Babas lead Irish charge at Masters European Open

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After two days of competition, England are holding the box seat in three of the six Masters European Open categories, an event described as one the biggest in Ulster hockey history by club chairman John Gray on BBC Talkback on Wednesday (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b038br1j” target=”_blank”>go to 28m50 in the link).

The best hope of outright Irish glory looks to be in the men’s O-45s category after a win  over Scotland and a draw against the English though the Babas – a selection of Irish O-45s players – are leading the women’s O-50s competition.

The O-45s are unbeaten after two games, drawing 1-1 with England and were 2-1 victors over Scotland.

The most clear-cut competition sees England dominated the men’s O-50s with three wins to date, leaving them six points clear of the pack.

Ireland sit on two draws in that pool having just been denied a late winner on day one against Scotland when Gerry Hamill’s deflection from Roy Gordon’s ball in hit the post. That came four minutes from the end of a feisty 1-1 draw.

They followed up with a 1-1 draw against the Dutch but will be hopeful of making up some ground with four games still to play.

Similarly, Ireland men’s O-40s will hope to pick up points against Wales and Scotland to close the gap on South Africa and England in the chase for that title after they beat Germany 1-0 late on Tuesday evening.

On the women’s side, a Sue Ramsay inspired Scotland lead the way in the O-40s category with two wins from two, edging out Ireland with a second half goal in their first game.

Ireland subsequently drew 0-0 with Australia but a win over England in their next tie could see them battle for a final berth.

At O-50s level, the Babas saw off Australia courtesy of goals from Joan Dobson and Clare Bell for a 2-0 win, adding to a 3-0 win over England. Dobson, Julie Fisher and Marian O’Brien were on the mark in that tie. Dymphna Hill and Cathy Walsh scored for the Irish O-50s against England, too, albeit in a 3-2 setback.

The action continues until Saturday evening with 32 teams taking part in a superbly organised competition on the Comber Road with Lisnagarvey supplying a huge volume of volunteers to run the event smoothly.

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Men’s O40s
Day One: South Africa 4 Wales 0; England 2 Scotland 0; Ireland 1 Germany 0
Day Two: Wales 0 Germany 4; England 1 Ireland 0; Scotland 1 South Africa 7
Standings: 1. South Africa 6pts (+10) 2. England 6pts (+3) 3. Germany 3pts (+3) 4. Ireland 3pts (0) 5= Wales 0pts (-8) 5= Scotland 0pts (-8)

Men’s O45s
Day One: Wales 0 England 2; Ireland 2 Scotland 1
Day Two: Germany 9 Scotland 0; Ireland 1 England 1
Standings (played): 1. England (2) 4pts (+2) 2. Ireland (2) 4pts (+1) 3. Germany (1) 3pts (+9) 4. Wales (1) 0pts (-2) 5. Scotland (2) 0pts (-10)

Men’s O50s
Day One: England 6 Wales 0; Ireland 1 Scotland 1; USA 2 Holland 2
Day Two: England 8 Holland 0; Wales 2 USA 0; England 3 Scotland 2; Ireland 1 Holland 1
Standings (played): 1. England (3) 9pts (+15) 2. Wales (2) 3pts (-4) 3. Ireland (2) 2pts (0) 4. Holland (3) 2pts (-8) 5. Scotland (2) 1pt (-1) 6. USA (2) 1pt (-2)

Men’s O55s
Day One: England 4 Scotland 1; Holland 4 Dragons 0
Day Two:Dragons 0 England 5; Ireland 1 Scotland 4
Standings (played): 1. England (2) 6pts (+8) 2. Holland (1) 3pts (+4) 3. Ireland (1) 0pts (-3) 4. Dragons (2) 0pts (-9)

Women’s O40s
Day One: Ireland 0 Scotland 1; Australia 0 England 2
Day Two: Scotland 2 England 0; Ireland 0 Australia 0
Standings: 1. Scotland 6pts (+3) 2. England 3pts (0) 3. Ireland 1pt (-1) 4. Australia 1pt (-1)

Women’s O50s
Day One: Australia 2 Ireland 0; England 0 Babas 3
Day Two: England 3 Ireland 2; Babas 2 Australia 0
Standings: 1. Babas 6pts (+5) 2. Australia 3pts (0) 3. England 3pts (-2) 4. Ireland 0pts (-3)

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Thursday, August 15
Forest: M50s
 – Scotland vs USA, 10.30am; M45s – Scotland vs Wales, 12pm; M40s – England vs South Africa, 1.30pm; M40s – Ireland vs Wales, 3pm; M50s – England vs Ireland, 4.30pm; M55s – Ireland vs England, 6pm; M45s – Ireland vs Germany, 7.30pm

Church: L40s – England vs Ireland, 10.30am; L50s – Babas vs Ireland, 12pm; M50s – Wales vs Netherlands, 1.30pm; M55s – Scotland vs Netherlands, 3pm; M40s – Germany vs Scotland, 4.30pm; L40s – Scotland vs Australia, 6pm; L50s – England vs Australia, 7.30pm

Friday, August 16
Forest: M40s
 – England vs Wales, 8.30am; M45s – England vs Scotland, 10am; M40s – South Africa vs Germany, 11.30am; M40s – Ireland vs Scotland, 1pm; M50s – Netherlands vs Scotland, 2.30pm; M55s – Wales vs Ireland, 4pm

Church: M50s – England vs USA, 8.30am; M50s – Ireland vs Wales, 10am; M45s – Wales vs Germany, 11.30am; L50s – classification match, 1pm; L40s – classification match, 2.30pm; M55s – Netherlands vs England, 4pm

Titanic exhibition: 6.30pm
Tournament dinner: 7pm

Saturday, August 17
Forest:
 L40s – classification match, 9am; M45s – England vs Germany, 10.30am; M55s– Ireland vs Netherlands, 12pm; M55s – Scotland vs Wales, 1.30pm; M45s – Ireland vs Wales, 3pm; M40s – Ireland vs South Africa, 4.30pm; M40s – Germany vs England, 6pm
Church: L50s – classification match; M50s – Wales vs Scotland, 10.30am; Lions Test – Australia vs Lions 50s, 12pm; Lions Test – Australia vs Lions 40s, 1.30pm; M40s – Scotland vs Wales, 3pm; M50s – Ireland vs USA, 4.30pm

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