Five Irish Masters teams return after long wait

Five Irish men’s Masters teams got back into the groove this month after almost two years as they travelled to Nottingham for EH Invitational tournaments.

Last weekend, the Over-40s picked off wins against Wales and Scotland in their opening two games to set up a title showdown with England.

In the former, they won 4-3 with Graham Harris scoring a 68th minute penalty corner to grab the result after an earlier double from Chris Barnes and an opener from Dave Smith.

Barnes also netted twice in the 5-2 success against Scotland, a important efforts in the 67th and 69th minutes to make the win safe.

England, however, were too strong in game three, completing their third win of the weekend with a. 7-1 success, Harris getting the sole Irish reply.

At Over-45 level, Ireland began with a 1-1 draw against Scotland with Peter Bland’s eighth minute goal cancelled out by one from John D’Alton.

The followed up with a comprehensive 6-0 victory over Wales – Eise Lodewijk was on the mark twice with Paul Fitzpatrick, Ash Harrison, Steven Jones and Peter Bland getting the others.

That left another title showdown with England and Ireland got off to a flyer with Fitzpatrick breaking the deadlock from a 15th minute corner.

But England swapped the lead by half-time to go in 3-1 up at the big break and that is how the game finished.

For the Over-50s, they lost 3-1 to Scotland on day one of the competition – Stephen Magee getting the goal – and then drew with Wales 2-2 with Ian Stuart earning the share of the spoils. Earlier, Darren Scott had picked up the first equaliser in the 29th minute.

A week earlier, also in Nottingham, the Irish men’s Over-65s and 60s were also in action.

For the 65s, they recorded a 0-0 against Scotland before falling a couple of times to England. The Over-60s had a couple of close-run fixtures with 2-1 defeats to Scotland and Wales before England proved too strong in a 5-0 outcome.