 Italy 0 Italy Flag

Sunday 20 August Scotland Flag Scotland 3 (Candlin, Robertson, McArthur) Wales 3 (Ible, Sparkes, Beaumont) Wales Flag

Scotland’s over 60s’ second match, against Wales at Clydesdale, was a tough game for both sides: exciting for the crowd but frustrating for the players. Neither side took control of the game for any significant length off time and a lack of control over stick tackling led increasingly to fractured playmaking.

The first quarter was fairly evenly matched but Scotland had the edge with two penalty corners, both of which came to nothing. Their early play was more incisive than Wales, whose two shots late in the first quarter were well wide. The first goal came in the second quarter when, somewhat against the run of play, Wales forced a penalty corner midway through the quarter. A well worked routine back to the injector and across the circle led to a calmly taken shot by Andy Ible past Scottish keeper Ronnie Stott. Wales were shading the first half, but Scotland's high work rate brought them reward just before the interval. A penetrating ball from Gordon MacKenzie was followed by a smart cross at the second touch from Billy Taylor and a cool finish from the ever-energetic John Candlin.

This Scottish team has a habit of finishing games strongly, but their cause was not helped by an early Welsh goal in the second half. From a free hit on the left, Wales squared the ball across the top of the circle. A firm strike just inside the circle was deflected high into the net by Steve Sparkes to restore the Welsh lead. Scotland's response was further pressure on the Welsh defence. Two minutes after the Welsh goal, a Scottish penalty corner led to Glenn Paton striking the left post and the rebound was smuggled clear by the defence. The game flowed from end to end and the home side equalised for the second time when Niall Sturrock turned the ball over near halfway and drove forward. His pass to Bernie Morrison was taken into the circle and squared for Arthur Robertson to tuck away.

The Scots may have hoped that the game would turn their way, but once again they lost the lead, early in the final quarter. The Welsh penalty corner stopper mis-controlled the trap outside the circle, but the ball fell kindly allowing Bob Beaumont a shot on goal which was clearly going to cross the line above the 460 mm height limit. Inexplicably, the umpire awarded a goal after a deflection from keeper Ronnie Stott’s glove. To their great credit, the Scots continued to press for a third equaliser. With only three minutes to go, Glenn Paton tricked his way between two defenders and passed into the heart of the Welsh circle where the strength of Alasdair McArthur ensured that the ball crossed the line after a goal mouth scramble.

Scotland will be disappointed that they allowed the Welsh something from the game, but a point saved could be valuable when they resume their campaign against the Netherlands and Germany on Wednesday and Thursday at the National Hockey Centre (both matches will feature in the live feed on YouTube)

Monday 21 August Netherlands Flag Netherlands 1 Germany 0 Germany Flag       Italy Flag Italy 0 Wales 2 Wales Flag

Wednesday 23 August Netherlands Flag Netherlands 4 (van Til 3, van der Meulen) Scotland 0 Scotland Flag QTV logo

Scotland resumed their Euro campaign against Netherlands on Wednesday 23 August, suffering a 4-0 defeat. The scoreline flattered the Dutch, whose clinical finishing made the all-important difference. The first quarter started well for Scotland, with patient passing moves threatening the opposition 25 and an early strike by Billy Taylor from a Niall Sturrock pass needed to be well cleared by the defence. A second chance came soon after. Although the Dutch had a share of possession and some half chances, Scotland would have been ahead if points were awarded. Two penalty corners apiece late in the quarter troubled neither keeper unduly.

The second quarter started with early Dutch pressure and another penalty corner three minutes in. The initial shot was saved but the rebound was tucked away by Wouter van Til. Undaunted, Scotland replied with a series of forays into the opposition half, but were unable to take advantage of a temporary suspension for a poor Dutch stick tackle. A well struck Gordon MacKenzie through pass led to a missed chance and another penalty corner for Scotland went wide of the goal. Half time, one down, but Scotland were in the game.

In the third quarter, Netherlands struck early again. Following further Scottish pressure, a turnover saw a quick break from the Dutch. They arrived 3 against 2 in the Scottish circle and slick passing opened up the goal for a tap-in by Wouter van Til. Again Scotland responded with some fine passing hockey, but two more chances went begging. A second green card was awarded to a Dutch player but Scotland again failed to take advantage. Instead, as the quarter drew to a close, the Dutch struck again. A penalty corner following a defensive slip, was cleanly stopped, passed right and then centred for an easy finish by Wout van der Meulen..

In the fourth quarter, Scotland kept up the work rate and enjoyed some decent passages of play. Ian Macreath firing a ball into the circle following strong approach play almost gave Bernie Morrison a chance and the consistently reliable Niall Sturrock was a constant threat on the right. In a game that had ebbed and flowed, the Dutch also mounted further attacks. Twice they were thwarted by excellent recovery tackles from Arthur Robertson. With four minutes left, against a tiring and vanquished Scottish team, the Dutch sprang another break forward. Slick one-two passing opened up the defence for their fourth goal scored by Vouter van Til to complete his hat trick.

With three matches played out of the four in the pool, Netherlands were assured of first place, while only one point separated Wales, Germany and Scotland. Even a win by one goal against Germany would allow Scotland to overtake them, though Wales could pip Scotland for second place with a win against Netherlands in their final match.

 

Wednesday 23 August Italy Flag Italy 0 Germany 5 Germany Flag

Thursday 24 August 17:20 Scotland Flag Scotland 1 (Robertson) Germany 1 (Bornemann) Germany Flag QTV logo

In their final group game, Scotland knew that only a win would be enough to secure a place in Saturday’s semi-final. For the Germans, a draw would be enough. They came agonisingly close, but were denied by Germany in the final quarter.

Scotland were pressed by Germany from the start, but were the better team in possession and creativity. Having survived an early penalty corner against them, they deservedly took the lead in the eighth minute: a smart stop and pass to Niall Sturrock, who played the ball to Arthur Robertson on the near post who swept the ball into the goal. In the second quarter, Scotland maintained composure and continued to build pressure on the Germans. Their patience was good but a couple of slips allowed the Germans to break through, with one shot flashing narrowly wide. The half time lead was well-deserved.

The third quarter was more evenly contested, with turnover ball giving both sides the chance to break and Scotland dropping deeper in defence at times. Scotland needed a second goal, but despite the impressive effort in chasing and tackling and some well-structured approach play, they could not create enough chances. The only penalty corner of the quarter was to Scotland, but the ball was lost in the circle. A superb follow up tackle by Glenn Paton retrieved the ball, but the attack came to nought.

So the game, and Scotland's ambitions in the tournament, came down to the final quarter. They withstood some early German possession and Ally Ross making a fine save from a German penalty corner. The tension rose visibly, with several tetchy tackles and a German green card for foul play, but much of the game was being played in the German half. Then, with four minutes to go two moments shaped the game and Scotland's tournament. Firstly, the Germans equalised from a penalty corner, following up with a well-struck shot after the initial save. They had the goal they needed to advance. Then, with less than two minutes on the clock, Scotland forced a penalty corner of their own. The German defence was reduced by one for breaking the line, so Scotland worked the ball left, square and right before Ben Gibson struck the foot of the post and the ball bounced clear. The moments ticked away and the match came to an end with the German players celebrating.

A good game and on its own a creditable draw for Scotland. They had summoned a huge effort and put their game plan into action with skill, patience and composure. There were notable performances across the pitch, including from the consistent Arthur Robertson, the defensive trio of John Hay, Ian Wilson and Davie Rowlands and the German nominated man of the match, Niall Sturrock. So Scotland lost out on goal difference and went on to play Belgium on Friday 25 August for a chance to play for fifth overall on Saturday 26 August.

 

Thursday 24 August Netherlands Flag Netherlands 7 Wales 0 Wales Flag

Pool B Table

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Netherlands 4 4 0 0 20 0 20 12
Germany 4 1 2 1 7 3 4 5
Scotland 4 1 2 1 11 9 2 5
Wales 4 1 2 1 6 11 -5 5
Italy 4 0 0 4 1 22 -21 0

Cross Over Tie

Friday 25 March 14:00 GNHC Pitch 2 Belgium Flag Belgium 2 (Calewaert, Perier) Scotland 2 (Johnstone 2) Scotland Flag

Belgium won the penalty shoot out 2-1

Once again, Scotland's ambitions were thwarted by opposition that they had expected to beat. This time they were demoted to a 7th/8th place play off match by a Belgian side which played with strength and resilience in the slippery wet conditions.
Scotland had started well, with four penalty corners in quick succession, but they fluffed their lines and the goal wasn’t threatened. Belgium countered, mounting an attack that ended with a shot that went just wide, but they then forced a penalty corner of their own which was dispatched confidently from a narrow angle by Michel Calewaert after a neat passing move.

Scotland recovered in the second quarter and played measured, patient hockey, building a period of possession which was interrupted only by one Belgian break. Derek Johnstone was the key link in the Scottish build up, tirelessly making himself available. He was ably supported by the width of Arthur Robertson and Glenn Paton, the latter creating a chance with a skilful dribble into the circle. Once again however, the simplest of errors led to loss of possession and Belgium doubled their lead with another swift counter attack, culminating in a cut back from the by-line to unmarked Belgium forward Jean-Louis Perier. Scotland's penetrating passing game led to rwo more penalty corners late in the first half, but chances were squandered in the driving rain. Finishing was not helped by the sodden pitch and the ball seemed to elude the final touch of the forwards.

Scotland raised their game again in the third quarter and got their first goal. An early penalty corner was saved by the tall Belgian keeper Albert Fischer, but soon after, a sharp through ball was skilfully deflected on the reverse by Derek Johnstone. Scotland were back in the match, but simple errors in difficult conditions prevented them from capitalising on their superior skills and slick passing game. Niall Sturrock became more effective, beginning a sequence of running approaches which created several chances within the circle. It seemed likely that Scotland would score more goals. Within one minute of the restart for the final quarter, Scotland had drawn level. Bernie Morrison won a penalty corner with a clever reverse. The first shot was saved, but Derek Johnstone converted with a powerful flick for his second of the match. Further chances fell Scotland's way, but composure and control in the circle was in short supply. Niall Sturrock was still pulling the strings up font and Ben Gibson had greater control of midfield, but despite some excellent through balls, the vital third goal never came.

Belgium held out for the full time draw and Scotland were denied by the cruelty of the penalty shoot-out. John Candlin scored with ease, but the others were well saved and Belgium managed to slot two goals to set up their play off against Spain. In their final match, to decide 7th place, Scotland were condemned to face Wales again, hoping to atone for the 3-3 draw in the pool game.

Finals

Saturday 26 March Wales Flag Wales 2 (Sparkes, Lane) Scotland 5 (Morrison 2, Mackenzie 3) Scotland Flag

In their final match of the tournament, Scotland outplayed Wales, gaining seventh place overall. A satisfactory win, but scant consolation for the dropped points in their drawn pool match against the same opposition.

In this match, patience was the key for Scotland. A cagey start from both teams, but the close control of Ben Gibson and Niall Sturrock gave the Scots increasing control of midfield and the tireless Arthur Robertson kept Scotland moving forward. The Welsh threat was on the break and in the 7th minute, John Hay needed to make an important saving tackle. Soon after, Scotland earned their first penalty corner and scored their first goal, Bernie Morrison slotting from close range. As the first quarter drew to a close, an excellent passing move initiated by John Candlin and involving Bernie Morrison nearly led to a goal for Gordon Mackenzie. Once again, though, the Scots were grateful for a classy cover tackle from Arthur Robertson to preserve their lead.

Scotland protected that lead through the second quarter, although lapses of concentration and control gave the Welsh a greater share of possession. Wales earned their first penalty corner, but were denied by a fine save from Ronnie Stott.

In the second half, Scotland looked for the same patient build up, but also remained vulnerable to the Welsh break. Scotland forged two chances of their own; a strong run from Glenn Paton with no one there to apply a finish, and a shot from Hew Bishop that flashed wide. But the Welsh retaliated and broke down the middle. The ball was slipped through a gap in the defence and calmly driven past the keeper by Steve Sparkes. It took the Scots four minutes to restore their lead. Ian Wilson had a flick at goal well saved, but Gordon Mackenzie struck from the ensuing Niall Sturrock cross. Scotland then played some of their best hockey. They could have gone further ahead. Gordon Mackenzie played the baseline pass, Niall Sturrock provided the cutback and Billy Taylor was primed and ready for the shot as the hooter went for the end of the quarter.

As is often the case, Scotland outlasted their opponents and saved their best until last. The fourth quarter did not start well for them, however; Wales equalised from another swift passing move, with a clever reverse opening up the gap past Scottish keeper Ronnie Stott for Charlie Lane to score. Soon after, Bernie Morrison went on a grand curving run around the Welsh defence and into the circle. His cross forced a Welsh defender to kick the ball into his own net. The floodgates opened. Glenn Paton shot wide. A flowing move from Billy Taylor to Niall Sturrock gave Alasdair McArthur a shot on goal. The resulting penalty corner allowed Gordon Mackenzie to strike straight into the goal. Two minutes later he repeated the shot for his third and Scotland’s fifth following an incisive run into the circle from Niall Sturrock. Scotland kept making chances and were denied a second time by the hooter when they had created an opening for Hew Bishop in the middle of the circle.

So Scotland finished with a second win of the tournament. They had only lost once in normal game time. Seventh place could easily have been bettered, but for small margins: an unlucky decision here, the width of a post there. Final placing aside, they can be proud of the way they played hockey at their home tournament.

Squad

Hew Bishop, John Candlin, Ben Gibson, John Hay, Derek Johnstone, Alasdair McArthur, Ian McCreath, Gordon McKenzie, Bernie Morrison, Alistair Ogilvie, Glenn Paton, Arthur Robertson, Alistair Ross (GK), David Rowlands, Ronnie Stott (GK), Niall Sturrock, Billy Taylor, Ian Wilson (captain)

2017 Great Grand Masters European Cup

2017 Senior Grand Masters European Cup

2017 Grand Masters Tournament Trophy

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