8/9 February 2009 IJsmutsen Tournament Oss Netherlands
(Scottish Thistles)

Scottish Thistles travelled with a party of only twelve players to Oss for a day's warm up hockey before the main tournament held on Sunday 9 February.

Squad: Fraser (GK), Aird, Downie, D. Dunbar, G. Dunbar, Forster (C), McIntosh, McKay (guest), McLernan, Mitchinson, Morrice, Philip.

Inability to score cost the Scots dear on the Saturday, when a scoreless draw in the first game against Alliance was followed by one goal defeats by MHC Oss (who had borrowed both Dunbars for the occasion) and NHC 60+ - in all three games, 80% possession came to nothing and defensive lapses in the second and third games led to the opposition stealing victory against the run of play.

In the tournament proper, Rapidity VSOP, eventual winners, proved too fit, young and strong for Thistles, who were on the receiving end for the whole game. Fraser in goal had to be in top form and a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing from Rapidity kept the scoreline blank until the 18th minute, when things started to click for the local side, who put two past the helpless Fraser to win the game 2-0. Alliance, bolstered by a couple of underage players, put up a much stronger display than on the previous day and in a more even game managed a 1-0 victory.

Finally, in the last game against NHC 60+, everything clicked into place. The Thistles midfield, virtually unchallenged by the opposition, was in total command and a succession of chances were created, and missed, until a great run by Donald Dunbar down the right wing led to a cross from the goal line which Mitchinson met on the penalty spot to open the Scottish account. This was soon followed by a second when left midfield McLernan combined with the other midfielders Downie and Donald Dunbar, finally meeting Dunbar's pass in the inside right channel and netting a very good goal.

Thistles ended in third place and the players were presented with a pack of chewing gum each from the sponsors.