Borders hockey players – including one from Duns – shared the agony and the ecstasy of European competition after taking part recently in the Masters in Germany.
Janet Jack, Jackie Wilson and Carolyn Allison represented Scotland in the European Championships at Krefeld Hockey Club.
Defender Janet, who plays for the Scotland 55s team, came away with a silver medal after a hotly-contested final with England.
Meanwhile, club-mates Jackie and Carolyn, from Duns, suffered the disappointment of missing out on bronze in the 50s section, after a field goal in the 15th minute from Ireland was enough to see them through.
It was an impressive tournament run, though, with three wins, one draw and two defeats in six matches.
In fact, Carolyn – who got herself on the scoresheet with a field goal in a 2-1 group stage win over Germany – said the tournament was probably the highlight of her Masters career.
“The squad was well prepared and definitely had the ability to go further than we eventually did,” she said.
“Playing for bronze against Ireland, the reigning world champions, was always going to be tough and, although we had the majority of play, Ireland sneaked the only goal of the match past us early in the first half.
“After a year’s hard work by both the squad and coach, fourth was disappointing but we enjoyed marvellous wins against France, Germany and Wales along the way. A personal achievement was scoring the winning goal against Germany.”
Jackie added: “The whole European experience was fantastic. The highlight for me was the 2-0 win against Wales. The team played some brilliant hockey and linked together all over the pitch.
“Our hard work in training came in to its own, giving us the win we deserved to reach the semi-finals.”
Meanwhile, Janet, Fjordhus Rievers player/coach and experienced hockey development officer, was in the top three goalscorers for the whole competition – a situation which left her “surprised”.
“I obviously just found myself in the right place at the right time,” said Janet, who netted four goals throughout the tournament.
“It was great to win silver, one up from bronze last year at the World Cup,” she added.
“One of the main themes the coach worked on was trust – in the process and in each other. We all put in a lot of work, for ourselves, for our team and for our country, and that showed.
“We maintained our quality throughout the tournament. The work rate and the work ethic was exceptional – we ended up being supported by all the other teams.”
Scotland won five out of six matches, scoring 19 goals and conceding only three.
They lost the final 2-0 to England, who scored twice in the final seven minutes.
Scotland kicked off with a 7-0 thumping of GlobeDutch before a 2-0 win over Ireland. A 3-0 win over Germany put them in the quarter-finals against an Alliance team.
They notched up a 5-0 victory before a tough semi-final test against the Netherlands. The Dutch scored first but Scotland equalised on the 25-minute mark, then found the winning strike in the 58th minute to go through to the final against England.
The English came out the blocks and put Scotland under pressure but the defence stood firm and then came slowly in to the game.
It was end-to-end stuff until the last seven minutes, when England converted a short corner and followed up with a well-worked goal to seal the gold medal.
Trials begin soon for selection for next year and anyone eligible to play for Scotland is welcome to attend.
For more information on the Masters programme, see: http://scottishwomensmastershockey.uk