Hockey: Game is real winner after Richard Docherty Cup

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LAURENCE DOCHERTY paid his thanks to the support team who organised the inaugural Richard Docherty Indoor Cup and said: “We’d love to do this again.”

German combine Grossflottbeker THGC won the event by beating Highland Jaguars, who are Scotland’s indoor side, 6-5 in the final despite being 2-0 behind in the early stages.

But the real winner was indoor hockey and Docherty declared: “Our ambition here was to showcase indoor hockey at the highest level and we have done that.”

The Dutch Olympian was hugely impressed with the Engage Sport Centre at Edinburgh’s Napier University. It’s the first time the arena has been used for a major sports event.

It will house next month’s EuroHockey Indoor Championship II featuring local side Inverleith, the reigning Scottish champions. That tournament, from February 17 to 19, will include six other nations and Docherty said: “This tournament will have givenInverleith some idea of what they have to face.”

The competition was in honour of Laurence’s late brother Richard who died in June 2010 aged 27.

A number of the Docherty family watched the two-day event, including his mother Maureen, which took 18 months to organise and Docherty said: “My thanks go to a whole range of volunteer staff. My thanks also go to Graham Stuart who thought of this event at Richard’s funeral.

“It’s been great to do. I’d love to do this again, but there are a whole range of things that have to be in place, like sponsorship.”

Docherty’s next goal is to secure a place in the Dutch Olympic squad for the London Games. That process starts on January 12 when the squad re-forms and thereafter they face seven games, four against Australia and three against Argentina.

The 31-year-old, who plays for Dutch club Kampong, who are based in Utrecht, said: “I played in Beijing and it would be tremendous to play again, particularly as it is in Britain.”

As to the on-court action, Inverleith defeated Docherty’s team, HC RGD, 9-8 to take third place in the event.

Chris Grassick top scored with two goals and Stuart Neave, Inverleith’s coach, gave his whole bench a run during the final.

The Edinburgh side led 4-1 at the break and they kept their noses in front despite some silky skills from the Dutch side.

Inverleith’s best performance came on Saturday when they pushed the eventual tournament winners all the way in a real thriller.

The Scots lost 7-6 despite Beijing Olympian, Stephen Dick, netting five goals and Grassick the other. Ferdi Von Oertzen ended the home side’s bid with a field goal with three minutes left. But Grossflottbeker’s former Great Britain international goalkeeper, Jimi Lewis, was full of praise for Inverleith.

The 37-year-old, who is Scotland’s goalkeeping coach, and saw his protégé, Allan Dick (Highland Jaguars), win the goalkeeper of the tournament award, said: “Inverleith will find a big difference when they play in the European competition. We played things off-the-cuff during this tournament but European sides tend to sit back and defend deep. Inverleith will have to create all the offence but they have some really good guys in the team.”

In the final, Ross McPherson and Gary Cameron put Highland Jaguars 2-0 ahead before the German side clicked into gear. The Jaguars, who travel to the EuroHockey Indoor Championship II in Italy on Wednesday, then lost three unanswered goals but pegged the scoreline back to 3-3 when Chris Wilson netted.

Willie Marshall then put the Scots ahead from a penalty flick before two goals from the German side, including one from Kelburne striker Alan Forsyth, who was guesting. Marshall netted his second to level at 5-5 but the Germans showed their class by scoring the game-winner through Felix Schuess minutes from time.

Results: Inverleith 7, Grove Menzieshill 5; Highland Jaguars 9, Celtic Panthers 1; Grove Menzieshill 0, Grossflottbeker 7; Celtic Panthers 4, HC RGD 6; Grossflottbeker 6, Inverleith 6; HC RGD 10, Highland Jaguars 8.

Semi-finals: Grossflottbeker 15, HC RGD 3; Highland Jaguars 9, Inverleith 3; 5/6 place: Grove Menzieshill 4, Celtic Panthers 6.

Third/fouth play-off: Inverleith 9, HC RGD 8.

Final: Grossflottbeker 6, Highland Jaguars 5.