IMHA World Cup Report- Men's 040s take GOLD

men's 040s

England Masters O40s become World Champions

At the hugely successful Masters World Cup held at the Egara Hockey Club in Terrassa Spain the men’s O40s finally claimed the gold medal after coming so close in Canberra 2 years ago.

The team were in high spirits having claimed the top spot at the Home International with a three convincing wins the previous month, the players were aware that this tournament would be far harder due to the heat and a tough schedule over the next ten days.

The first game was played against Sri Lanka, an unknown quantity, but having seen them play the previous day it was obvious that the “9 man Sri Lankan defence” was going to be tough to break down. The team played with purpose and eventually ran out 5-0 winners. This was followed by two games that turned out to be the pool position deciders. First a very workmen like 1-0 win against France and a 2-2 draw against the hosts Spain.

Following a rest day the team faces Italy knowing that they needed to score more than 9 goals to top the pool. After a slow start the team were on target to claim top spot until a lapse in concentration led to a penalty stroke duly converted by the Italians. The team eventually won 9-1 which meant that they were placed second in the pool, by one goal, which was topped by Spain and as it turned out the French had qualified third as one of the best runners up.

In the Quarter finals the team faced the Germans, always a tough team to play against but having convincingly beaten them the year before in the Europeans we were quietly confident that a win was possible. This turned out to be a low point in the team’s performance, although it was a credible3-1 win the team did not play in the style and energy that the coach has asked for.

The team now had a day’s rest to reflect and recuperate before the semi-final against France who had surprisingly overcome the perennial tough guys the Australians in their quarter-final. Although we had already beaten them in our pool game the team knew that this would be a far tougher proposition and with the coaches game plan sorted the team prepared for battle. An hour later the team had qualified for the final, our days rest and a change in the teams pre-match preparation to combat the heat meant that we were a comfortable 3-1 winners against a very tired French side,( for them it was one hard game to many).

So the elation of reaching the final was now tempered with the need to get players ready for the Final the following day. This joy was quickly dampened by the compulsory ice bath which the players were now hardened too followed by an early night.

Sunday 5th of August a midday start was not ideal but the temperature had stayed at a reasonable 34 degrees rather than the 39 degrees the previous day. As was expected the crowd had swelled to over a thousand supporters made up of locals and tournament players. The team continued to play as they had done against France and a well worked goal, scored by Greg Wade, meant that the Spanish were now forced to push up the pace which suited our game plan. A period of sustained pressure resulted in a Spanish short corner, there most potent scoring weapon. Although the team had prepared thoroughly for these a fortuitous deflection from one of our defenders resulted in a goal. This provided a much needed catalyst for the team and a good break down the right resulted in a shot and save by the Spanish keeper but the rebound falling nicely to Greg Wade who pushed the ball into the empty net where Rajinder Bansal got the final touch before the ball crossed the line. A score line of 2-1 at half time reflected the positive play by the team.

The game needed another goal which eventually came towards the end of the third quarter. A passage of persistent pressure by England resulted in the ball being passed down the right. The ball was left to go off the end of the pitch by the Spanish defender but Dave Holland refused to give up and was rewarded by his efforts with the ball being hit towards the Spanish goal before it crossed the end line. Waiting in the circle was Chris Wiseman who caressed the ball over the beached Spanish goalkeeper, 3-1 to England.

The final quarter resulted in a period of sustained pressure by the Spanish which resulted in a second goal after only 3 minutes leaving an agonising 12 minutes to survive. But this was to be their last attempt as the England players dug in and prevented any further Spanish penetration into the circle. Even the removal of the Spanish keeper failed to create any further chances and at the final whistle the players had at last claimed the goal medal.

To sum the whole experience these words from a quote by the coach Alan Stoves, “Thank you all so much for giving me the best coaching experience of my life. Thanks to everybody along the way that made Sunday possible from the boys that did not quite make it, the selectors, even Stephs management style! Thanks again boys you are truly the best in the world”.

Team

Adrian Gidney (Guernsey), BenFarmer(Chelmsford), ChrisWiseman(Old Cranleighans), Sean Robinson(Khalsa), Tristan Baynes (Harleston Magpies), Dan Pech (Bournville), Andy Whalley (Guernsey), Stewart Keir (Canterbury), George Bretton (Wimbledon), Simon Thompson (Rugby), Dave Holland(Crewe), Richard McCollum (Isca) Ben Lanoe (Stratford), Greg Wade (Hampton-in-Arden), Ian Ferraby (Lincoln), Tejinder Hanspal (Sevenoaks), Rajinder Bansal (Indian Gymkhana), Rob Turner (Brooklands),

Alan Stoves (Coach Doncaster), Stephane Port (Manager St Albans)

Results

England O40s v Sri Lanka O40s 5-0 (Hanspal 3, Ferraby 2)

England O 40s v France O40s 1-0 (Ferraby)

England O 40s v Spain O40s 2-2 (Hanspal, Keir)

England O 40s v Italy O40s 9-1 (Hanspal 4, Bansal 2, Whalley, Lanoe, Wade)

Quarter Final

England O 40s v Germany O40s 3-1 (Hanspal, Keir, Wade)

Semi Final

England O 40s v France O40s 3-1 (Bansal, Keir, Wade)

Final

England O 40s v Spain O40s (Wade, Bansal, Wiseman)