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Scottish Thistles at Dragons Festival Swansea 28-29 August 2017

Scottish ThistlesDragonsFestivalSwansea2017

Tim Lorimer organised a last minute Scottish Thistles trip to the annual Dragons Festival in Swansea, bringing on board a number of guest players, and they had the usual good time over the weekend of 28-29 August 2017. Faced with stronger than expected opposition, most of the teams using the tournament as final preparation for the European Cup, Thistles found the going tough but emerged with heads held high.

Although they came out of the tournament with only one draw, the standard of opposition was very high, probably higher than in previous years, and everyone contributed to the team in a very positive way, never giving up and all thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Thank you to the guest payers on their first Thistles tournament and hopefully they will join the club and want to contribute again. Some of the guests qualify for Scotland so we are looking forward to their future involvement with Scotland.

Squad

Paul Bateson (also played for England LX), Graham Dick, Donald Dunbar, Ian Dunbar, Peter Haines (Sat only), Chris Heeps, Tim Lorimer (Captain), Duncan Mitchell, Dick Pearce (GK), Keith Raper, Benny Rathbone, John Sudale, Peter Terleski, Tony Walker, Neil Ward

Scottish Thistles 0 Welsh Dragons TT 2

A scratch Thistles team who got to know each other’s names only during the pre-match tactical discussions and warm up played the Dragons European TT squad who had played together on numerous occasions. Dragons took the lead after 15 minutes when a cross from the right was deflected into the goal from their centre forward. Thistles were getting to know how each other played and were unfortunate to concede a second goal half way through the second half when, after Dragons centre forward Nigel Sanchez had his first and second attempts blocked, he managed to squeeze the ball home from the narrowest of angles.

Scottish Thistles 0 England LX Over 65 3

Learning from their first game, Thistles changed the formation from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1 to try to thwart the strong England midfield. A disputed penalty stroke for an apparent stick tackle gave LX a 1-0 half time lead. The more defensive formation manged to keep the English from creating many chances but eventually pressure began to tell and LX manged to convert two of the many short corners they were awarded - they also missed a penalty stroke. This was an overall better performance with the five man midfield of Donald Dunbar, Benny Rathbone, John Sudale, Peter Haines and Paul Bateson/Chris Heeps regularly managing to break down the LX attacks and Dick Pearce in goal making some great saves.

Scottish Thistles 0 Welsh Dragons Over 60 8

A late withdrawal resulted in Scottish Thistles having to play the full WelshOver 60 EuropeanCup squad, and with Thistles having two players over 70, the game was a mismatch as the score line suggests. Thistles never gave up and some of the tackles made by our defence especially Peter Terleski were tremendous but with Glasgow only three weeks away the Welsh were always quicker and faster.

Scottish Thistles 2 Welsh Dragons Over 70 2

Another changed formation of 3-2-3-2 found Scottish Thistles attacking with much more purpose and causing some panic clearances from the Welsh defence. In spite of the Scottish pressure, it was Dragons who took the lead with a short corner after ten minutes. Thistles continued trying to attack and after 15 minutes Tim Lorimer picked the ball up on the Welsh 22 and ran through their defence to score the equaliser and Thistle's first goal of the weekend. The Scots were playing the better hockey especially down the right hand side and a cross from Donald Dunbar on the right found Paul Bateson unmarked in the circle. Paul, who also played for England LX throughout the tournament, beat the goalkeeper to give Scottish Thistles the lead. Frustratingly, a short corner right on the final whistle was converted by Dragons to snatch away victory from the Scots.

Scottish Thistles 0 England LX 4

There was no rest between matches as the pitch hire was running out, and Thistle,s having gained some confidence from the last match, lined up with the same formation. Some great defensive work from Neil Ward and Dobbin Dunbar kept the game goalless for the first part of the match. Unfortunately the incessant English pressure bought them a number of short corners and they managed to convert two of them. Thistles had chances to level but a series of great saves and a missed penalty stroke left the score 2-0 to England LX at half time. Tiredness from back to back games and patience from LX allowed them to score two more goals in the second half to run out 4-0 winners, the last goal scored by Paul Bateson who had been forced to choose between his two teams for this match!

report by Tim Lorimer