2018 Great Grand Masters Celtic Cup

Lille, France 20-22 April 2018

The Celtic Cup on 20-22 April was played on the new astroturf pitch at Polo Hockey Club  200 Chemin Poivré, 59700 Marcq-en-Barœul, France. Four teams competed for the Great Grand Masters (Over 65) trophy in a round robin competion over three days: France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. All matches were played in four quarters of fifteen minutes with a ten minute break at half time and an interval of two minutes between quarters.

Scotland opened with a fine 2-0 win over Ireland but could not find a way through a resolute French side on the second day, drawing the match 0-0. Needing a win against the undefeated Wales side on the final day to claim back the Celtic Cup they had last won in France in 2016, they came up short and Wales ended clear winners of the 2018 Great Grand Masters Celtic Cup. Scotland with four points came second by virtue of a better goal difference than France, with Ireland trailing in fourth place with only one point.

Reports

Scotland 2 (Gallacher, Lorimer) Ireland 0

Scotland began their Celtic Cup campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Ireland. The Scots started the match strongly and took the game to the Irish at every opprtunity, but all their first half pressing failed to produced any goals with Scotland unable to take any of the chances they created. The second half continued in the same vein, with Scotland increasingly dominating play until the opener came in the third quarter through Colin Gallacher, who scored from a reverse stick pass by George Finlayson which took the Irish defence by surprise. A second goal in the final quarter sealed the victory. Skipper Gordon Loudon driving down the right wing and into the circle before releasing a pass to Tim Lorimer whose first time volley went into the Irish net off a post.

This was a good team performance, debutants Sandy Macdonald and Johnny Sudale adding extra quality in midfield. The fact that keeper Chris Kalman never touched the ball during the match says it all about the defensive qualities of the Scotland squad. They would go on with optimism to take on hosts France in their second match.

France 0 Scotland 0

A stuffy French side made it difficult for Scotland to play the kind of passing game which had been so successful in their first match, and a resolute French defence limited the ability of the Scots to create any real chances in the first half, while France were always a threat on the break. Scotland had keeper Chris Kalman to thank for keeping the score level when he had a great save from one of the French breakaway attacks. The second half saw the Scots begin to dominate possession without being able to convert the few chances that came their way, France gradually falling out of the match in an offensive sense and rarely threatening. Scotland won a number of short corners but their drill let them down on the day and none was converted. Tim Lorimer was unlucky when his shot from a tight angle beat the French keeper but rebounded to safety off a post but in the end a 0-0 result was a fair reflection on the play.

Without the fluency which had marked their play in the first match, and faced with a very good French central midfield partnership, Scotland struggled to impose themselves and were left with the task in their final match of beating Wales, who had won both their first two matches.

Wales 2 Scotland 0

Scotland started their last match knowing that a win would secure them the Celtic Cup but it was Wales who took the match to the Scots from the start and they dominated the whole of the first quarter with Scotland rarely getting out of their own half. The second quarter still saw the Welsh dominate although Scotland did manage to get forward on occasion. It looked like the Scots were going to keep the Welsh at bay until they conceded a late goal resulting from a short corner. In the third quarter Scotland began to press forward but did not create any real chances and they then conceded a breakaway goal with a flick that eluded Chris Kalman in the Scots goal. The final quarter saw Scotland finally take control of the match and despite sustained Scottish pressure the Welsh defence could not be breached even from the few penalty corners that the Scots were awarded.

This result meant that Wales were the winners of the Celtic Cup and Scotland finished as runners up on goal difference from France who defeated Ireland 3 - 1 in the final match.

Overall this was a reasonably successful tournament considering their lack of preparation and being the first time the squad had played together and it is hoped that they can improve their performances and fitness going forward into the home internationals and then the World Cup in Barcelona in June.

Gordon Loudon

Scotland GGM squad 2018 Celtic Cup

Scotland Squad

Jim Bate, Jim Chisholm, Graham Conkie, Donald Dunbar, George Finlayson, Colin Gallacher, Chris Kalman, Tim Lorimer, Gordon Loudon*, Sandy MacDonald, Gerry McBride, Peter Robertson, John Smith, Johnny Sudale, Doug Turner

* underage, permission granted

Table

 

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Wales 3 3 0 0 12 2 10 9
Scotland 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
France 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Ireland 3 0 0 3 1 8 -7 1