2018 World Tournament Trophy - Grand Masters (Over 60)

Barcelona 20-30 June 2018

The 2018 Grand Masters Hockey World Cup took place at Real Club de Polo, Barcelona and Castelldefels from Wednesday 20 to Saturday 30 May.

10 teams took part in the Grand Masters (Over 60) Tournament Trophy, in two pools of five teams. Scottish Thistles were in Pool A with Ireland 2, Germany 2, Sixtiberians and Southern Cross.

Scottish Thistles went on from losing their first match against Southern Cross to woin their pool with Southern Cross coming second. They played England LX, second in Pool B, in the semi finals, and beat them 3-0 in a penalty shoot out after the match ended in a 2-2 draw. They met Southern Cross again in the final and, though the match was much closer than the first one, the Australian side won 2-1 to leave Scottish Thistles with the silver medal, by far the best placing of any Scottish side in World or European competition since a Scottish team first competed in 2002.

England LX won the bronze medal and Gurdial Duhre of Scottish Thistles was top scorer in the competition with seven goals.

Scottish Thistles Captain Neil Mackenzie with Silver Medal and Tournament Trophy plaque

Scottish Thistles. World Cup Tournament Trophy Finalists, Barcelona, 2018

Spirits were high for the first group game against Southern Cross, but it didnít take long for those to be undermined. Within three minutes, the Australians were one up. Thistles rallied, and so were disappointed to let in a second just before half time. The Scots started well after the break, pressed and were awarded a short corner. Paul Bateson stepped in to tidy up after a fierce strike was blocked. The Australians however were able to get back on top when they converted their third soon after the Thistles goal. This enabled them to start to control the game and scored another three before the final whistle.

Next up were the Irish who Thistles had played twice recently in warm up games. The Scots knew it would be a tough game, but had the belief that, despite their opening match, they were good enough to beat the Irish. The game turned out to be as tight as anticipated. Thistles won 2-1 through two excellent strikes from Gurdial Duhre at short corners. The Irish goal came with 4 minutes to play, but the Scots were resolute in defence. The measure of the strength of the Irish, playing in their first World or European Cup trophy competition, was confirmed at the conclusion of the tournament when they achieved a highly commendable fifth place.

The teamís confidence and belief escalated after winning this tough game. Additionally, the knowledge they had beaten their next opponent, Germany, last year in the European Cup set up an encounter with them that the Scots were confident they could win. Cliff Martin showed he could strike just as well as Gurdial Duhre at short corners to score the opener in 10 minutes. A minute after returning to the pitch after his first yellow card, Michael Gesche picked up his second yellow, and the inevitable red card, and Germany were down to ten men for the 55 minutes remaining of the match. Just on half time Gurdial once again sent a bullet past the goalkeeper from a short corner. Scotland were cruising in the second half, playing good hockey and keeping secure posession of the ball. Paul Bateson collected his second of the competition when he latched on to a loose ball in the ĎDí and dispatched it with power and accuracy. A stramash in the Scottish area with two minutes to go resulted in penalty flick which the German captain Pal Singh Dosnjh converted, but by that stage, the game was well out of Germany's reach.

The winner of the Scotsí final group match with Sixtiberians (Spainís trophy team) would qualify for the first to fourth playoffs. Despite the Spaniard's home advantage, the game was dominated by Scottish Thistles. By the end they had scored four without conceding to the Spanish team. Gurdial Duhre scored with his now signature short corner strike and just to show us he could, he scored a lovely field goal, picking the ball up in midfield and driving into the Spanish area. Cliff Martin lashed in a strike from the edge of the ĎDí. Paul Bateson jinked his way past many Spanish defenders before scoring from a tight angle. The crowed loved Paulís celebration.

As the Australians had been so dominant in the group, the Scots assumed they had managed to secure a play-off place by coming second in the group. However, that strong Irish team did the Scots a favour by drawing with the Aussies (who had also dropped two points against the Spanish) and the Scots ended up in first place. Their prize was a playoff against England LX.

In the semi-final, the Scots took the field knowing they had a good chance of securing a very rare victory against the auld enemy. England were soon reeling after another Gurdial Duhre short corner bullet in the sixth minute. The English side continued to play tight, possession hockey, but when this broke down, the Scots tore at their defence, pressing high and hard. England LX were unaccustomed to being pressed so deep and consequently were not able to pass the ball around in midfield., but the English side pulled a goal back from a Kevin Coleman strike at a penalty corner only two minutes after Thistles had scored. Even so, it seemed as though they were chasing the game, with the Scots in control for much of it. Towards half time, Neil Mackenzie sent a pass from midfield on to the stick of Cliff Martin, who stepped into the area and feigned a shot which sent the keeper to the floor. Cliff passed the ball wide to John Bennett, who under enormous pressure sent the ball in to the English goal from a very narrow angle. Four minutes into the second half and the sides were level again through a John Wiseman strike at a penalty corner. Thistlesí pressing game continued to unsettle the English, but when they did gain possession in the Scotsí final quarter, the Scotsí defence was impregnable. When the final whistle went, secretly, the Scots knew they had won the tie because of the quality and dominance goalkeeper Scott Chisholm had shown throughout the tournament.

For the penalty shoot out, the Scots had listed 5 players. In the end, only three; Gurdial Duhre, Alan Kerr and Stuart Stephen needed to demonstrate their capacity to stay cool under pressure and skilfully slot the ball into the English net. Goalkeeper Chisholm was like a massive cat, prowling on his line, pouncing on every shot, leaping to palm away flicks and just standing up, growling at the English players. When Stuart Stephen coolly lifted the ball into the middle of the English net, after sending the keeper to the floor, the celebrations began. Thistles probably owe The Proclaimers (and a few others) royalties after the singing on the pitch, off it, in the changing rooms and in the bar. After all, Thistles had beaten England to get into a World Cup final. For the record, this was the first time Scottish Thistles had beaten England LX in eighteen years of trying; the last time they had a semi final decider against the English (in Belgium in 2005), they had lost it on the toss of a coin!

So, Scottish Thistles took to the field against Southern Cross for the final. Again the Scots conceded an early goal, scored in the third minute by Stephen Farrar, but this time the game was much more competitive and just before half time another Gurdial Duhre short corner brought the Scots back on level terms. With nine minutes to go, Mark Elliot managed to get a shot which passed Scott Chisholm in the Scottish goal, and sneaked inside the post. No gold for the Thistles, but plenty of glory.

The achievement of winning a silver medal at a world cup surprised many, but not those close to the squad. The Scots did well a year earlier in Glasgow during the European Cup. Since then very good organisation and coaching helped the squad develop quickly. Mike McInally had been working closely with Stuart Stephen on developing a highly effective system of play; pressing high and wide. Mike organised many coaching sessions that were well attended. He ensured players were clear about the responsibilities of every position on the pitch. Although Gurdial Duhre scored many short corners, Stuart Stephen ensured the routine was slick and highly effective. John Bennett injected the ball with precision and pace and Stuart Stephen stopped the ball dead leaving Duhre to fire the ball home. As manager, Marion Bennett ensured the Scottish administration was accurate and efficient. Additionally, she made sure every player was well organised throughout the competition. This enabled others to concentrate on the hockey aspects of the competition. Players had fun and Mikeís musical warm ups will be one of the playersí many abiding memories. Above all, players had belief in themselves and were inspired by each other.†

On reflection, the Scottish team achieved much more than a silver medal. Teams will have a very different opinion of Scottish Thistles the next time they play them. Gurdial Duhre was the competitionís top scorer. Thistles were the most disciplined team receiving only two green cards throughout the competition, while other teams accumulated six greens, three yellows and one red card playing against them. In winning the gold medal, Southern Cross conceded only two goals, both scored against them by Thistles. The squad believes that no Scottish hockey team of any age group has ever played in a World Cup or European Cup final before. Scotland Over 55s won a bronze in Canberra, 2016, while also being managed by Marion Bennett. Scottish Thistles are currently the top ranked Trophy team in Europe.

Neil Mackenzie (captain), July 2018.

Altius RT teams, results, scorers

Pool A Matches

Thursday 21 June

Southern Cross logo Southern Cross 0 Sixtiberians 0 Spanish flag
German Flag Germany2 1 Ireland2 3 IREland Flag

Friday 22 June

Southern Cross logo Southern Cross 6 Scottish Thistles 1 (Bateson) Scottish Thistles logo

Saturday 23 June

Spanish flag Sixtiberians 1 Germany2 1 German Flag
IREland Flag Ireland2 1 Scottish Thistles 2 (Duhre 2)Scottish Thistles logo

Sunday 24 June

German Flag Germany2 1 Scottish Thistles 3 (Martin, Duhre, Bateson) Scottish Thistles logo

Monday 25 June

Spanish flagSixtiberians 0 Ireland 0 IREland Flag
Southern Cross logo Southern Cross 3 Germany2 0 German Flag

Tuesday 26 June


Spanish flag Sixtiberians 0 Scottish Thistles 4 (Duhre 2, Martin, Bateson)Scottish Thistles logo
Southern Cross logo Southern Cross 0 Ireland2 0 IREland Flag

Grand Masters Tournament Trophy Pool A

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Pt

GD

Scottish Thistles 4 3 0 1 10 8 9 2
Southern Cross 4 2 2 0 6 1 8 8
Ireland2 4 1 2 1 4 3 5 1
Sixtiberians 4 0 3 1 1 1 3 -4
Germany2 4 0 1 3 3 10 1 -7

Pool B

Thursday 21 June

England LX logo England LX 1 Netherlands2 1 Netherlands Flag
Alliance logo Alliance 1 South Africa2 3 South Africa flag

Friday 22 June

England LX logo England LX 1 Welsh Dragons 0 Wales Flag

Saturday 23 June

Alliance logo Alliance 1 Netherlands2 1 Netherlands Flag
South Africa flag South Africa2 0 Welsh Dragons 1Wales Flag

Sunday 24 June

16:00 Pitch 4 Netherlands Flag Welsh Dragons 2 Alliance 4 Alliance logo

Monday 25 June

13:00 Pitch 3 South Africa flag South Africa2 1 Netherlands 6 Netherlands Flag
16:00 Pitch 1 Alliance logo Alliance 1 England LX 4 England LX logo

Tuesday 26 June

18:00 Pitch 2 Netherlands Flag Netherlands2 2 Welsh Dragons 1 Wales Flag
10:45 Pitch 4 England LX logo England LX 1 South Africa2 1 South Africa flag


Grand Masters Pool B

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Pt

GD

England LX 2 1 1 0 2 1 4 1
South Africa2 2 1 0 1 3 2 3 1
Welsh Dragons 2 1 0 1 1 1 3 0
Netherlands2 2 0 2 0 2 2 2 0
Alliance 0 0 1 1 2 4 1 -2

Classification Matches

Wednesday 27 June

Germany 1 Welsh Dragons 1 [172] 9-10 Final (1)

Thursday 28 June

Ireland2 1 South Africa2 0 [193] SF5-8
Alliance 2 Sixtiberians 0 [194] SF5-8
Germany2 1 Welsh Dragons 1 [172] 9-10 Final (2)

Friday 29 June

Scottish Thistles 2 (Duhre, Bennett) England LX 2 (SO 3-0) [209] SF1-4
Netherlands2 0 Southern Cross 1 [212] SF1-4
Ireland2 2 Alliance 1 5-6 Final
South Africa 12 Sixtiberians 0 7-8 Final

Saturday 30 June

England LX 1 Netherlands 0 3-4 Final
Scottish Thistles 1 (Duhre) Southern Cross 2 1-2 Final

Scottish Thistles Squad

Scottish Thistles Team World Cup 2018 Barcelona

Paul Bateson, John Bennett, Gurdial Duhre, Ian Dunbar, Chris Heeps, Alan Kerr, Mike McInally (coach), Neil Mackenzie (cpt), Ian McCreath, Clifford Martin, John Michalik, Dick Pearce (GK), Keith Raper (social), Stuart Stephen (vice cpt), Tony Walker, Neil Ward

Marion Bennett was the team manager