20th September, Portsmouth.

Result:   Royal Navy 2 – LX 0

This popular fixture attracted interest from twenty five members. From past experience, I knew that the Royal Navy would have a very young, very fit side and that this needed to be the key factor in guiding my selection of the LX squad.

Prior to the game the Navy Match Manager informed me that he had noted the success of LX teams at the European Championships and that, for the first time ever, in order to provide some stiff opposition, he had recruited two Royal Airforce players. He also asked for permission to play a young lady and suggested that we play quarters, rather than halves. In the true spirit of LX I agreed to both requests.

As anticipated, the Navy started very strongly. They were quick to close LX down and, when in possession, moved the ball with pace. The LX midfield trio of Lucas, Slator and Leaverland worked hard to contain the Navy midfield and, in the first quarter, the number of clear scoring opportunities for the Navy were minimal. The best chance of this period fell to LX with Imtiaz Sheikh shooting narrowly wide.

As the game settled down the LX back four of Arain, Guppy, Stone and Stokes came under increasing pressure.Eric Best in goal reacted quickly on several occasions to thwart Navy scoring opportunities. The breakthrough came, however, at a penalty corner in the second quarter when a Tony Hayes strike was deflected into the net to put the Navy one up.

In the second half, Ross and Tripp replaced Wood and Bolina in attack. The Navy introduced their lady player, Nathalie Boyd, who proved to be both quick and skilful.At the end of a breakaway attack in the third quarter it was Ms. Boyd who scored the second Navy goal with a shot from the edge of the circle that looped over Best into the top left corner.

LX played their best hockey in the final quarter, creating several chances in open play and at penalty corners. None were converted, however, and the game ended in a 2-0 win for the Navy.

I would like to express my gratitude to John Longdon, who, having withdrawn from the squad following  injury, did a sterling job in helping me manage the substitutions. Thanks also to a significant number  of wives/partners who came to support. I am also pleased to report that Alan and Wendy Jackson came to the game and post match refreshments.

Following the game, LX joined with the Navy in a brief ceremony to mark the end of Alan Walker’s decades long service to Royal Navy hockey.

Match Manager. Geoff. Lucas.