Scottish Masters Hockey returned from the World Masters European Hockey Championships in Valencia, Spain, with an impressive medal haul.
All women’s squads were on the medal podium – with the W60s taking gold as their match against England was decided on sudden death running penalties. It is the first time a Scottish women’s squad has taken gold in a major tournament.
Who better to take the pressure pens than former Olympians Ali MacFarlane and Wendy Justice? They slotted theirs home, Wendy doing so twice when it went to sudden death, to make history.
Captain Ali declared: “We’ve trailblazed. We’ve been close to gold before but this is the first time a Scottish Masters women’s squad has been crowned European Champions.
“We managed to get a draw against England in the 4 Nations earlier in the year and that gave us a lot of confidence. We just went out and played. Even when we went 1-0 down in the final we were confident we’d get one back.”
Asked where the win featured in her stellar hockey career Ali replied: “It’s similar to the Olympic success in that a lot of work went into it, and there were lots of peaks and troughs along the way. When you do get the success the victory is even sweeter.”
The W65s an W55s also enjoyed European finals against the ‘auld enemy’, though had to be content with silver medals – still an incredible achievement.
Along with the three women’s age groups represented (W55s, W60s and W65s) the men’s 55s and 60s were also taking to the field in baking temperatures. In the Spirit of Masters tournament Scotland were represented by the Scottish Thistles M55s squad.
All the Scottish Squads had high hopes of achieving reasonable results, but never had Scottish Masters Hockey thought they would be returning with:
- 1 x Gold ( women’s 60s)
- 1 x Silver (women’s 65s)
- 1 x Silver ( women’s 55s)
- 1 x Bronze (SOM Scottish Thistles men’s 55s)
- 4th place (men’s 60s)
- 9th place (men’s 55s)
The high point of the tournament must go to the W60s, who battled back from 1-0 down, to then equalise from a Pat Lindsay penalty corner against a well established and experienced English side.
This led to a shoot-out competition that ended 3-2 in Scotland’s favour. A remarkable achievement. The W60s had topped their pool on the way to the final and only conceded one goal on the way there.
The W65s had more of a rocky tournament in the pool games, having succumbed to a late penalty stroke in two of their games, but they rallied round and beat the Netherlands to make the finals. England raised their game in the final and were deserving of their gold medal, but the W65s must be so proud of their achievements.
Finally, all eyes were on the last women’s game of the tournament. Scotland W55s took on England. Scotland had won every pool game, and had not conceded a goal, so hopes were high. It wasn’t until Q3 that England took the lead and the win with two field goals.
The M60s will probably be the most disappointed of the Squads, as they lost out of topping their pool by goal difference, thus missing out on a gold medal chance. They took on France in the bronze medal game, and unfortunately went down 2–0 in the last quarter.
Scotland’s M55s started badly in their pool games with two loses and then two drawn games. They could not recover from the bad starts to push for a medal position.
A shout out to the Scottish Thistles M55s who came away with the bronze medal in the SOM tournament. If you had asked them at the start if they would have been happy with a medal, the answer would have been “yes”. Well played gentlemen.
Bronze for M65s
Two weeks previously, at the same venue, the M65s also picked up a bronze medal in their age groups’ tournament.They defeated Germany to take the bronze.
Scottish Masters Hockey is in such a good place right now, and gaining strength and experience with every tournament. They look ahead to the World Cups in Cape Town and Auckland in late 2024.