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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Scotland Battle well in Europe

A YOUNG Scotland team played superbly in the European Challenge Trophy, finishing third in their group and securing a win over Malta.

They got off to a tough start in their group, playing eventual group winners Moldova in their opening match. Moldova put Scotland under pressure right from the start of the match and a combination of aggressive defending and high quality fast-breaking saw Moldova lead by 14 goals at half time.

The Scotland boys continued to fight through the second half with Alex Wylie scoring 10 goals being the upside for Scotland, but eventually went down 47-20 to the more experienced and physically stronger side.

In their second match they played an Azerbaijan side who had struggled to find their rhythm in their first match. However they came out ready for the second match and proved that the first match had been an off day.

The Scotland team play better in defence and with more fluency in attack but were powerless to prevent a 16-goal loss.

On the final day the Scotland team really had to lift their spirits with a chance to still finish third in the group by beating Malta, the host nation.

They knew it would be difficult with Malta playing in front of a home crowd who would get behind them and drive them on. Scotland had a boost for the match with the news that Alex Girvan would be fit to play having overcome the groin injury that kept him out the first two matches.

Scotland started the match very well and gave the Maltese a real surprise. They went in seven goals up at half time with the Maltese looking shell-shocked and the crowd starting to lose the spirit it had before the match.

Malta came out ready to fight in the second half playing higher pressure defence but this made little difference pressing out two of the Scotland back players.

However this left too much space for the Scotland team who proved too fast for their opponents and eventually won the match by five goals and Alex Girvan Top scoring with 14.

Andrew Mackellar also made it into the all star team after his nine goals against Azerbaijan and a great tournament in defence.

After the match coach Gary McCafferty said: “I am immensely proud of all the players, after two hard matches they came out fighting and have come away with a win.

“We have a young squad with an average age of just 19, so to come here and manage to stay motivated and achieve our target after 2 tough defeats is a great credit to the players and bodes really well for the future.”

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