2017 Grand Masters European Tournament Trophy

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

Scotland was represented at the 2017 European Cup to be held in Glasgow by three international teams (Over 60, Over 65 and Over 70) and a Tournament Trophy Over 60 team.The Grand Masters European Tournament Trophy competition (Over 60) involved eight teams split into two pools, J and K. Scotland LX (playing as Scottish Thistles) were in Pool J with England LX White, England LX Red and Team Germany Red. Pool K comprised Alliance, Welsh Dragons, Netherlands TT and Southern Cross.

The teams finishing first and second in the pools played in the 1-4 play offs on Friday 25 August and the finals on Sunday 27 August. The teams finishing third and fourth contesed the 5-8 play offs on Thursday 24 August and the 5/6 or 7/8 play off on Saturday 26 August.

Scotland LX had a tough task in their group with both England LX sides (who went on to contest the final) to contend with, but a win against the German side gave them third place in the group, with a favourable draw in the first round of the 5-8 play offs against Welsh Dragons. Matches against the Welsh are always close and this was no exception, the match ending 2-2. The Scots won the ensuing penalty shoot out to go on to the 5-6 play off against Netherlands TT, but could not overcome a strong Dutch side and finished the tournament in sxth place.

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

Pool J Matches

Saturday 19 August Scotland Flag Scotland LX 0 England LX White 6 (Wiseman 2, Taig, Housham 2, Leatt) England Flag QTV logo

Thistles had a fairly strong team for its first match of the tournament but they were up against England White. As often happens, when up against a well organised and skilful opposition, goals can go in the wrong direction. Thistles struggled to begin with andshort corner goals by John Wiseman and Tony Taig in the dying minutes of the first quarter were no more than the English side deserved. As time progressed, the game became more evenly matched but once again the English side struck at the end of the second quarter with a goal from a short corner scored by John Housham coming in on the far post in a trade mark English move. In the dying seconds of the half, a turnover gave Mike Leatt possession and, though he mishit his pass, it reached Graham Small all on his own in the Scottish circle. Though the ball appeared to have rolled off the back of his stick, the umpire's attention may have been distracted by the onrushing Dick Pearce who went right through the English player. The resulting penalty stroke was converted by Mike Leatt to make the half time score 4-0. The Scots pressed their opponents at the beginning of the second half and had a period of sustained possession in the English 23, but could not find the net. LX White finally won back possession and the match became more open before the English put together a good passing movement down their right, ending in John Wiseman meeting a cross and putting a fifth goal. Once again, Thistles put on the pressure but found the White's defence impenetrable and the quarter ended 5-0. Finally, Ian Knox had a good run through midfield and his pass rebounded off Neil Ward's leg, The umpire applied advantage and John Housham found himself one on one on Dick Pearce to score his second goal.

Penalty corners are the strong point of the England teams and any mistake is expensive. On the other hand, we also had three short corners, with the injecting being particularly skilful. Three of the six England goals came from their short corners, but none from our own, even though the shots were on target. Two goals came from open play and one from a penalty, after Scottish keeper Dick Pearce launched an England player almost into outer space. No one would begrudge the England win after a lesson in good, passing, team play hockey.

Saturday 19 August England Flag England LX Red 2 Team Germany Red 0 Germany Flag

Sunday 20 August 09:00 Germany Flag Team Germany Red 0 Scotland LX 2 (Lorimer 2) Scotland Flag

Day two of the competition saw Scottish Thistles play Germany and the team couldn't have been more positive in their attitude and determination to do well. Thjey had learned some hard lessons the day before, but hadn't had the time playing together to rectify them. Thistles agreed a policy and stuck to it. We played by a plan to use the full width of the pitch and keep away from some very skilled German players in the middle. George Pickett and Paul Bateson (who had missed the first match) opened up the wings with close support from the midfield. The long hit, wasted balls were a thing of the past and Scotland LX were well organised with a plan. Within seven minutes they had the ball in the net from a short corner but, after consultation, the umpires disallowed it due to the shot's being marginally high when it went over the line before hitting the back boards. The team turned around and accepted the decision. Soon after, the ball went in the net again after a really good cross by John Bennett was clinically put away by Tim Lorimer - this time the goal stood. The pressure was on the German team, but they held on to half time. In the second half the team really matured and worked the attack and midfield together. Both wings injected good quality passes into the German circle, one of which resulted in a second goal for Scotland LX from a determined cross by George "flying" Pickett, again finished off by Tim Lorimer. Of course the players were all very pleased by the win, but all concerned were even more pleased by the good hockey which had resulted in the team's winning the match.

Monday 21 August England Flag England LX Red 6 (Conway, Seymour 2, Davidson, Hall 2) Scotland LX 0 Scotland Flag

The final group match was a much bigger challenge against England Red with the prize of a place in the 1-4 finals. The growing confidence and undoubted enthusiasm of the players could have made it happen, and half time came and went with the match scoreless. The English side broke the deadlock in the first minute of the second half and went on to score six without reply. With Team Germany losing their third match in a row, Scotland LX were confirmed in third place in the pool, giving them a match against the team finishing fourth in Pool K on Thursday 24 August.

Alan Parker: "On the third day of the competition, we played England LX Red. This was the third early start for Thistles, and, after the massive effort they put in against the Germans the previous day, legs were tired. However, this is a game and unexpected things can happen? Thistles started the game with enthusiasm and a well worked plan. Standing on the sidelines, it looked like they just might turn over the better of the two English teams. The play was very equal and penalty corners occurred in both halves. It was clear that whosoever got the first goal would probably win the game. Towards half time though, the three early days in a row of games were showing in the legs of the team, and a few errors were creeping in. Still, half time score nil all.

The second half though was another matter. The English team had clearly got a 'talking to' and they immediately pressed hard and placed more resources into attack. Their first goal came within minutes of the second half start. Thistles fought back, but that all important first goal had been scored. With tired legs Thistles fought back, but only occasionally did the team get into their 'D'. Another set back was a goal awarded to the English team after a very dubious strike. The Umpires talked for a while and then awarded the goal. Heads went down for a while and we changed formation into a defensive position so that the goals could be limited to save goal difference. In the end, attrition and tiredness led to a six-nil win for the England Red team.
A very impressive performance of good quality Hockey on both sides."

Monday 21 August England Flag England LX White 2 Team Germany Red 0 Germany Flag

Tuesday 22 August England Flag England LX White 1 England LX Red 2 England Flag

Pool J Table

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
England LX Red 3 3 0 0 10 1 9 9
England LX White 3 2 0 1 9 2 7 6
Scotland LX 3 1 0 2 2 12 -10 3
Germany Red 3 0 0 3 0 6 -6 0

5-8 Play Offs

Scotland LX finished in third place in Pool J and played Welsh Dragons, who finished fourth in Pool K, in the 5-8 play offs. A win would see them contesting 5th and 6th places.

Thursday 24 August Scotland Flag Scotland LX 2 (Macdonald, Lorimer) Welsh Dragons 2 (Asshetton, Williams) Wales Flag
[penalty shoot out Scotland LX 2 Welsh Dragons 1]

Scotland LX met their old friends from Wales in the first play-off round to decide which team would progress to play for fifth place. Dragons are always a difficult team to beat and this match was no exception. On the whole, though Thistles were the better team, a defensive error in the second quarter saw Wales take the lead through David Assheton. For a time this seem to unsettle the Scottish team and it too a while for them to recover their composure.

Thistles got back into the game after half time with a very successful penalty corner injected at speed from Geoff Duke, stopped perfectly by Stuart Stephen and planted very firmly in the back of the net by Stevie Mcdonald. Penalty corners had been going really well, although not resulting in as many goals as there possibly should be after good injections, stops and shots. Three minutes into the final quarter, Scotland LX looked set for a win after Tim Lorimer scored his third goal of the tournament, again from a penalty corner move. Unfortunately, as happens often when playing the Welsh, a break away saw John Williams equalise for Dragons only three minutes later.

The game had been exciting, end to end stuff but not as exciting as in the penalty shoot out to decide the winner. Welsh Dragons set the tension level high by beating Dick Pearce in the Scotland LX goal with their first attempt. The next four attempts failed to count, leaving Dragons one ahead after three attempts, with the Scots still to take their third. Stevie Macdonald equalised with a well executed lob over the head of Welsh keeper Chris Alcutt. Again there was a run of three unsuccessful attempts, leaving the score at one apiece with only Thistles last attempt to come. It came down to Stuart Stephen to save the game- no pressure. Stuart moved forward after a slight stumble and placed the ball carefully past the Welsh keeper. This could not have been a more tense event and the crowd loved it. If the match had been on Pitch 1 as originally scheduled, this would have had a huge number of hits on YouTube. The match was conducted in good spirit and with not one word of dissension against either umpires or players.

After the game the two teams joined together for a 'wee dram' on the pitch side, for a salute to the Welsh player who had earlier in the week suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch, and to the paramedics who certainly saved his life.This was the spirit of good hockey at its best, but a nerve-wracking match to watch.

Scotland LX qualified to play Netherlands TT on Saturday 26 August to decide fifth place.

5/6 Final

Saturday 26 August Netherlands Flag Netherlands TT 4 (Grobben, De Jong 2, Formsma) Scotland LX 0 Scotland Flag

Unfortunately Netherlands proved too strong for the home side, scoring four without reply to leave Scotland LX in a very creditable sixth place in the Tournament Trophy.

Squad

Paul Bateson, John Bennett, Brian de Mattos, Geoff Duke, Chris Heeps, Tim Lorimer, Stevie McDonald (vice captain), Neil McKenzie (captain), John Michalik, Duncan Mitchell, Dick Pearce (GK), George Pickett, Keith Raper, Ian Roberts (GK), Stuart Stephen, Tony Walker, Neil Ward

2017 Grand Masters European Cup

2017 Great Grand Masters European Cup

2017 Senior Grand Masters European Cup

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