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Sport is, from its conception, competitive. It is normal for teams and clubs to develop a sense of combativeness, either jovial or otherwise, between each other. Hockey is no different to any other code, game, or activity that is out there. There are the rivalries that are based upon geography, resentment, jealousy, or bad blood from coming up against each other in the same tournaments. However, unlike other sports such as football, rugby and cricket, hockey fans are broadly unaware of what has been going on, unless they have been directly involved. So, let’s have a look at some of the rivalries that developed within the sport of hockey…


The Torneo Metropolitano de Hockey is the preeminent hockey tournament in the Buenos Aires Province of Argentina. Buenos Aires is the dominant hockey playing region of the leading hockey country in the Pan American region. So, it could be said that this is an important domestic hockey competition. Out of this has sprung a rivalry based upon not only a desire for dominance, but also locality, between Ciudad and GEBA.

Club Ciudad de Buenos Aires are a sports and social club, based in the Núñez district of the Argentine capital city. Originally founded in 1920, they put on a variety of different sports including basketball, football and rugby. However, hockey is the largest sport at the club and they have found a broad amount of success between their men’s and women’s teams, who both play in the Primera División of the Metropolitano. The men have won the league on 15 occasions, the joint second amount of times in the tournaments history, with the women winning five titles. 

Gimnasia y Esgrima de Buenos Aires, more commonly known as GEBA, are another multi sports club based in Buenos Aires. Set up in 1880, they are one of the oldest sports clubs in Argentina, who put on around 30 different activities on any given season. They are well known, like their cross city rivals Ciudad, for basketball, football and rugby, but have also had a lot of success in hockey, with some famous players having turned out for them. Former Argentinian men’s team player Patricio Cammareri has played for them in the past, however, it is the amount of top female players that have worn the shirt that is notable. Silvina D’Elia, and Florencia Habif have both played for GEBA and found success with Las Leonas. One player in particular stands out more than any other in Argentine hockey. Two time World Champion and four time Olympic Medalist, Luciana Aymar (the Maradona of field hockey) turned out for the club between 2008 and 2011. GEBA have won the women’s Metropolitano title nine times. 

The Ciudad versus GEBA match is not only a local derby, but one of ambition. Elite clubs always want to win titles and there is a tendency to dislike anybody who gets in their way. This can only be heightened by the clubs being so close to each other, within Buenos Aires. As they are also both multi-sports clubs, there may well be added rivalries that derive from their match ups elsewhere. 



Hockey in Scotland has, at various times, been dominated by the teams in the two largest cities in the country. Edinburgh, next to the First of Forth in the East, is the political and economic capital, with an approximate population of 550,000. The Scottish Parliament is based here, as is the former seat of power for the Scottish monarchy, Holyrood Palace. The 1970 and 1986 Commonwealth Games were held in the city, with several sports venues still remaining around town. Edinburgh has a strong literary history, with Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde based upon the life of the rather naughty Edinburgher, Deacon William Brodie. Other writers hail from the town; J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter novel in a cafe here and Irvine Welsh wrote Trainspotting, as well as other novels, based around the Leith area. Additionally, film star Sean Connery was a local lad.

Glasgow, on the West Coast, has a population of around 1.6 million people. It has benefited largely from industrial development, specifically around the shipyards. It also has a thriving music and arts scene. Bands such as Simple Minds, Del Amitri, Texas and Franz Ferdinand are all Glaswegian. Other well known sons include actors Peter Capaldi and James McAvoy and musician Stevie Young, who’s the guitarist for AC/DC. Comedian Billy Connelly in fact worked as a welder in the Glaswegian shipyards. Football manager Sir Alex Ferguson is also from the city, having played for Rangers in the 1960’s. 

Derek Salmond celebrates scoring the winning goal in the men’s Scottish indoor final. Photo credit, Duncan Gray.

Most of the big Scottish hockey clubs come from these two cities. In the women’s game, Edinburgh University have had a lot of recent success, in both the league and the cup competitions. However, more recently Watsonians have become a bit stronger, having won the 2021/22 league title. Being that they are both based in the same town, we have local pride, as well as competitive rivalry, at stake here. Staying in Edinburgh there are are a variety of more clubs here. Inverleith have over a 100 year history and currently have both men and women in the Scottish Premiership and a very good indoor side. The Grange is one of the biggest hockey clubs in the country for men and women. They often compete at the highest level regularly qualifying for the European Hockey League. Over the years they have rutted against West Coast clubs Kelburne and Western Wildcats. These are the two biggest clubs to have come out of Glasgow and in recent years have gone head to head with their East Coast rivals for league and cup titles. Former Scottish Ladies captain Kareena ‘Kaz’ Cuthbert recently coached Western Wildcats Ladies to the Scottish league title. You can listen to her on the Half Court Press Podcast, here

Kareena ‘Kaz’ Cuthbert (née Marshall) playing for Scotland. Photo credit Duncan Gray.

Outside of the Central Belt (the strip of Scotland between Edinburgh and Glasgow), we have the two biggest clubs from the region of Tayside. Grove Menzieshill and Dundee Wanderers both have proud histories. Grove Menzieshill have represented Scotland in European competitions a dozen times in the past decade. In 2016 they received the honour of European Club of the Year, from the European Hockey Federation. Dundee Wanderers take their name from the town that both sides are based in. They have a variety of outdoor national titles across their men’s and women’s teams. However, they are well known for their success within the indoor code of hockey. They won the women’s Scottish Indoor title in 2009 and took the Men’s Cup in 1998. The men’s team also took home the Indoor European B Division in 1991. Wanderers have produced several top international players. In the current women’s GB and Scotland squads Charlotte Watson has only recently left Scotland to take up her contract as a part of the centralised programme. Former Scotland Ladies captain Becky Bruce (née Ward), hails from Tayside and came through at Wanderers. She has been on the Half Court Press Podcast, you can listen to her interview here

Becky Bruce (née Ward) of Dundee Wanderers. Photo credit; Duncan Gray.

Similarly, the Stott brothers started out at Dundee Wanderers. Niall Stott went on to play for Great Britain at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Ross Stott should be well known to fans of the Half Court Press Podcast, by now, having appeared on the show several times. Ross has also had a successful career, winning titles across Britain, playing for both Grove Menzieshill and Dundee Wanderers. He was a part of the Scotland squad at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games. As somebody who has crossed the Tayside divide, he had this to say about the fixture,

“The Dundee derby was always a physical game, a lot of chat, off the ball incidents. Tackles were 100%. The hockey wasn’t always that good but I think with my generation the rivalry kind of died down a bit as we all played age groups with each other and where friends, for instance Gav Byers is one of my good mates. In the 1990s and early 2000s probs when it was at its highest, especially indoor. Having played on both sides I would say that it was Wanderers that held the rivalry more, I got some chat from the fans and players when played against them for Menziehill. Not sure what it’s like these days but hockey needs these rivalries in my opinion.”

(Ross Stott, December 2022)

Ross (left) & Niall (right); the Stott Brothers of Scotland. Photo courtesy of Ross Stott.

Scotland (blue) vs. Wales (red), EuroHockey Championships qualifying event. Photo credit; Duncan Gray.


There are many international derbies around the world. Any match between the British Home Nations of England, Wales and Scotland is always seen as a bit of a ding dong affair. Additionally, with Ireland just next door, there is a local rivalry there as well. The first ever international hockey fixture was between Ireland and Wales (men) in Rhyl in 1895, with the Irish running out winners with three goals to nil. England’s men played their first ever game in the same year, against the Emerald Isle, at Richmond, which the Anglo-Saxons won five nil. It wasn’t until a year later, in 1896, before the first ever women’s international was played. Again this was between England and Ireland, but this time in Dublin with the home side winning two nil. 

2022 Women’s World Cup England: Elena Rayer and Lily Owsley honoured for playing 50 and 100 caps. WORLDSPORTPICS COPYRIGHT FRANK UIJLENBROEK

This rivalry has continued over the preceding years. More recently, a particular match stands out between England and Ireland. It happened at the 2015 EuroHockey Championships, held in London. Hockey Ireland governs hockey across both Northern Ireland and the Republic to the South. In the 2000’s a few players from around the Belfast area decided that they no longer wanted to play for Ireland, but for Great Britain instead. This meant that they had to choose one of the three aforementioned home nations and selected to play for England. The Bronze Medal Match of the EuroHockey Championships saw Ireland in fact beat England on their home pitch. It was made all the more notable as Mark Gleghorne (one of the players who moved across) lost the match to his younger brother Paul, who had elected to stay with his national team of birth. 

2022 Women’s World Cup Irish team during their national anthem WORLDSPORTPICS COPYRIGHT FRANK UIJLENBROEK

The Netherlands and Germany is considered a classical international matchup. The two countries share a border and the Dutch were occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. The rivalry also crosses over into other sports, such as football. However, these two nations are also two very strong hockey playing nations in both the indoor and outdoor codes, and have had much success over the years. Unfortunately, these two teams have only met twice on the Olympic Games Finals, once in the men’s tournament and once in the women’s. The Germans came out on top on both occasions. In London 2012 the German men’s team (Honamas) beat the Dutch by one goal to nil. Die Danas struck gold in Athens 2004, beating the Netherlands two one. The Dutch have faired much better in the Women’s World Cup, winning nine times, two of those occasions they did so by beating West Germany in the Gold Medal Match. 

The Netherlands won the 2022 World Cup. Picture: WORLDSPORTPICS COPYRIGHT FRANK UIJLENBROEK

Similarly, India and Pakistan have a national sporting rivalry that has lasted for many years. It stems from the partitioning of Pakistan from India in 1947. India won the men’s Olympic hockey tournament for six tournaments in a row. The record breaking run of titles was only stopped by their northern neighbours in Rome, 1960. In fact this fixture was the Olympic Men’s Hockey Final for three Olympic Games in a row; Melbourne 1956, India 1-0 Pakistan; Rome 1960 Pakistan 1-0 India; Tokyo 1964, India 1-0 Pakistan. 


In terms of continental success, Pakistan come out on top, statistically speaking. The men’s team have won the Asian Games a record eight times, more than any side from the men’s or women’s games. Starting in 1958, there has been 16 hockey tournaments at this multi-sports event. Only twice have India, or Pakistan not featured in the Grande Finale, the first time of which wasn’t until 2006, which was contested between South Korea and China (Pakistan came third). Nine of the Finals have been between the two rivals. Seven of Pakistans eight gold medals have come by beating India into second place, whilst India have only win the competition three times, beating their neighbours on two occasions in 1966 and 2014. 

The Pakistani’s have won the Men’s World Cup four times, since its inception in 1971, more times than anybody else. Compared to India’s one world title, they have the upper hand in this respect. However, the solitary time that India have won the World Cup was also the only time that we have seen the two teams compete in the final game of the competition. India won this match by two goals to one. Unfortunately, this rivalry at the elite level has only been borne out at in the men’s game, as the Pakistani women haven’t been able to compete at the same level as the Indians. These days it’s generally considered that India have the stronger hockey programmes, as their respective teams are consistently competing at a higher standard. 


In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s an unlikely rivalry emerged between Asian stalwarts Malaysia and Canada, a North American side better known for the sort of hockey played on ice. It started at a 1996 Olympic Games qualifying event in Barcelona. In the final game of the round robin group matches, India (who had already secured their place at the tournament) faced Malaysia. If the Indians won it, then the Canadians would qualify for the Olympic Games. However, the game ended in a draw. Surprisingly for two traditionally attacking teams, both sides only racked up one shot a piece and Malaysia went through instead. The Canadians were outraged. Sensing some sort of collaboration, they made allegations along those lines. However, nothing was proved, but the incident sparked years of animosity. 

In recent times, The Belgian and Australian men’s teams have been fighting for the top spot in world hockey over the last few years. They have both alternatively been ranked number one in the FIH World Rankings at one point or another in the last few years, with both making the Grande Finale of the Tokyo 2020/1 Olympic hockey tournament. Belgium came out on top of this fixture, but only after a penalty shootout. The competition for dominance will continue as we head towards the Men’s World Cup this winter. We look forward to seeing how the future generations of hockey players, coaches and teams will add to the story of the sport.