2019 Four Nations Tournament - Senior Grand Masters (Over 70)

Rubislaw Playing Fields, Bayview Road South AB15 4YT on 24 May 2019

Countesswells Playing Fields, 233 Countesswells Rd, Aberdeen AB15 8AR on 25 and 26 May 2019

The 2019 Four Nations tournament took place at Rubislaw and Countesswells Playing Fields, Aberdeen from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 May. For the first time, all four nations competed for the Senior Grand Masters trophy, Ireland joining England, Scotland and Wales who had fought out the previous competitions in 2017 and 2018.

Scotland Senior Grand Masters had finished third behind England and Wales in the 2018 event in Dublin but it would be a tough ask to improve on that position after losing to both England and Wales earlier in the year. A 4-0 win over Ireland in the 2019 Celtic Cup in Swansea gave them some scope for optimism as coach Sandy Keith worked on improving their performances.

England once more took the trophy, going through the tournament undefeated. Scotland lost out to Wales for second place, a single goal for the Welsh in the match between the sides making the difference, while Ireland, fielding a depleted side, trailed in last.

Scotland opened their programme with the toughest of fixtures against England and were on the back foot for the majority of the match. In the first quarter, England kept the Scots pinned deep in their own half and their constant pressure on the ball made it very difficult for Scotland to put together a sustained period of possession. On the other hand, the defence coped well with England's attack and keeper Nigel Dixon was not seriously threatened, though a series of penalty corners at the very end of the half could have given England the lead. Into the second quarter and Scotland's share of possession increased as they began to string passes together, but paradoxically this opened up the game and gave England more space to exploit. Six minutes into the quarter, A turnover ball from a Scottish free hit allowed John Maylam in to put England ahead, and three minutes later Richard Yardley added a second. Scotland could have caved in at this point but credit to the defence and Nigel Dixon in particular, they stood firm, surviving three more penalty corners from their opponents.

The second half saw Scotland once more hold the ball for longer periods, Nigel Dixon once again proving how good a goalkeeper he is as the more open game allowed England more chances in the circle. Eventually he was beaten when a bullet shot at a penalty corner by German Singh found the bottom right hand corner of his goal with no player on the line for Scotland. England completed their scoring from the penalty spot after a series of English penalty corners ended with the award of a penalty flick, confidently converted by Imtiaz Sheikh. Past Scottish sides would have collapsed in the final quarter but this one was made of sterner stuff, and they went on to finish the match without allowing England to score again.

Matches between Scotland and Wales are always tight affairs, and the match at Countesswells on the second day of the tournament was no different. With less pressure on the ball than in the England match, and growing confidence among the players that they could keep the ball, Scotland had a good share of possession and were narrowly in command of the midfield, while the defence did not look under any pressure from Wales. Up front, it was a different story, the Welsh adopting man for man marking from which the Scottish forwards could not escape, and though the midfield was able to keep possession, they found it much more difficult to put in a telling pass to the forwards. The crucial goal came from a Welsh penalty corner when Ramesh Gangotra drilled the ball past Nigel Dixon to put Wales one up.

With the way to the forwards blocked, Scotland had to come up with another way of unlocking the Welsh defence, and this was through speedy right midfield player Colin Tucker who began to cause major disruption to Wales by repeatedly taking the ball into the circle along the goal line. Unfortunately no Scottish player was able to convert any of the resultant cut backs, and equally Scotland failed to convert any of a number of penalty corners which Wales conceded in their attempts to stop the elusive Scottish midfielder. In the end, lack of cutting edge up front and inability to take advantage of penalty corners cost Scotland a victory which could and should have been theirs.

With Wales and England tied on two victories apiece, Scotland faced Ireland in their last match playing to avoid the wooden spoon, with both Doug Morrice and Alan Bain out of the match through injury, while Ireland could field a squad of only twelve with two of these carrying injuries. The first quarter saw Scotland have the bulk of the possession but as in the Welsh match the midfield could not find the forwards with a pass. The Irish were clearly, man for man, both better at stopping the ball and more positionally aware than their opponents, who could not find a way past Tom Carney at centre half for Ireland. As the match progressed, the Scottish midfield pressed higher up the pitch, with Alan Auld moving forward from his screen postion in front of the back three and finding gaps in the inside right channel which Scotland failed to exploit. The turning point came in the second quarter, when Alan Auld carried on into the circle and fired a shot across Irish keeper Crawford McKee. The ball came back off the left hand post and Murdoch Shirreffs, just off the bench, sneaked in unawares to pick up the rebound and put Scotland one up.

While inability to convert penalty corners had been Scotland's downfall the day before, two further goals came from penalty corners in the second half. The first came after a bewildering series of switches saw Kieran McLernan feed Sandy Weir who was in the clear to net for the second Scottish goal after 33 minutes, and in the final quarter Scotland looked to have the match sewn up when a ball back to the injector found Alan Auld clear on the left hand post to put Scotland 3-0 up with only four minutes left on the clock (plus a good bit of time added on for stoppage). Ireland suddenly turned from solid defence to all out attack and almost immediately from the push back Keith Thompson made the score 3-1, and Scotland had an uncomfortable last few minutes as Ireland, with nothing to lose, threw everything at them. Fortunately, the defence and Nigel Dixon were able to withstand the onslaught and the match finished with no further scoring , and Scotland in third place.


Friday 24 May Rubislaw

16:00 Scotland Flag Scotland 0 England Flag England 4

18:00   All Ireland Flag Ireland 0 Welsh Flag Wales 2

Saturday 25 May 14:00 Countesswells

Pitch 1 Scotland Flag Scotland  0 Welsh Flag Wales 1

Pitch 2 All Ireland Flag Ireland 0 England Flag England 11

Sunday 26 May 09:15 Countesswells

Pitch 1 All Ireland Flag Ireland 1 Scotland Flag Scotland 3

Pitch 2 England Flag England 4Welsh Flag Wales 0

Altiusrt results and information

Grand Masters











3 3 0 0 19 0 9 19


3 2 0 1 3 4 6 -1


3 1 0 2 3 6 3 -3


3 0 0 3 1 16 0 -15

Scotland Squad

Scotland Over 70 Four Nations Aberdeen 2019

Alan Auld(C), Alan Bain, Alan Bryce, Roy Crichton, Nigel Dixon (GK), Andy Ferrol ,Kieran McLernan, David Margerison, Duncan Mitchell, Doug Morrice, Alan Parker, Ian Pett, Derrick Reid, Murdoch Shirreffs, Alan Strachan, Colin Tucker, Dougie Turner, Sandy Weir.

Manager Rona Beattie, Coach Sandy Keith. Ian Downie was on the bench as 'assistant coach'.