The England Masters’ squads have completed their season with a remarkable haul of 26 gold medals in two major World Masters’ Hockey events.
In the first competitions of the year, the 4 Nations Tournaments, the England squads competed against Ireland, Scotland and Wales winning 16 golds in every age group bar one.
In addition, the new Women’s 070s squad competed in their first event. As the only 070 women’s squad in the 4 Nations, they competed against three 065 sides from Wales, Scotland and England, beating Scotland and drawing with Wales. A great start.
The men’s 080s, who are not yet able to compete in official events due to lack of competition, did triumph again against The Netherlands at Bisham Abbey in April.
After the 4 Nations, the England Squads turned their attention to the European Championships with the first event in Valencia Spain for the Men’s 065/070/075s.
Again, tremendous success with all three teams beating the Netherland in their final to claim gold, the 065s and 075s winning 2 – 1 and the 070s winning after a close shoot-out. The 065 B team picked up a bronze in the Spirit of Masters’ Competition.
The spotlight was then on the younger age groups in Nottingham where the Women’s 040s/045s/050s all took gold. The 040s beat Ireland 4 – 0, the 045s beat Spain 4 – 0 and the 050s beat The Netherlands 1 – 0. The 035s picked up silver, after a narrow defeat against Ireland.
In the Men’s competition the 035s beat Spain 3 – 0 to claim gold which was equalled by the 040s who put 4 goals passed Germany without reply. The 045s took silver after a shoot-out defeat by The Netherlands. The 050s claiming bronze beating Germany 4 – 3.
Finally in the last European Championship event, again in Valencia, the Women’s 055s claimed gold beating Scotland 2 – 0. The 065s beat Scotland 7 – 0 to claim their gold and the 070s won all their 4 games to claim the Jacky Murray trophy, held to remember Jacky who devoted so much of her time to promoting Masters’ Hockey in this country both at Area and International level. The 060s missed out on gold losing after a shoot-out with Scotland.
In the Men’s event, the 060s took gold beating The Netherland 5 – 0 with the 055s taking bronze after a 1 – 0 defeat of Wales.
England teams continue to lead the Masters’ World, and the results this summer reflect the considerable time and financial commitment from the players and management. To bring home 26 gold medals is truly remarkable and should be applauded by everybody.
Preparations now turn to selecting squads for next year’s 4 Nations and particularly to the challenge of competing for World golds in Cape Town and Auckland in October and November 2024.