US Men's Masters Over-50 Team displays continued growth at the European Masters Open
The U.S. Men's Masters Over-50 Team continued play at the European Masters Open in Lisnagarvey, Northern Ireland with resilience. Friday, August 16 was an improvement from their match on Thursday against a strong England side. England opened the scoring early in the first half from a penalty corner, but despite some intense pressure at times, held out to keep the score at 0-1 at half time. Outstanding work by the defensive line was marshaled by sweeper Peter Jones and goalkeeper Warren Prestwich between the posts. The second half opened in much the same manner with sustained English pressure. U.S.’s hard work off-the-ball and close man-to-man marking within U.S.'s 25 resulted in a series of unforced English errors with loose passes over the end and sidelines. After the breakdown of an England penalty corner, Team USA countered quickly down the right through Richard Hayden, Ian Wagge and Andrew Dunning. When the ball reached the England circle, an open John Hoven was unceremoniously upended by the England goalkeeper, resulting in a penalty stroke. Jones stepped up to calmly make it 1-1 with about 20 minutes left. More sustained pressure resulted from an increasingly worried and frustrated England: eventually after a series of attacks they managed to score their second on a penalty corner drag flick. A tiring U.S. kept up the effort until the end of the game, despite two more English goals from open play. The final score was USA 1, England 4.
Wednesday, August 14 and Thursday, August 15 were a hard couple of days for the US Men’s Masters O-50s after the euphoria of the 2-2 tie against Holland on Tuesday. On Wednesday Team USA lost 0-2 to Wales in a tight match. Wales scored midway through the first half with a field goal and after an even half it remained 0-1 at the break. USA had a prolonged 20 minute period of pressure at the start of the second half but couldn’t convert a couple of penalty corners. As the U.S. pressed forward for an equalizer, Wales scored their second at the death to clinch the match. Thursday saw the U.S. saw its second loss of the tournament with a score of 0-4 to Scotland.