2019 European Tournament Trophy - Grand Masters (Over 60)

Dragons HC, Brasschaat, Belgium 19-29 June 2019

The 2019 Grand Masters European Cup and Tournament Trophy took place at Dragons Hockey Club, Brasschaat, Belgium from Wednesday 19 to Saturday 29 June. In the Grand Masters Tournament Trophy, there were eight teams competing after the late withdrawals of Ireland 2 and Welsh Dragons: Alliance, England LX, Germany 2, Netherlands 2, Scottish Thistles, Sixtiberians and Southern Cross.

In the 2018 World Cup GM Tournament Trophy), in which all four sides in Pool B competed, Scottish Thistles finished in the silver medal position behind Southern Cross, beating England LX in a penalty shoot out in the semi final - England went on to win bronze. The competition promised to be a close one with all three of the medal winners in Barcelona taking part in Belgium.

Scottish Thistles were in Pool B with Alliance, England LX and Germany. England LX made up for their loss to Thistles in the Barcelona semi final and won the pool undefeated, while Scottish Thistles won both their other pool matches to claim second place and a semi final tie against Netherlands, winners of Pool A. They were desperately unlucky to lose on a penalty shoot out after a 2-2 draw with the Dutch, who went on to win Gold against England. Unfortunately, injuries to key players left them with only ten fit players for the Bronze medal match against Southern Cross, and Thistles had to be content with fourth place, still a very creditable result.

Pool B Results

Thursday 20 June

England Flag England LX 8 German Flag Germany 0

Friday 21 June

Scotland Flag Scottish Thistles 3  Welsh Flag Alliance 0

Scottish Thistles began their campaign with a good win against a strong looking Alliance team. All the goals were from open play and came in the second half, Paul Bateson putting Thistles one up in 40 minutes and adding a second in the closing minutes before newcomer Bryan Gadd put the match to bed just before the final whistle with a classy reverse hit, his first ever successful ‘tomahawk’ strike apparently. A winning margin of three goals to nil may suggest that Thistles found this fixture a fairly comfortable affair - it wasn’t. Scot Chisholm in goal made at least four excellent saves in the first quarter. Although he was less involved in subsequent quarters, he continued to make some awesome saves. John Michalik had an excellent game in ensuring Alliance’s outstanding forward Charanjit Singh was snuffed out. In the end the biggest differences between the teams were fitness and the fact that Thistles had players who could score goals.

Saturday 22 June

England Flag England LX 4  Welsh Flag Alliance 0

Sunday 23 June

 Scotland Flag Scottish Thistles 0 England Flag England LX 5

Thistles got off to a poor start; there was hardly a player who wasn’t mis-hitting the ball or passing it to the stick of an English midfielder. William Davidson got England LX off to the best possible start with a bobbling shot from a penalty corner in four minutes and things became worse when Kevin Coleman's penalty corner strike put the English 2-0 up at the very end of the first quarter. The real damage was done in the second quarter when England LX began very strongly and went further ahead in quick succession by goals from open play scored by Mike Wingent and Mike Verity. Coach Mike McInally and skipper Stuart Stephen altered the Thistles strategy at half time and the Scots began to rally, blunting the English midfield and attack and limiting them to only one further goal from John Wiseman who completed the scoring in the third quarter. The match finished 5-0 to England LX, leaving them clear in first place in Pool B. Thistles must win against Germany to ensure they go through to the semi finals.

The heat was considerable and the midfielders of Paul Docherty, John Lees and Neil Macrae put in a tremendous shift.

Monday 24 June

Scotland Flag Scottish Thistles 3 (Lees, Bateson, Docherty) German Flag Germany 1 (Merz)

Thistles learned from the slow start they made in their previous game and dominated Germany in the first quarter. Despite many clear chances, the German keeper appeared to be everywhere. In the second quarter, John Lees found his way past a couple of German tackles, rounded the keeper and slid the ball into the back of the goal. Scottish pressure resulted in a short corner which was crisply hit by Paul Docherty, and Paul Bateson made sure it crossed the line. In the third quarter Thistles didn’t adapt well to changing their game to slowing the ball and trying to control the pace and it wasn’t a surprise when Konstantin Metz pulled one back for Germany. The critical two goal differential was restored when Thistles Captain Neil Mackenzie encouraged a bad tackle resulting in the Scots' third short corner which Paul Docherty dispatched efficiently into the German goal.
Thistles' dominating performance over the Germans was awarded with a guaranteed second place in their pool an appointment in the semi final match with the Dutch, whose draw against Sixtiberians gave them first place in Pool A.

Tuesday 25 June

14:30 Pitch 3  Welsh Flag Alliance German Flag Germany

Altiusrt results and information

Grand Masters Tournament Trophy Pool B

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Pt

GD

England LX

3 3 0 0 17 0 9 17

Scottish Thistles

3 2 0 1 6 6 6 0

Alliance

2 0 0 2 0 7 0 -7

Germany

2 0 0 2 1 11 0 -10

Cross Over/Final Ties

Wednesday 26 June

Spanish Flag Sixtiberians 3 German Flag Germany 0 5-8 Semi Final

Welsh Flag Alliance 2 United States Flag USA 5 5-8 Semi Final

Thursday 27 June

Netherlands Flag Netherlands 2(5) Scotland Flag Scottish Thistles 2(4) 1-4 Semi Final
Netherlands qualified for the final with a 3-2 win in the penalty shoot out

Scottish Thistles were desperately unlucky not to qualify for the final, losing out to Netherlands in a penalty shoot out after the match had finished level at 2-2. Thistles were in a strong frame of mind for this match. They anticipated the Dutch being skilled technically and providing a strong physical challenge. That’s exactly how the match turned out. The Dutch scored early on from a poorly taken short corner which was eventually turned in by Gijs Visser to give Netherlands an early lead. They could have doubled their lead when they were awarded a penalty stroke for a foot by Paul Docherty. However, Scott Chisholm in the Thistles goal made the save look comfortable. As the game progressed, the Scots applied more and more pressure on the Dutch defence who started to resort to some fierce tackling and jostling. Eventually their tactics resulted in a foul in their own circle and Paul Bateson converted the resulting flick with precision. The Dutch side held their nerve until Thistles were awarded a penalty flick late in the third quarter. Paul Bateson stepped up and put it away, levelling the scores at 1-1. Thistles then dominated the game but against the run of play the Dutch broke down their right and a crisp cross found Marius Van Huijstee who despatched the ball into the Scots’ net to put Netherlands ahead once again. Thistles maintained their high pace endeavours and when Iain Cameron was bundled over in the Dutch circle, Paul Bateson converted the resulting penalty flick to restore parity, and, with no further scoring, the match went to a penalty shoot out. Thistles went first in the penalty shoot out and Paul Bateson scored, while Netherlands failed to score, but Netherlands scored with their next three attempts and Scottish Thistles could convert only one of their remaining efforts, through Cliff Martin. The match was played on the main pitch with several hundred folk watching. At the end of the match their response was fantastic and it was obvious who they wanted to win! The contributions made by the midfield players of Paul Docherty (rightly awarded man of the match by the Dutch), John Lees, Rob Fisher, Stuart Stephen and Paul Bateson were astonishing. Scottish Thistles will now play off for the Bronze medal against Southern Cross, looking to avenge their loss to the Australians in the 2018 World Cup final.


'robust' Dutch challenge ...


puts John Lees on the deck

England Flag England LX 3 Southern Cross LogoFlag Southern Cross 2 1-4 Semi Final

Friday 28 June

Netherlands Flag Netherlands 2 (7) England Flag England LX 2 (6) Gold/Silver
Netherlands won 5-4 in penalty shoot out

Spanish Flag Sixtiberians 1 United States Flag USA 1 5-6 Final
Sixtiberians won 5-3 in penalty shoot out

German Flag Germany 1 Welsh Flag Alliance 3 7-8 Final

Scotland Flag Scottish Thistles 0 Southern Cross LogoFlag Southern Cross 4 Bronze Medal

In a repeat of the 2018 World Grand Masters Tournament Trophy final, Scottish Thistles once again lost out to Southern Cross, this time for the Bronze medal. It was one match too far for Thistles, who were down to 10 fit players. Goals from John Davis and Mark McElligott put the Australians two up in the first quarter. There was no further scoring until the last quarter of the match, when Stephen Farrar and Richard Kermonde added two goals in quick succession to make it four, and Southern Cross claimed the Bronze medal with a 4-0 victory. Despite this reverse, Thistles got the award for everyone’s favorite team, particularly after their performance against the Dutch (who won gold). John Michalik and Ian McCreath played every minute of every game, and Paul Docherty got the Fooshah award for being brilliant both on and off the pitch.

Final Standings

Netherlands Gold, England LX Silver, Southern Cross Bronze, Scottish Thistles 4th, Sixtiberians 5th, USA 6th, Alliance 7th, Germany 8th.

Scottish Thistles Squad

Scottish Thistles Four Nations 2019

Paul Bateson, Iain Cameron, Scott Chisholm (GK), Paul Docherty, Rob Fisher, Martin Fuller, Bryan Gadd, John Lees, Neil Mackenzie, Neil Macrae, Clifford Martin, Derek McAslan, Ian McCreath, John Michalik, Ian Roberts, Stuart Stephen (C)

Coach Mike McInally, Manager TBA, Sports Massage Megan Ralph.