SENIOR GRAND MASTERS SET THE STANDARD
The first European Senior Grand Masters (Over 70) Tournament in Hannover, Germany
26th-28th May 2007
Over the Whitsun weekend (26th to 28th May) England were outright winners of the first European Senior Grand Masters (Over 70) Tournament in Hannover, Germany, achieving a maximum 9 points.
Holland came second with 6 points, Italy third with 3 points and Germany fourth with 0 points. England beat Italy 4-3, Germany 3-0 and Holland 2-0.
The tournament was well organised with first-class facilities on a water-based pitch and was masterminded by Didi Wolter, who had twice led the German Grand Masters to European and World cup success. For England’s Senior Grand Masters the first match with Italy (who had been granted dispensation as an emerging Grand Masters country to include some under-age players) was a tough one. At one stage England led 3-0 with two goals from Dominic Bann and one from Keith Hedley but with more youthful zest Italy clawed back the initiative to level at 3-3. Then in the dying minutes, Dominic Bann, with an assist from Gerald Wilkinson, completed his hat-trick and gave England a valuable start to the tournament.
The next encounter was with Germany who could not match England’s assertive play and succumbed to a 3-0 defeat with goals from Brian Woolcott, John Davey and Dominic Bann. The final match with Holland was the decider as both teams had six points from two wins. The Dutch dominated the early stages of the game and were unlucky not to have gone a goal ahead. However, a goal from Gerald Wilkinson changed the impetus of the match. England slowly gained control and settled the encounter with a second goal by John Davey.
The defence of Leon Mack, David Birch (who was outstanding) and for a while Mike Mann soon established their understanding with goalkeeper Jim Standish to keep a clean sheet against both Germany and Holland. The England midfield held their own for most of the time and created many opportunities. This and some enterprising play from the wingers enabled the team to score a total of nine goals.
The World Grand Masters Association will be made aware of the impetus for more Senior Grand Masters events from the good hockey at this Hannover tournament. The weekend was an unqualified success for England’s Senior Grand Masters team and retains the 100% record of the English Over 70s teams who have played to date.