Hockey: Scots well beaten by Germany and stunned by Spain

CALUM MacLeod stroked a superb 90 as Western Warriors created a Twenty20 upset against Caledonian Highlanders at Mannofield yesterday.

Caley, the reigning Regional Series champions, started firm favourites in their double header against a makeshift Warriors line-up. However, they played second fiddle to MacLeod in the opening fixture, which the Warriors won by 25 runs, before gaining thrilling revenge as the return match was settled from the last delivery of the day.

Former Warwickshire all-rounder MacLeod showed his class with a dominant batting display before two brilliant catches and two wickets completed a match-winning contribution from the Uddingston player. MacLeod, now attracting the interest of Kent, watched early wickets fall as Caley, having won the toss and elected to bowl in favourable conditions, reduced the visitors to 28-2.

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But the in-form Aberdeenshire seamer Tyler Buchan was first to strike when he had Omer Hussain caught by Gordon Goudie while Majid Haq was run out by Goudie's throw. Safyaan Sharif also went cheaply before Richie Berrington's 17 helped MacLeod add 71 for the fourth wicket.However, it was MacLeod who dominated the innings, reaching his 50 from just 25 deliveries and going on to strike 13 fours and three maximums before falling ten runs short of a century as Warriors posted 180-9.

Fraser Burnett's counter- attacking 49 gave Caley hope but they fell well short in the end

The second day of the Four Nations tournament at Inverclyde saw Scotland take on the might of World No 2-ranked Germany in what was another huge test for coach Russell Garcia's men as they continue preparations for the upcoming summer challenges - and the Germans proved to be too strong running out deserved 5-2 winners.

Scotland started brightly when HDM's Kenny Bain had a simple tap-in following a Derek Salmond (Inverleith) effort, to give the home side an early lead. Germany were stung into action and Thilo Stralkowski levelled in the tenth minute.

A long period of intense German pressure then led to a further three goals through Tobias Matania, a second for Stralkowski and Pilt Arnold before Inverleith's Adam McKenzie reduced the lead with a low drag flick just before the break.

Germany continued to enjoy most of the possession in the second half but Scotland stuck to the task with keeper Mark Fulton (Kelburne) producing several good saves. Florian Fuchs added a fifth for the Germans but Scotland continued to battle.

Saturday had seen Scotland play impressively in their opening game against Spain in atrocious first half weather which saw them enjoy a 2-1 lead at the interval, against a side ranked fifth in the world, through goals from former Inverleith striker Chris Grassick, now playing for Surbiton, and Kelburne's Willie Marshall.

The rain abated somewhat in the second period which seemed to suit the visitors and, despite Bain increasing the advantage (3-1), Spain mounted an impressive comeback to stun the home side.

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They carved open the Scottish defence with the kind of speed, pace and stick work which is very much their trademark for a five-goal salvo to which the home side had no answer.

Scotland complete their tough weekend programme today with a game against England who yesterday lost to Spain 3-1. The other match will see the unbeaten Spanish take on Germany.

Meanwhile, former Inverleith star Stephen Dick's ambitions of reaching the final of the prestigious European Hockey League were dashed when his English club Reading slipped to a three goal defeat to Madrid's Club de Campo in torrential rain on Saturday in The Hague.

However Dick did enjoy a little consolation when he scored the first goal in Reading's 3-2 win over Dutch side Oranje Zwart to secure a creditable bronze medal in a game umpired by Scotland's Ged Curran.

In the women's game, a very young and relatively inexperienced Milne Craig Western squad slipped to a 3-2 defeat in the crucial final group game against Austrian side HC Wels in the European Challenge in Bra, Italy yesterday, leaving themselves in a relegation dog fight with French side Ca Montrouge today.

Despite starting well and winning a series of short corners, Western were unable to make the most of these chances and paid the penalty when a defensive error led to the Austrians taking a two-goal lead into the interval.

Nicki Scrastin managed a further goal but it was only to prove a consolation in a game where Western's inability to take opportunities created came back to haunt them once again.

Western had lost the opening game to group winners Ginstra Stretke Universitas from Lithuania (2-1) with Sam Judge on the mark. In the second phase they had to settle for a 3-3 draw with the host club HF Lorenzoni despite holding the lead midway through the second period.