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England Masters O65  – Winners, 2018 Four Nations Championship, Dublin

Ireland Masters Hockey hosted the 2018 Four Nations Championship at the excellent Three Rock Rovers HC in Dublin over three days, 11-13 May.  The majority of the England O65s squad travelled on the Friday, meeting in the afternoon for their first match against hosts Ireland in the early evening.

Ireland provided good opposition and it took the side a short while to settle.  Skipper Clive Hicks has had to withdraw from the 2018 campaign on health grounds, so it was appropriate that Smith, who has stepped up to captain, provided the settling example with a firm short corner strike.  Some good passages of play followed, with the defence holding firm and building forward.  McCollum in the first half and Austin in the second were rarely troubled in goal but were key to organising the defence.  Later in the second half, the ball fell to Wilson to slot home and put the game beyond Ireland.  

Saturday morning’s game was against Wales, a side that have improved over recent time. However, England played with conviction and flair. The first half ended with the England two goals ahead, courtesy of a slick move from Deayton to Smith to score, followed by a second open play strike from Ward.  The side continued to play with discipline, transferring the ball quickly and producing some attractive and penetrating passages of play.  Continuing pressure in the third and fourth quarters resulted in two penalty flicks, both converted, first by Bansal and then Smith, reflecting an excellent squad performance.  

The final game on Sunday against Scotland was played at pace, with England again passing and moving off the ball all across the field.  Good interplay led to Rudd scoring his first and then Deayton was next on the scoresheet at the right post.  With Scotland packing the defence, the side were able to bring the ball back and across field to open the opposition on both flanks.  In the second half, the side maintained their intensity and pace and were rewarded with goals from Ward and a second from Rudd.  Skipper Smith noted that the side are improving with each game but need to continue that trend to beat the likes of Germany, the Netherlands and Australia at the World Cup in Barcelona in June.


Ireland 0-2 England: Smith (SC), Wilson (FG)

England 4-0 Wales: Smith (FG), Ward (FG), Bansal (PF), Smith (PF)

Scotland 0-4 England: Rudd (FG), Deayton (FG), Ward (FG), Rudd (FG)


Squad: Peter Austin, Santa Bansal, Bill Deayton, David Dixon, Roy Hilton, Phil Hubert, George Johnson, Bholu Kalsi, Jon Marshall, Allan Mayo, Peter McCollum, Ian Mellor (vice-capt.), Mike Rudd, Richard Slater, Tim Smith (captain), Sarosh Talati, David Ward, Robin Wilson, Pete Crayford (manager), Jason Redding (physio)