Three of Hertfordshire’s top veteran hockey players rolled back the years to help England to win silver in the Vintage Grand Masters category at the World Cup in The Hague.
Gilbert Grace from Tring, former captain David Wright from Slapton, and player/manager Brian Woolcott from Gaddesden Row all played their part in another strong performance from the England team.
Their opening match in the championship was against Holland, which England duly won 2-0 – a particularly encouraging result as it was the first international of the year between the two countries.
Once a year England plays Holland for The Submariners Trophy – a Dutch, Second World War submarine depth gauge, mounted on an oak base, and donated especially for the occasion by the present Dutch captain, whose father was a submarine commander.
England won it in 2013, and this year’s victory saw them get their campaign off to a flying start.
Encouraged by their performance, England battled through the intervening rounds to meet Australia in the final, which was a tense and strongly fought contest.
Neither side gained the upper hand until nearly half-time, when an English striker shot wide of a truly open goal, and the balance of power suddenly shifted.
With England having failed to capitalise on the opportunity, Australia attacked strongly from the second half push back, and their captain – after eluding three English defenders – slid the ball past an unprotected keeper.
Shortly afterwards, Australia scored again and, with only a little time remaining, England were unable to produce the penetration to claw their way back into the contest.
The final result was 2-0 to Australia, in what was an extremely hard fought battle. That meant, for the first time in four World Cups, England had to be satisfied with the silver medal.
Keen to put things right, England are already in training for The European Cup, which will be held in St Albans in Spring 2015.