Scottish Thistles Over 70 in Cumbria

Scottish Thistles Over 70 took on England Over 75 on Friday 18 May 2018 at Cockermouth School, looking for revenge after losing 2-1 in the corresponding fixture in 2017. At the dinner after the match, Captain Ian Downie presented a trophy in honour of Gerry Toner to the winners of the match, who turned out to be England by 2-0. It is hoped that this will become a regular fixture to be played annually. The following morning they played England LX Over 70, going down 3-0.

England Over 75 2 Scottish Thistles Over 70 0

The England Over 75 squad was using this match as preparation for the World Cup in Barcelona and fielded a strong team against a Scottish Thistles side missing some key players. England started strongly snd pinned the Scots back for a spell, though the pressure did not result in any clear cut chances. However a short corner led to the first goal of the match when the ball was switched around the circle, eventually ending up with Captain Ken Wilcox, who beat Scottish keeper Dick Pearce at the right hand post. A second goal followed soon after when, for once, the Scottish defensive marking let them down and an unmarked forward was able to net England's second goal. Scottish Thistles, to their credit, kept their shape and discipline, at times playing some good, passing hockey. The older English players began to tire as the second half wore on, and their defence came under more and more pressure, but without any clear cut chances falling to the Scottish forwards. Right on the final whistle, Thistles won a couple of short corners but failed to convert and the match ended 2-0 in favour of England.

All in all, this was a solid performance from Scottish Thistles, who showed that they could play some attractive hockey, though the cutting edge was lacking. England created relatively few chances but took the two which counted to win the match.

England LX Over 70 3 Scottish Thistles Over 70 0

For much of this match, played in warm conditions on a beautiful sunny morning, there was nothing between the teams. Both sides played some good hockey, mostly in the middle of the park, and the Scottish midfield and defence kept a good shape and discipline, limiting English incursions into the circle. As in the previous match, Scottish Thistles found it difficult to complete good lead up play by creating outcomes in the opposition circle. Half time arrived with the score tied at 0-0 but the third quarter brought a burst of scoring, unfortunately all by England LX. The key player for them was their cack-handed striker, who had not featured in the first half but who proved a difficult player to mark. The first goal came when he led off and tipped the ball past Ian Downie from outside the Scottish 23, straight to another English attacker who had sneaked in behind his marker to pick up the pass on the penalty spot and despatch it past Dick Pearce. Minutes later, the English striker took the ball on his reverse side, with Ian Downie showing him outside. Unfortunately for the Scots, he hit the ball on his reverse stick across Dick Pearce into the opposite corner of the net. Thistles rallied and took the game to the English but again to no avail, and towards the end of the quarter they conceded a short corner which ended up flying past Dick Pearce into the top of the net off number one runner Tony Walker's stick. Though the shot was rising when it hit the stick, the umpire gave the goal. With some of the Scots showing signs of wear and tear, and everyone tiring after two hard games with only two substitutes, Thistles still managed to battle away in the final quarter. A short corner right on the final whistle gave them some hope of clawing a goal back but it was cleared by the English defence and the match finished 3-0.

The weekend had been a good preparation on the way to the World Cup in Barcelona, though only five of the Scotland squad for the World Cup played in Cockermouth. The main benefit was learning the shape and discipline needed to make the team difficult to break down, and practise moving the ball up the pitch as well as supporting the player on the ball.

Squad and Wives

Alan Bremner, Alex and Pauline Cathro, Ian and Catherine Downie, David and Bernice Fargus, Andy Ferrol, David McIntosh, David and Lynda Margerison, Doug and Joan Morrice, Alan Parker, Dick and Eileen Pearce, Norrie and Dorothy Springford, Tony Walker, Sandy and Jean Weir.