WGMA HOCKEY WORLD CUP - Final Men's 060 Report

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                    England over 60s’ World Cup – Final report.

After having won all our games comfortably against Belgium 4-0, New Zealand 6-0, Argentina 11-0, Wales 3-0 and in semi-finals against Germany 3-0, we were up against the last year’s World Cup winners the Netherlands in the finals.

In a packed stand as this was the last game of the tournament and we had great support and a very vociferous and partisan crowd and so did the Dutch. We knew this would be a tough one and we were prepared to battle it out. After all it was the finals of the World Cup. The team was up for it. We stared a bit nervously but settled down well quickly and got into our rhythm and started playing our styles of hockey, which was based on our fitness and movement off the ball. The first quarter passed by very quickly with no score. Second quarter we raised the pace and our forwards came very close to scoring and it looked like it would be a matter of time before we score. We squandered chances but still believed that with one of the attacks in the circle, our luck would change. Our forwards showed tenacity and imagination, but the Dutch defended their circle very well and at times were just a touch physical. But that was expected. Half way through this quarter, we started to take a risk and pushed our midfield higher up the field of play and changed our defensive players. Chances came and went; short corners came and went but we just could not get that illusive goal. Luck just could not come our way.

Then whilst we kept on attacking, there was a turn over and suddenly their captain who had both skill and pace broke away and one of the Dutch defender gave a perfectly timed pass on to his stick and we were caught in our unguarded circle and suddenly against the run of play found ourselves a goal down. In sport sometimes, there is no justice. However, throughout the rest of the game we battled hard to get a goal back, but the lady luck just would not smile on us. We had barrage of short corners but just could not convert them as the Dutch defended well. It transpired later that the Dutch had videoed our short corners routine when we played Germany. However, we tried several options of our short corners routines, but it just was not our day. At one time a  Dutch defender was ‘carded’ for being ‘too aggressive’ at rushing out at short corner and we thought this is it. We moved the ball around in the circle to get a clear shot at goal but hit the upright bar. Time was running out and we try as much any team would, but it just was one of the days when nothing in the circle went right for us.

We were truly disappointed with the result though we went one better than at last World Cup in Australia when we came away with bronze. This time around we came away with runners up and a Silver medal.

Our preparation and build were right, but it is one of the days where we could have scored a hat full. We scored 24 goals and conceded just one - in the final. It was not to be. But I am confident next time around it would be different result.

The team enjoyed the experience as we had six new players from last time in Glasgow when we won the European Cup defeating Dutch in the final! I suppose honours were evened out until we meet next time!
 The squad was; Jim Felix, David Webb,  Graham Jackson, Gordon Gray Graham Skinner,
 Conrad Ray, Kevin White, Mark Precious, Clive Whittle, Alex Chiang, Chris Rule, Rod Naughalty,
Robin Sampson, Gurmail Singh, Neil Wanstall, Henry Robinson, Mark Gibbon, David Harris.
Manager; Imtiaz Sheikh
Reporter: Imtiaz Sheikh