Welsh Dragons Tournament Sat6th/Sun7th August
This was our first much anticipated reunion match for the 60 Reds after the successful campaign down-under. Alas not all the Australian squad was able to play - with several being on holiday yet again! It was therefore great to welcome brand new LX member Kevin White to his first LX Tournament, along with Steve Seymour, Lakhan Kandola, Graham Jackson and Steve Mumford. It was also excellent to have Mr & Mrs Woody - Graham & Julie, with us after they had missed the Oz trip.
The worst part of the weekend was the trip down - make a mental message for next year to depart Bedford in the morning! Traffic congestion and accidents turned a 3.5 hour trip into 6 hours plus. I should have learnt from last year!
Saturday morning we hit the pitch running - literally for those who saw our warm-up. Our first match was against the Scottish Thistles who very kindly presented the squad with a bottle of LX Famous Grouse. By the time we played the West in our third match we should have broken the seal to give us strength. Instead our skipper who careful tended the bottle during the day, dropped his kit bag after showering resulting in a 40% proof set of kit for Sunday. Even he didn't volunteer to suck the golden nectar of his........ Apologies to the Thistles, but at least those travelling back to the hotel with Stuart had a pleasant aroma in the car.
Our first two results were very much in our favour beating the Thistles 5:0 and then the Dragons Over 65's 3:0. With a total of 100 minutes of hockey under our belts at the half way mark in our third match of the day in under 4 hours, we were 1:0 up against the West with a well taken goal by newcomer Kevin White. Exhaustion and the heat of the day started to take its toll. Where was the whisky when we needed it? In retrospect as we were tiring so fast, we should have gone to a more defensive line-up and battled out the last 20 minutes. A very dubious short corner 5 minutes into the second half resulted in an equaliser followed by the West scoring the winner 10 minutes later. Still not a bad tally of 9 goals for and 2 against in 120 minutes of hockey.As we sat down to the tournament dinner, several of us admitted that we were glowing strongly - not from the beer and wine, but the lack of sun cream - who says that it always rains in Swansea! Mike Leatt and John Housham had only been let out to play on Saturday and so on the Sunday morning we took to the pitch with a smaller squad of 13 players - indeed we almost had more supporters than players. We started against the 60's Dragons with a comfortable 5:0 win before our final match of the tournament against the LX 65 Reds. This turned out to be an excellent match with all the camaraderie and bite of many a competitive Saturday intra-club league match. The result finished honours even at 1:1, but only after some late "defensive work" after the ball had hit the woodwork at the back of the goal which would have resulted in a 60's win. The subsequent debate with the umpire proved that the last muscles to cease working in Masters Hockey are those that power the larynx and hence a draw! In all a great weekend and we very much look forward to our return trip in 2017.
Top right: Julie Wood, Margaret Oakley, Ian "I'll head that ball" Knox, Catherine & Graham Jackson, Lakhan Kandola, Peter Austin, Graham Wood, Skipper Forrest, Steve & Jane Crute. Kneeling: Kevin White, Max Jason, Harry Ramsden, Steve Seymour, Scribe Oakley, Steve Mumford and Julia Forrest.
Missing players: John Housham and Mike Leatt and Missing Supporters: Jas Kandola, Chris Seymour and Geraldine Jason, plus Photographers: Lynne Preston and Katja Jackson.
For the record: Max Jason and Lakhan Kandola 3 goals, Rob Oakley, Steve Seymour & John Housham 2 goals, Kevin White and Graham Jackson 1 goal.
LX 65s attended the Dragons Festival with a squad of 13, including 7 of the team who visited Australia for the World Cup TT in May, reinforced by 6 additional LXers. The squad included 2 GKs, and Mike Harris managed only half of the first game due to previous injury. So very little rest time was allowed and all of the team showed good fitness and resilience in playing 5 games in 2 days (and especially 3 games in hot weather on Saturday).
LX contributed 3 of the 8 teams competing. Domestic rivalry was therefore inevitable and our first game was against the LX club side deceptively named LX70s. Fortunately for them, proof of age was not required. In a close-fought match the 65s took the lead, a good passing movement leading to a cross from Chris Thornhill on the right wing which Mike Tucker converted at the far post. The 70s equalised after half-time following up a penalty corner which was initially saved but not cleared. Final score 1-1.
Our second game was against Welsh Dragons 65s. Despite dominating territory and possession LX65 were unable to break down a packed defence and the result was a disappointing 0-0.
This was immediately followed by a similar game against Welsh dragons 70s, but in the second half we managed a match-winning goal scored by Andy Fraser. He took a well-worked pass from ex-goalkeeper Martin Ferrett, now finding his true vocation in the forward line. Score 1-0. The teams then retired to the Mercure hotel for much-needed dehydration in the traditional manner and an excellent festival dinner.
Our first game on Sunday was against West, who had won all of their games on Saturday but were without two of their younger stars on Sunday. LX65s rose to the occasion and played good hockey throughout. But West scored a breakaway goal against the run of play on the stroke of halftime, and the final score remained 0-1.
Our final game was against LX60s, another daunting prospect. But LX65 were now finding good rhythm and teamwork and played our best hockey of the tournament. LX60 scored first, and Andy Fraser hit an equaliser from close range for the 65s before half-time. The second half was goalless, although the 60s were awarded a goal which was then disallowed after the umpires conferred, and the 1-1 final score was a fair result.
Thanks are due once more to our manager Jill Dupain, especially for umpiring a number of the festival games.
Congratulations and thanks to Welsh Dragons and their Tournament Organiser Jeff Robinson for producing an excellent weekend which was enjoyed by all, both on and off the pitch.
LX 65 Squad: Martin Ferrett, Cliff Peck, Mike Harris (Capt), Brian Stokes, Vince Smith, Nigel Dupain, Chris Perry, John Stone, John Smith, Geoff Furneaux, Chris Thornhill, Andy Fraser, Mike Tucker.
Once again the Welsh Dragons staged a very enjoyable festival over the weekend of 6/7 August. The LX Club entered three teams: 60 Red, 65 Red and Club Team, which was made up from the rest of the Club. The organisers chose to call us “LX 70”, although they had been informed that our age range stretched from 60 to 72. Other teams participating were Dragons 60, Dragons 65, Dragons 70, Scottish Thistles and West 60.
Club Team results: D 1-1 with LX 65, W 3-0 against Dragons 70, W 1-0 against Thistles,
W 1-0 against Dragons 65, W 3-0 against Dragons 60. Awarded Fair Play Trophy by the Tournament Umpires!
The usual festival dinner at the Swansea Mercure was enjoyed by all. Well done Jeff Robinson and his co-organisers!
Team: Mo Umney (GK), Graham Small, Chris Blake, Peter Denley, Nigel Guppy, Nick Kennerley, Alastair Robertson, Martin Hall, Parmjit Bolina, Tim Brothers, Richard Yardley, Bob McCombe, Sudesh Nayar