A NAIL-BITING end to the match against the Dutch saw Scotland’s 60s women scoop European Championship bronze in Belgium in June.
This 10-day international tournament was held at KHC Dragons club in Brasschaat, near Antwerp, Belgium between June 19-29 and welcomed no less than 73 teams from 14 countries, in the age categories 60s, 65s, 70s 75s, showing that hockey really is something for all ages.
The Scots first match against Wales on Thursday, July 20 was closely fought with end-to-end action. They failed to take their chances and were beaten 1-0. Both goalies – Sheila Reid from the Aberdeen Grammar and Anne McGregor from Loch Lomond – were named players of the match, after a raft of spectacular saves.
Next up was the Netherlands early on Saturday, where all competitors were hoping that the early start would mean more bearable temperatures as the heatwave in mainland Europe continued. In the World Cup last year in Barcelona, Scotland Ladies had beaten the Dutch in the dying seconds to get the bronze, and yet again fought a tight match. But the Dutch were looking for revenge and took their chances, and ran out 3-0 winners.
This time the opposition player of the match was Gladys McClymont from Dumfries.
After a couple of days rest it was time to face England. The flow of the game was disrupted by extra drinks breaks the Scots not only held their own, but put their opponents under pressure to the extent England changed their formation to try and regain their dominance. At half time it was 1-0 to England, and a short time later England extended their lead to 2-0. As the Scots flagged in the intense heat late in the game, a flurry of goals left the Scots downhearted at a 5-0 loss in the end, despite a fine penalty save by Anne McGregor in the Scots goal. This time the opposition player of the match was midfielder Maureen Bathgate from Cala Edinburgh.
So, without a win in the pool games, Scotland would have to wait until Thursday to see who they would get to play again in the critical bronze medal play-off on Saturday 29. In a friendly fixture before the play-off on Saturday they took on an England over 65 team which they lost 1-0, Gale Black from Glasgow Academicals was player of the match.
In the bronze medal match they faced the Dutch again, and took the game right to them, scoring first from open play; an assist by Gale Black and a finish by Janice Moir of Aberdeen Standard Merlins Gordonians. Scotland continued to dominate, but the Dutch remained dangerous on the break. One of these breaks led to the award of a disputed penalty, which the Dutch stuck away.
The fear of running penalties loomed, but the Scots kept their shape and dominated again. Gale Black again crossed a cheeky ball from the left of the D near the goal line to an oncoming Joyce Souness from Edinburgh Cala to pop up and volley the ball into the goal inside the right post. Scotland dug deep and held on for the bronze – making coach Liz Pettigrew proud.
The voting for the squads Player of tournament was very difficult and very close, a reflection of the performance by the whole team over the 10 days of tough competition. Captain Charlotte Barrett was pleased to present the award to Moira Anderson from Duns.
The ladies weren’t the only bronze medal winners in Belgium – the 60s men also won bronze, movingd up four places from 9th to 5th in this competition and did not lose a game the whole tournament. Scottish Thistles 60s were 4th – they had to do running penalties and just missed out on a medal.
So Scotland overall made a positive impression, not only with their play and spirit, but also with their hearty and heartfelt celebrations.