LX v  Devon and Cornwall

at Bude on 17 April 2016

This was a cracking tough game played in glorious Cornish spring sunshine against a very strong Devon and Cornwall team and afterwards we tucked into that traditional Cornish fare of chicken curry followed by biscuits and Cornish Yarg in the Carriers Arms.   I’m tempted to say the game was shaped more by people who weren’t there than by those who were.  Simon Fry and Alan Muller had proposed the game some time ago and (I think) at one stage it had been intended as the final practice game for the LX Reds over 65s before the Tournament in Australia.  On the day, Simon was up North somewhere in a final practice for the over 60s and Alan was on his way to Oz.  Consequently it was probably the best organised game I’ve taken part in for some time:  every detail had to be sorted by Simon and Alan beforehand and nothing could be left to chance or sorting out on the day – Simon’s briefing note to all players was exemplary – how many games have you played in where you knew who was who, what was where and all the contact details etc. of everyone (umpires, pitch people, pub)?  To make up for our friends absence the Bude President , Kirsty, came along with some players’ wives to add some glamour to the afternoons entertainment.

On the pitch LX Reds had most of the squad already in Oz or on the way.  Brian Stokes, Colin Kimber, Doug Barnes, Sudesh Nayar, Vince Smith, Lu Piscina and Bill Goodridge and special guest Dave Smith all added style and class.  As we eyed the opposition we begun to realise that Devon and Cornwall paid us a great compliment and had put together a very strong team against us and with a LX squad of only 12 this was going to be a hard match. 

LX Reds started confidently and did all the basics well but it was soon evident that the D&C tactics were to harass and disrupt which eventually unsettled LX.  The first 20 minutes or so saw the pattern of the game develop:  steady build up down both wings with John Tripp and Mike Tucker and through the centre with guest Dave Smith in classic centre forward mode that started well then couldn’t get through a very mobile and well organised D&C defence which then led to a D&C counter attack.  Most of the game was played at this stage in between the two 22s:  LX had a couple of goal scoring chances and failed to convert both our penalty corners but gradually the D&C counters were deeper and wider and were beginning to threatened LX’s goal more often.  LX conceded two penalty corners which D&C converted and then scored another goal in open play:  suddenly we were at half time three down.

A change was needed:  Bill Goodridge came on as an outfield player on the left wing sporting a pair of knee-length shorts I assume he’d borrowed from the hockey museum.  (Unlike England Hockey there was no hire charge!) Mike Harris, playing almost a classical centre-half, was very energetic and surprisingly unmarked dominated the middle but several of us weren’t having our best games and couldn’t support him.  Nigel Dupain moved up to midfield  along  with Vince Smith, LX pushed and pushed at the D&C 22 but still we couldn’t find a way through and rarely got into the D&C D which of course left gaps behind….More counter attacks by D&C with penetrating individual runs down the right wing and through the middle – scrambling defence by Brian, Sudesh, Doug and Mike T and three more goals conceded much to the dismay of Colin Kimber who was often faced with three forwards and no defence.    So it was left to guest Dave Smith, after a pin point pass from Bill G,  to get LX on the score sheet with a well taken quick chance on one of our rare incursions into the D.

Then off to the pub to rehydrate and thank Bude Hockey Club for looking after all the arrangements on behalf of Simon and Alan.  This was the furthest West that LX had played – a hard fought game, lovely weather, Bude looking terrific in the sunshine and warm Devon and Cornwall hospitality.  So I’m up for another next year if LX is invited and I’m selected!

England LX Team
Colin Kimber, Brian Stokes, Nigel Dupain, Mike Harris, David Smith (Guest), Vince Smith, Doug Barnes, Bill Goodridge, Jon Tripp, Sudesh Nayar, Mike Tucker and Lu Piscina.

Two LX players played for Devon and Cornwall. Bob Whittle and John Wiseman.

WESTERLIES COMMENT. As Mike states this was a very well organised fixture with a good pitch, Excellent  Pub and  glorious weather.

Some players took the chance of spending a weekend in Cornwall and  it was suggested next year that two games are played involving some of the older LX Members  enabling  everyone  the chance to explore and enjoy the furthest outposts of the country. There are excellent B and B’s in the area and could make for a very convivial weekend

Report by Mike Tucker