Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter Mark Twain

Alan Auld has played hockey ever since he can remember, so why should he stop just because he is into hisseventh decade? The limbs may not be as responsive as they once were, butthe intent is intact.

"Hockey is all about hand-eye coordination and that's a skill you don't lose," insists the 63-year- old captain of a side who are disregarding perceived perceptions. While most of their pensionable peers have consigned sporting success to their days of youthful vigour, the members of the ScottishVeterans LX Club continue to make memories.

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An eclectic collection of senior citizens, ranging from relative youngsters such as Auld to the veteran veteran George Dunbar - he is still an active participant alongside son Donald though in his 90s - the club is open to anyone who has celebrated his 60th birthday but believes he still has something to offer.

Most of the squad have played at national league level, with some, such as 80-something goalkeeper and president George Black, former Scotland and Great Britain internationalists, but an inclusive atmosphere also welcomes those who have taken to the game later in life.

"It's really an opportunity for old friendships to be rekindled," explains Auld, who represented Glasgow club Whitecraigs before they became Giffnock. "Hockey is quite unique in terms of its sociability and to have the opportunity to be part of the same club and play tournaments with guys we used to cross swords with is wonderful.

"One of my team-mates from way back, when I was playing for Aberdeen schoolboys, is now part of the LX setup. It's a friendship that's been around for a long time and it's very much a game for all ages." It is also a game that makes no concession for seniors. Essentially a touring side who accept invites from home and abroad, the LXplayers - so named after the Roman numeral for 60 - compete for two 35-minute halves like everyone else, with absolutely no modification to the rules whatsoever.

While rugby veterans wear certain coloured shorts and cannot be tackled, their hockey counterparts play just as they did in their physical prime.

"It's just a slightly slower pace," admits Auld. "The 60s is the new 50s and the 50s the new 40s, and that's reflected in society and sportacross the board. In hockey, hand-eye co-ordination is to the fore so, while the pace is not as high, it's all in ratio and is still quite quick for the guys involved."

It is also more taxing on their aging muscles, something some lose sight of amid the adrenalin, biting their thumb at the passing of time in an attempt to force the fragile body to follow the promptings of the fertile mind.

The aches, pains and strains take that little bit longer to get over in the autumn of life, necessitating a sizeable pool of players, particularly when competing in tournaments such as the impending European Cup and the world version next year in South Africa.

With that in mind, the club are offering junior memberships for those over 55 in an attempt to maximise the pool of talent and build on their fifth-place finish in the World Grand Masters in Hong Kong last September.

"Although I'm one of the younger ones, I'm already looking for more youngsters to come in behind me," says Auld, recalling the oppressive conditions and wearying daily schedule. "We're the only veterans club in Scotland but we're looking to expand because we're not convinced we've got all the guys we could actually have playing so that's an ongoing project.

"We can sell to them the combination of the physical benefits through exercise with the friendship and camaraderie, and hopefully make sure we've got a conveyor belt of opportunities for players and that the social aspect is retained as well."

Not that the captain has any intention of retiring, of course. Asahockey development officer with West Dunbartonshire Council, the game has been a constant in his life since he was "born, bred, dragged up and kicked out" in Aberdeen in the 1940s. Resident inGlasgow since the latter part ofhis teenage years, he has spent the last decade involved in the sportfull time, complementing his day job by managing the national under-16 squad.

"I've got an involvement at both ends of the spectrum, I suppose," says Auld, who is soon to step down from the youth position after six years. "The most obvious difference is the speed but the technique remains the same. It's a great experience to watch youngsters come in, learn the game and eventually go on to play for the national side and, hopefully, get as much out of hockey as I have."