2022 Over 40's
Championship summary and fixtures
Dates:10th - 21st August 2022
Player's Player:Matthew Hotchkis
Having travelled the furthest of any country represented at this World Cup, Australia assembled in West Sussex 7 days prior to the start of the World Cup. For many players, this was the first time meeting most of their team mates. In addition, with the manager stepping in only 3 weeks prior, the team needed to gel quickly if they were going to go deep into this tournament.
After 3 days in camp and 2 warm-up matches, the team travelled to Nottingham and started to prepare for their first match. As the only Australian side at this World Cup, they were reliant on a support base from the family members travelling with the team.
Unlike a number of the nations playing in the tournament, Australia had no idea of the relative strength of the other countries. Scotland were a great way to start, with Australia putting together a balanced performance, with 2 goals in each half to record a 4-0 win and a good start to the World Cup.
Following a rest day, the United States were next up, and again, Australia stuck to their processes and slotted two goals in each half for another 4-0 win.
Argentina were next up after another rest day and proved a tough and enjoyable challenge. Playing against Latin American style and flair, Australia grabbed a goal early in the first half but had to battle until mid way through the fourth quarter before doubling their lead and eventually securing a 2-0 win.
Although the northern hemisphere time zone was not conducive to a large viewing audience back home, the team was looking forward to their match against Malaysia as it was being played on Pitch 1 which had all matches live streamed. Sadly, the team was in their alternate green shirts but never looked like dropping the match, finishing 5-0 victors.
Italy were next up, and like Australia, had a portion of their squad from an older age group. Although the score line of 12-0 didn't reflect it, they battled hard. The post-match hospitality was particularly enjoyable with the Italians loving the Australian tradition of post-match beers. The home made biscotti they provided matched nicely with a cold beer.
At the last World Cup, the Spanish match was a testy affair. Watching earlier matches at this World Cup suggested that the same thing would occur again. And so was the case. The Spanish adopted dirty tactics, and mid way through the fourth quarter, struck one of the Australians in a sensitive spot behind the ball. Tempers raged and blows were almost exchanged. Sadly, the officials missed most of the incidents although they knew it was going on. Great discipline and some stern words from the coach and manager kept the team in check. Not surprisingly, most of the Spanish did not accept the Australian invite for a post-match beer.
Having finished their pool matches 6-0, Australia were through to the Gold Medal match against England, who had also enjoyed an unbeaten run to the final, although Ireland troubled them in what was a highly entertaining match in their pool phase.
Not surprisingly, England had managed to get all their teams into Gold Medal matches from the Men's and Women's 35's and 40's. Having won the 3 preceding matches, the Men's 40's was they only one left to complete the full set. Australia went into the match with every intention of denying them that, but despite a brave fourth quarter fight back and a shoot-out, England emerged victorious 2-2 (1-3). The one Australian highlight of the final was the stunning goal scored by Matthew Hotchkis to equalise with 90 seconds to go. You know it's a cracker goal when the Pro League commentator, Simon Mason raved about it after the match!
Congratulations to the team on a fabulous performance and to England for their victory.