Masters News

Here is the first Masters' Update that will become a monthly report on Masters' activity from our 14 squads.

Masters' International hockey is increasingly becoming one of the most successful parts of England Hockey activity. 

Following enormous success at the World Cup last year, where 10 squads brought back 3 Golds, 6 Silvers and 1 Bronze medal, the squads are now starting their preparations for the Home Nations and European Championships next summer. Over the last two months the Masters' squads have been put through their paces at a series of early season trials to select the squads who will represent their country at the Home Nations and European events.

Squads that have been selected will be published in the next Masters' update before Christmas.

In the meantime, included this month, is news from the Men's O60s in their progress to getting their squad prepared to go for gold in the WGMA European Championships in Tilburg next August and the Women's 055s, after a very successful tour to Spain.

Imtiaz Sheikh reports on the early preparations of the Men’s 060s Squad.

In preparation for a complete fresh start in selecting Grand Masters squad
in preparation for the forthcoming tournaments, it was decided firstly the
selection would be on merit and will be open, fair and transparent. Grand
Masters, which is "flag ship" of Masters Hockey have not performed well in the
tournaments lately. So a complete new start was needed. 

There were selectors appointed from each region - South, West, North, East
and Midland. Furthermore a coach and as assistant coach was also appointed.
In order to give every player a fair chance, the regional management team
was contacted and requested to raise a strong team of players to play
initially in inter region games. We had to give every eligible player a fair
chance to play for his country.

The first trial was arranged on 18th September at Oxford Hawks ground where
South played against West regions and there were a total of 33 players who
took part.  There were three sessions of 40 minutes. The
selectors after the trial sat down for about two hours or so and eventually
selected 16 players to go to next phase of the trial, depending on the
standard of  next trial.

A second set of trials were played on 9th October between East, North and
Midland regions. That trial was arranged at a beautiful setting at Bilton
Grange Preparatory School in Rugby. On show here were full squads of 16
players and more, from all three regions. The competition for places was very
competitive. It was a beautiful day in more ways than one. After the trials
the players retired to a pub nearby and enjoyed a full "Sunday roast" lunch.
Again, all selectors stayed back until late and there was open discussion and
it was agreed to invite 17 players to the next phase of the trial.

There were total of 98 players who had taken part in both "inter regional
games" at Oxford and Rugby. There were 33 players invited to the final trial
to be held at Lee Valley Hockey stadium.

The players who unfortunately did not "make the cut" were informed by a
phone call and an e-mail and a feedback given, if they asked for it. All the
trials games were video recorded both for players and selectors benefit.

After the trial  at Lee Valley the squad will be reduced to 23 players".

W55 Oct 2016 Spain

Sara Walker reports on England Women’s Masters Over 55s trip to Spain

The England over 55s enjoyed a tour to Spain last week playing a series of matches against Gibraltar and local club side, in Malaga. Although the weather has been quite mild in England, the thought of some warm weather hockey and a few days relaxing afterwards in Sunny Spain was an exciting prospect.

Our host, and very own Karen Mason (Mace), welcomed us with many runs to the airport. We were joined by the over 50s and a number of husbands and families, all staying at the local Sports Institute where most of us enjoyed small bunk bedded rooms! Unlucky if you were the youngest and had to quite literally, climb into bed each night!

Our first match at the Carranque stadium, so named after a family from Toro in Castilla, dating back to the seventeenth century, ended in a 2-3 loss. After a lovely morning exploring the Malaga port, cathedral and old city walls we played Gibraltar Hawks, a club side who had travelled across to meet us. It took us a little while to get used to playing together again as we welcomed some new members to the squad and to the heat, playing surface and of course the style of play. Going 0-1 down from a good strike from the right, we brought it back to 1-1 with a goal from Carole Tucker who ran down the left, passed to Jayne Carter whose shot was saved and Carole netted the rebound.

At half time, Laura Seager our coach, stressed the need not to dwell on the umpiring style (manana manana), and just play. And so we did, settling better in the second half. We went 2-1 down from an unfortunate corner, which was well struck to the inside our right post. We then went 3-1 down when a lifted ball hit our player rather high and an ensuing mêlée around the penalty spot saw the ball jump over Julie Abson, our GK’s stick and through her legs for a goal. We then played with more assurance and confidence and executed some great classic patterns of play, which earned us another goal when Carole Tucker was upended, rounding the keeper. Sue Merry neatly put it away for 2-3.  Although we lost, this was a very enjoyable game, from which we learned a huge amount. 

Saturday evening was great fun, with fifty of us out to dinner. We didn’t even fill the restaurant! We had a super tapas meal with drinks and desserts. All for the princely sum of less than 10 Euros a head!

On the Sunday we played two games. First, the best of Gibraltar, winning 2-1 and then Malaga U20s, drawing 1-1.

There’s no doubt that on the Sunday we got our act together. The best of the Hawks were joined by the best of the other two clubs in Gibraltar to make their over 40s masters side. We played a shorter passing game with a large percentage of possession and opened Gibraltar up many times, creating a number of scoring opportunities. Sue Henderson scored our first with a well taken, unstoppable clip shot, when the ball popped up in front of the gk. Carole Tucker then made it 2-0 with a tennis style volley into the net from another rebound off the gk. Our defence was sound and held fast with Julie making a couple of very good saves. A very pleasing win against strong opposition.

Our second game of the day matched us against Malaga’s young club side that Mace has been coaching. We had seen them play against our 50s and knew we were in for a tough, fast game. The girls, some of whom were only 14 years old, were indeed fast and skillful so it was a challenging game. Malaga drew out the best in us, as we had to keep the ball away from key players and keep them out in our channels. We played a calm, controlled game, pressing forward all the time and using each other well. We went 1-0 when Elaine Murphy scored from a cracking shot into the roof of the net, finishing a great move through the lines to goal. Malaga came back at us hard with one or two of their especially talented players driving at us again and again. Eventually, our defenses broke when Malaga equalized from an undercut shot from our left side that sailed over Julie’s head to her right. We would love to have held on to win that match but were happy with a draw as we had given everything and were on our knees at the end of it.

A really good weekend’s hockey at such a friendly, welcoming club with great facilities and members. Paella all round on Sunday evening from the biggest cooking pot I’ve ever seen, then home for most or on to Nerja for a few days holiday, for some.

Huge thanks on behalf of the squad to Mace our host, Laura our coach and Cath our manager for such a fun tour.


Julie Abson (GK), Jayne Carter, Sue Crake (C), Sue Henderson, Fiona Jarman (C), Sarah Mainprise, Liz McVey, Libby Mound, Sue Merry, Lenny Murphy, Sally Privett, Carol Rodgers, Helen Royan, Carole Tucker, Sara Walker, Mel Wood.

Coach: Laura Seager      Manager: Catherine Tait