A quartet of women hockey players from Aberdeen are celebrating after Scotland’s Over-60s team won bronze in the recent Grand Masters Hockey World Cup.
A thrilling final match against the Netherlands saw the Scottish team, featuring veteran goalie Sheila Reid, Janice Moir, Jill Reid and Babs Buglass from city teams, claim third place in the contest in Barcelona, with the Aberdeen contingent playing a decisive role.
Janice, of Merlins Gordonians, who scored the winning goal in the showdown with the Dutch, said: “We were absolutely delighted to come away with bronze. Scotland played some great hockey and showed so much commitment and determination.
“We’ve really improved as a team, and our opponents actually commented on this, which is a great accolade.
“We play because we love it, but winning makes it extra-special. We’d like to think it encourages people of all ages to realise they can be involved with hockey, even on the international stage”
The event saw them take on the Netherlands, England and Argentina.
After being beaten by the Dutch in last year’s European Championships, the team were determined to get the upper hand this year. But, despite playing the better hockey and pressuring the defence, they couldn’t get past the goalkeeper and had to settle with a 0-0 draw in the initial game.
The Scots had been beaten comprehensively by England in the Home Nations tournament, and played with determination against them in their second game in the World Cup, conceding just one goal in each of the first three quarters.
However, a late effort by England made it 5-0 — a defeat but a big improvement on previous games for the Scots.
This game also saw goalkeeper Sheila, of Aberdeen Grammar School FPs, who at 75 is the oldest on the team and of all the teams they play, awarded Scottish player of the match for an outstanding performance.
Despite having the majority of the play against Argentina, Scotland lost 2-1. This meant they faced the Netherlands again to fight for bronze, rather than meeting England in the gold medal battle.
Scotland started very strongly and, as in the first game against the Dutch, put their defence under a lot of pressure but could not convert their chances. As the clock was running down it looked likely the game would be decided on running penalties but with 20 seconds to go they were awarded a penalty corner.
Following the push-out and initial shot saved by the keeper, another shot was made by Jill, of Bon Accord, which was partially saved, but pushed over the line for a goal by Janice.
Janice said: “Everyone went wild including the crowd who had been supporting us. It couldn’t have been a more exciting ending as frustration turned to delight that we had won the bronze medal. I don’t think I have been more relieved to score a goal. Although it was me who scored, being in the right place at the right time, it was a team goal and deserved by the whole team.”
Babs Buglass, also of Bon Accord, who played a major role in the creation of the Scottish Masters 10 years ago, also played her part in all the World Cup games, having been called up from the reserves just a week before the contest.
And there could be further glory for the city’s senior players representing their country as a further eight female hockey players from Aberdeen will be playing for Scotland at the Exin Masters World Cup, which includes categories for those aged 40 and upwards, at Terrassa in Spain in the coming weeks.