LX 60 Reds v Welsh Over 60's
Sunday 21st Feb 2016
(left to right, back row: Graham Wood, Steve Crute, Stuart Forrest, Dave Sheridan, Paramjit Hayre, Ian Knox. Front row: Graham Ramsden, Jon Marshall, Rob Oakley, Jeff Jackson, Max Jason, Gavin Stokes, Mike Leatt and a prostrate Peter Austin)
The weekend started well late on the Saturday afternoon with an opening training match against a Gloucestershire Over 60s squad kindly arranged by Nick Grimshaw with the assistance of Brian Stokes on an excellent pitch at Newent HC. We found ourselves playing against several familiar faces including Dave Webb who played with the Reds at Southgate last August. The match resulted in a 5:0 win to LX, but the main aim of the match was to start to familiarise ourselves with our different playing techniques as we had 7 new faces in the squad from last August.
18 hours later we were back on the pitch against the Welsh Over 60s at Monmouth School and you can probably tell from the smiles on our faces in the photo above that this was taken before the match started. The school pitch was a little less forgiving than the Newent pitch, but that is only the first excuse! The match was a chance to trial different playing positions - several of which it was later confirmed were not to be repeated!
LX started strongly and a diving shot on goal by Dave Sheridan 10 minutes into the match may have proved to be a costly and over enthusiastic error as his knee is still to fully recover several weeks later. The match then settled into a pretty even ineffectual affair broken by the Welsh scoring shortly before half-time when everyone stopped playing with an air of expectation, greeted only by a deathly silence. The Welsh reactivated first and slipped the ball into the net. Another old lesson re-learnt - play to the whistle!Second half recommenced with most of the match being played out between the 22 meter lines. The Welsh eventually broke the second half stalemate with another goal when a forward broke through and shot, Peter dived to his left expecting a bullet. instead as he bounced up from his dive, a bobbling shot trickled beneath his body and barely met the backboard. There the result stood at a rather disappointing 2:0 defeat. However a pint or two later at the Royal Oak and we were all back on form.
LX 65 v Wales 65
at Monmouth School on 21st February 2016
The LX 65s team for Australia were eventually brought together just over the border in Cymru. The side, travelling from North, South, East & West, but predominately from west, were to play the full Welsh national side on home “turf”
The LX 60s red side had just been comprehensively beaten 0-3 by the Welsh 60 side.
LX 65 looked strong from the start with Brian Hiscock & John Tripp up front running rings around the Welsh until, after around 10 minutes, LX went deservedly ahead from a good move followed by a powerful shot from George Howard.
Close to the end of the first quarter, against the run of play, a harsh corner was awarded against LX which ended in a foot on the line & a penalty flick.
The welsh striker lined up & fired a low, hard flick to Cliff Peck’s right, a flick that would even have had Martin Ferrett (with 2 Ts & Euro gold winning captain of the white 60s side) struggling, but Cliff dived full length & deflected the shot with his stick & LX were still in front. The save was critical.
For the rest of the match, LX moved more & more into Welsh territory & despite several corners & chances being squandered including hitting the woodwork, it was just a matter of time before LX would go further ahead.
In the last quarter, LX were fully in control moving ball from left to right, around the back, then breaking to force several chances. The full width of the pitch was used to good effect, with Nigel Dupain and Mike Tucker controlling the left flank and Mike Patton prominent on the right.
Chris Thornhill was able to overlap from right back on numerous occasions, as the welsh were forced further back, until eventually Andy Fraser was left in front of an open goal & calmly converted the second & decisive goal.
The whole team performed solidly & professionally , but noticeably Mark Watson & Phil Hutley were very solid at the back, Mike Harris & John Smith in the middle & Brian Hiscock caused many problems for the welsh defence up front.
Report by Chris Thornhill