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World Cup Oxford August 2012 - Scotland Over 65s

There were eight teams in the Great Grand Masters (Over 65s) tournament: Australia, England, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. Scotland were in Pool A along with Australia, Netherlands and South Africa. The top two played off for places 1-4 against the top two in Pool B and the teams finishing in 3rd and 4th places played off for places 5-8 against the teams finishing in third and fourth place in Pool B. The previous result against the other team from the original pool will be counted in the second pool competition with the results of the two matches against teams from the other pool. There were then finals between 1st and 2nd and classification matches between 3rd and 4th in the second pool competitions to decide the final placings 1-4 and 5-8.

The Over 65s were caught cold in their first match against Netherlands, going 4-0 down before the first quarter break . Dutch scorers were Van Campenhout in 6 minutes, Gerbranda in 13 and 16 minutes and Leinweber in 17 minutes. The break gave them the chance to reorganise and they restarted playing higher up the pitch and tightening up midfield and defence. Though the damage was done, there were no more goals and the Scots began to take command of the game. After a torrential downpour which caused a lengthy stoppage when the pitch flooded, Scotland continued to press, and in the second half forced two short corners, Bryce's shot at the second evading Tucker's attempt at a deflection and going narrowly past the post.

Once again, Scotland Over 65s found themselves behind early in the second match against a tough Australian side, whose stick tackling earned them a series of green and then yellow cards. However some of the Scots lost their cool and the card count ended up even, Scotland narrowly missing having only eight men on the pitch at one point as one suspension ended just as another began. Australia scored through Thomson in 5 minutes, Bhullar in 23 and 35 minutes, and Tindale in 27 minutes from a short corner to go into the second half 4-0 up. Scotland once again rallied and kept their discipline after a severe talking to by captain Auld, and finally got on the score sheet when Crichton took on the Australian midfield and Weir turned his accurate pass past the Australian goalkeeper in the 42nd minute. Briggs restored Australia's four goal advantage from a penalty corner only one minute later but Scotland, pressing higher up the pitch, took the game to Australia. Tucker increased Scotland's tally to two when he turned in a Bryce short corner at the second attempt, but hopes of a spirited finish were dashed when Paice converted a penalty awarded for a push by Cassell on an Australian forward, and the same player scored again from open play to end the scoring at 7-2 in Australia's favour. Scotland are now out of the running for the top two places and face South Africa on Saturday 18 August needing a draw to make third place in the group, though a win would set them up for a good chance of 5th place overall.

Colin Tucker about to score against AustraliaColin Tucker turns away after scoring against Australia

Scotland finally managed a win in the third match in the group against South Africa, coming from behind to win by 2-1 against a hard working Springboks side. The game was fairly even in the opening stages, Scotland having a good deal of pressure but concentrating on attacking down the left, where the South Africans found it easy to steal the ball and mount a series of attacks down their right flank.

Their goal came from a disputed short corner courtesy of the foot of David Cassell which deflected the South African shot into his own net - tough luck on arguably the Scottish player of the match. Going behind acted as a spur to the Scots, who equalised after Weir found Tucker in the circle for Tucker to put a reverse stick shot past the Springbok keeper. Margerison was on hand to push the ball over the line from around five centimetres out. Bryce put a shot from a short corner through the keeper's legs but was denied the goal because Tucker had broken early into the circle. It was not long before the same player hit an unsaveable shot past the South African keeper at a short corner, moving Scotland into the lead.

Scotland continued to look like the better team, beginning to move and pass like a team which believed in itself. All the same, South Africa had a couple of skilful midfielders and could not be discounted in the match. Towards the end, the Scots lost their shape in midfield and conceded a couple of short corners in the dying minutes, both ably dealt with by Pollard in the Scottish goal. The final score of 2-1 left Scotland waiting for the result of the Japan - Wales match in the other group before finding out their opponents at 9 am the following morning - a 0-0 result leaving Japan just under 14 hours between matches.

Japan surpassed themselves in the Sunday morning match, setting themselves out with a five man back line which Scotland found very difficult to break down. The Scottish defence was caught out on several occasons by quick breakaways by the Japanese, whose midfield played high, behind most of the Scotland midfield. As soon as a missed pass or interception gave Japan the ball, it was transferred quickly through the midfield to the mobile forwards. in one such attack, a rebound from Pollard's pads found two Japanese forwards completely unmarked and the score was 1-0. Scotland pressed forward and looked to have turned things around when Bryce scored from a short corner. they created and wasted a number of chances but it was Japan who went into the lead when they scored with a deflection at the far post at a short corner. Worse was to follow when an unmarked Japanese forward was on the post to send another deflection past Pollard. Scotland went three at the back and pressed even harder, but with time running out all they could manage was a penalty, ably converted by Auld; the game ended 3-2 in favour of Japan.

Only a win against Wales on Tuesday 21 August would do for Scotland if they were to progress to the 5th/6th playoff match, but despite having the lion's share of the match, they could not break down a resolute Welsh defence and the result was a 0-0 draw, leaving Scotland in third place in the classification group after Japan and South Africa tied in the other group match. Scotland started cautiously and allowed Wales to mount a number of attacks, but the defence stuck to its task and kept Wales out. As the game progressed, Scotland claimed more and more of the possession, carving out opportunities on the right, but could not finish off with a goal. With eight short corners awarded against the Welsh, Scotland really ought to have made one count, but a combination of good goalkeeping and a couple of goal line clearances left them without the vital goal which would have secured their place in the 5th/6th final.

The Over 65s faced a re-match against South Africa on Thursday 23 August to decide 7th and 8th places. The match ended 2-2 and Scotland were relegated to eighth and last place after a penalty shoot out. Scotland reorganised the formation for this match, leaving a number of key players on the bench at the start, and for ten minutes the tactic seemed to have worked as Scotland claimed a good deal of possession, playing high up the pitch and pressing the South African defence. Scotland took the lead when McIntosh found himself free on the right hand post after good work by the Scottish forwards. The warning signs, however, began to appear; Scots began to dwell on the ball and miss passes as they tired, and it was no surprise when South Africa equalised from a short corner. At the other end, McIntosh again put Scotland in front from virtually the same spot after a great run by Crichton. Into the second half, things took a turn for the worse when South Africa were awarded a penalty stroke, a decision for which the spectators could see no justification, and the scores were level. Scotland brought on the missing players and proceeded to dominate the rest of the match, but the elusive score proved to be just that and the match ended in a 2-2 draw. Scotland's first penalty shoot out followed, and it is to be hoped that they will be better prepared for future shoot outs because South Africa cruised to a 3-1 win after Captain Auld, coming fourth, failed to score - only Vice Captain Crichton having scored his to keep Scotland in the competition.

Squad

Alan Auld, David Ballingall, Alan Bryce, Douglas Caren ,David Cassell, Alex Cathro, Roy Crichton, Ian Downie, Errol Farnan, David Margerison, David McIntosh, Alastair McNab, Tim Pollard, Robbie Robertson, Colin Tucker, Sandy Weir.

Fixtures and results

Wed 15th Netherlands Flag Netherlands 4 Scotland 0 Scotland Flag

Thu 16th Australia Flag Australia 7 Scotland 2 (Weir, Tucker) Scotland Flag

Sat 18th South Africa Flag South Africa 1 Scotland 2 (Margerison, Bryce) Scotland Flag

Sun 19th Scotland FlagScotland 2 (Bryce, Auld - pen)Japan 3 Scotland Flag

Tue 21st Scotland FlagScotland 0 Wales 0 Scotland Flag

Thu 23rd 7th/8th Scotland Flag Scotland 2 (McIntosh 2) South Africa 2 South Africa Flag
Penalty Shoot Out: Scotland 1 (Crichton) South Africa 3