Richard Docherty Indoor Tournament, 4-6 Jan 2013

Anyone who turned up to the Engage Sports Centre at Edinburgh Napier University over the weekend (including Scott Hastings and his family to watch his daughter playing for Cala) would have seen some of the best indoor hockey played on this – or any other – planet. A host of British and European Internationalists playing in a couple of composite teams, a top Dutch select team in HC RGD (with, at least a million International caps!) and, not forgetting, three of Scotland’s top men’s teams. This year a women’s competiton was held involving Inverleith, Cala and ‘Richard’s Belles’, of whom, more later.

The preliminary rounds were played on the Friday/Saturday to determine the ‘order of play’ for the Sunday finals and the Scots teams more than held their own and all three teams – Inverleith, Grange and Menzieshill – went through to the semi-finals.

 The fifth/sixth play-off was, possibly the most entertaining of the whole weekend. Played between Globetrotters and Alba, both ‘Invitational’ teams, the skills on display occasionally defied belief. Goals were celebrated in a manner of styles – including Gangnam – and both of the penalty flicks awarded were taken by the respective ‘keepers. The match eventually ended 9-9, after a bit of coercion and the result was decided in the time-honoured, Internationally recognised way of settling such affairs – a crossbar hitting competition from the halfway line! Globetrotters got this one in the bag and took a well-deserved fifth place.

The first semi-final was played between RGD and Grange. Grange are no mugs at the hockey game, but RGD, literally, took them apart. The final score of ‘only’ 11-6 in no way reflected on the gulf between the two sides, which, was only to be expected in that Grange are a top Scottish club side and RGD had some of the top players, including Richard’s brother, Laurence (pictured), from one of the top countries in World hockey playing. This match was played in the absolute best spirits of the tournament and even the Grange players came off the pitch shaking their heads in amazement. In fact, when The Reporter asked their goalie “How good were they?” he replied, with a huge grin, “They were just taking the p***!”.

The second semi-final was an altogether different affair. Menzieshill versus Inverleith. West versus East. It wasn’t going to be pretty. This match was a fairly terse encounter, with more than a little pride at stake. Inverleith took an early lead but, Menzieshill came back with two quick goals to go into a lead they were not to relinquish, eventually running out 6-3 victors.

The final looked to be a very tasty match-up. HC RGD against Menzieshill. How many would the Dutch win this one by? Well, it didn’t quite go as the spectators may have scripted. RGD turned out to play some serious, no frills hockey, but so did the Scots. Menzieshill, initially, held a two goal lead before they were pulled back to 2-3. The lead then changed hands several times up to 5-5, but the vastly superior experience of the visitors came to the fore and they scored a further two goals in the final minutes to run-out, but were by no means run away, victors and take the trophy.

Richard’s Belles? Some of the players looked familiar and one, Rhona Simpson – double-Olympian and 200+ Scotland caps – was very familiar. The game was finally up when, to round off their pre-match huddle, the players banged their sticks on the floor and shouted ‘Scotland!’

And they were good. Sweeping all before them, sometimes with double-figure scores, they met up with Cala in the final match. Cala pulled out all the stops this time around and held the opposition to a 4-4 draw, but the ‘old-girls’ (all due respect, of course) had done enough to lift their respective trophy.

The weekend was rounded off with a very emotional thank you from organiser, Graham Stuart, before the various prizes and awards were presented by members of Richard’s family.

All in all, what a fantastic weekend!

Report and Photos – John Preece
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