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Over 70s + Reinforcements v England Over 70s Squad

Durham 12 June 2013

England Over 70s Squad 2 (Hayes, Warrender) Scottish Over 70s 1 (Morrice)

Call offs meant that only five genuine over 70s took the field against the England Over 70s squad in what has become an annual match at the Durham University sports ground. Five players who would qualify for an Over 70s side plus three juniors made up the numbers in a side whose average age was 69.

The Scottish side was set up by captain David Cassell in a 3-4-3 formation with the intention of taking the game to the English, but things did not go entirely to plan in the first half. While the play was fairly even and the Scots were able to put some pressure on the English back line, their forwards lost the ball too easily and England took a grip of the midfield through their main playmaker, Wilcox, whose accurate through balls to his forwards caused problems for the visitors' back three. The first goal came when Wilcox found midfielder Hayes all on his own at the top of the circle, his well placed shot beating Scottish keeper Pearce to put England one up.

Half time gave the Scots a chance to regroup into a 3-5-2 formation, with Tucker taken into the midfield to mark Wilcox and the other four midfielders adopting a diamond formation in place of the flat four line up of the first half which had contributed to the English goal. The game swung in favour of the visitors, who played some excellent, passing hockey while Tucker made sure that Wilcox had no chance to have a major role in the game. The equaliser came from a push in inside the Scottish 23: Philip to Downie, who pushed forward before passing to Paterson. The scorer takes up the story:

"A strong cross from Donald Paterson on the left into the circle produced a fine reverse stick stop and a quick turn from Doug Morrice leaving the English defence wrong-footed. Doug then finished off with a shot calmly placed just inside the goalie`s right hand post."

The Scots continued to dominate for some time but no more clear cut chances emerged. England changed tactics and started to overload the left hand side of the Scots defence, and the visitors began to find it difficult to find their midfielders, resorting more and more to long, hopeful balls which were easily picked up by the English defenders. Still, the Scots defence stood firm and Pearce did his share when called upon, which began to happen more and more often in the last quarter. With only a minute to go, England made the vital breakthrough when a rare Scottish attack was broken up and a long ball from defence found Warrender. The English striker played a through ball to Stephenson on the goal line, and Wilkinson picked up his cutback to feed Warrender, who finally beat Pearce to give the home side the victory.

A further 20 minute period after the full 70 minute match produced no more goals and the teams retired to the bar for pasta and beer.

There were five genuine Over 70s in the squad of 13: Alan Bremner, David Cassel (Captain)l, Doug Morrice, Donald Paterson and Ally Philip. Making up the numbers were Alan Bryce, Ian Downie, David Margerison, Dick Pearce and Sandy Weir, all of whom would qualify for the Over 70s as underage players by turning 68 in 2013. Alan Auld, Andy Ferrol and Colin Tucker represent the youth policy as they will not be 68 until 2014, or 2015 in Colin's case. Even with all the youths in the squad, the average age is just under 69. Norrie Springford was our umpire and John Land was the England umpire.

Scotland select v England Over 70s squad Durham June 2013

Back row: Weir, Bryce, Margerison, Philip, Morrice, Paterson
Front row: Bremner, Downie, Auld, Cassell, Tucker, Ferrol
Lying down: Pearce