A World Cup Wrap Up for Wales Masters Teams
Wales, who fielded 8 teams, have now returned from a World Cup which saw 135 teams, 25 nations, 400+ games and over 1800 players compete in Club Egara, Tereassa.
WO40 14th / 16
WO45 12th / 12
WO50 6th / 16
WO55 7th / 9
MO35 7th / 7
MO45 10th / 15
MO50 12th / 16
MO55 13th / 15
We have managed to catch up with some of those who were part of the Exin Masters World Cup to hear about their experience:
Ria Male, WO50’s Coach:
I am extremely proud of all the Wales men’s and women’s squads who participated in the EXIN Masters World Cup 2018. The tournament was well organised and provided our athletes with the opportunity to play competitive Hockey with the best teams from around the world. The tournament was showcased across 5 different venues in and around Terrassa, Barcelona and despite having to endure temperatures of 35-40 degrees, it was a privilege to be a part of such a special tournament featuring the likes of Argentina, Germany and Australia. I would like to extend a special mention to the Women’s Over 50s squad, who exceeded all expectations beating Italy, New Zealand and Argentina and drawing with Germany. As a result they finished 6th from 16 after losses to England and Netherlands. Masters hockey is truly special, the commitment from players is exceptional and the fact you can continue to play competitively at 35 right through to 60+ is wonderful. It once again highlights the true strength and uniqueness of our wonderful Sport. All of this is achieved through the excellent volunteers who make this experience possible for the players, not to mention the support Welsh players, families and friends provide for each other.
Mark Ison (Harrogate HC), Mens O45’s Player, Top Goalscorer O45’s Mens Category:
An outstanding experience playing with some truly great players. Scoring goals from a PC is a unique skill only fuelled by the talent of those able to win the PC in the first place. Proud to wear the Welsh shirt. Great team, great effort.
Bob Fleck (Whitchurch HC), Mens O55’s Player:
A very tough draw gave Wales O55’s English (eventual gold medallists) and Australian opposition in their first 2 games. A close loss then to France and a last minute draw with New Zealand after being 3-2 up with 5 mins to go meant that final wins vs South Africa and Ireland gave us a 13th place finish. Fabulous experience with excellent team management, coaching and sports massage across the tournament. Thank you EXIN Masters!!!
Becky Fleck (Howardians HC), Womens O50’s Player:
Having prepared since Autumn 2017 and with 14 training/tournament days this year, the W50s were determined to do well in the World Cup. Superb organisation from coaching team of Ria Male and Serian Ganesh made training fun and effective. Our 3 captains came up with our motto ‘Commit. Believe. Succeed’ and the whole squad bought into it. The time, effort and sacrifice put into make this experience happen was incredible. Several squad members travelled 100s of miles at their own expense. Other squad members hosted overnight stays or helped with transport. Coaching was current, relevant and so professional. We’ve always played with pride and team spirit but this year the technique, fitness levels and execution of skills/tactics matched our passion in representing Welsh hockey. As a result, we coped well with the incredible temperatures and 6 international games in 9 days! The coach/team manager/captains were supported by videography, a little technical support plus help from friends/family in all manner of ways…kit/badges/washing/water/transport/food etc! The interaction/support between squads was first class as always and this year we had more supporters than ever who had a ball, creating a fantastic atmosphere for every game. Lining up against giant hockey nations like Netherlands, Argentina, Germany took your breath away. Beating New Zealand in a sudden death penalty shootout after coming from behind twice was a once in a lifetime thing. Running England close in the quarter final under lights with spine-tingling Welsh support was magical. Once again, Netherlands proved to be a step too far but despite disappointment at not getting 5th place, the team stayed positive and together despite exhaustion and injuries finally taking their toll. Terrassa clubs did a great job. The opening ceremony was loved by everyone able to go and the livestreaming allowed teams not at the main venue to watch…we were cheering like loons from our hotel when the W45s beat Spain 2-1. The standard of Masters Hockey gets higher every year and is only exceeded by the fun we all have. Masters hockey players always do so much else for hockey in so many ways, it’s great to see everyone enjoying some reward themselves. Keep masters happy and you’ll keep hockey happy!
Deb Painter, Womens O45’s Player; John Painter, Mens O45’s Player:
The World Cup was a truly unforgettable experience which took Masters hockey to a whole new level. A stunning venue with amazing people. We feel privileged and proud to be part of the Welsh Masters family. Our son, Joe, loved it too!
Chris Jackson, Mens O50’s Player; Gaynor Jackson, Womens O45’s Player:
We’ve played Welsh Masters for our respective teams for a few years now. It’s great to be playing with team mates of such a high standard and to have the honour of playing for the Dragon! The World Cup gave us an amazing experience and the chance to see teams of different nations playing different styles of hockey. The management and coaching that is provided is excellent and hopefully we can filter it back down into our club teams.
The tournament organisation and stunning location added to the excitement of the competition. New friendships made within our own teams from clubs that we usually compete against have become precious and it was lovely to get the opportunity to support other Welsh Masters teams as well as forge friendships with players from other countries. Hockey Masters offers us a chance to meet and play against like minded people from across the globe!