LX v  Norfolk Masters

at Harleston 20th March 2016

Result: Norfolk Masters 0 v LX 2

It was that time of year when an LX team makes its way to the wilds of South Norfolk/North Suffolk to play hockey against the Masters of Norfolk. Hansen soon had the team organised into a familiar 1-3-3-3 formation. From the off the LX team were on the front foot putting pressure on the Norfolk midfield and defence. In fact, as early as the 10th minute the umpire was calling the Norfolk captain [ Dolly] across for a friendly word about a rash of stick tackles from his side. In fact, this was simply a case of our hosts taking time to adjust to the crispness of passing and the speed of movement being exhibited by the confident LX’ers. The game calmed but LX continued to press and it wasn’t too long before they won a short corner. Ballard pushed the ball out firmly to Hansen at the top of the D, who stick stopped and slid a perfect pass back to Ballard on the near post which he converted with aplomb: 1-0.

The Norfolk Masters then put together some dangerous attacks but the LX defence stayed firm. Sweeper Mills directed operations, calmly but firmly marshalling his troops. Hazell, Neeve and Blake performed excellently with some fine tackles and clearances. They were aided in this by the midfield whose movement was good and continually found space to torment the opposition. Having weathered the brief storm, LX started to attack once more and it was not long before Small found space in the D and slotted home past the Norfolk ‘keeper: 2-0.

The team worked industriously for the remainder of the half but without adding to the score.

In the second half, Norfolk tightened up their game and space in midfield was harder to find. This was the point at which Surridge and Gill, playing wide on the wings, came into their own, stretching the play and making teasing runs down the lines. This was a more even half with both sides creating and spurning chances. LX were particularly fortunate later in the half when a rare loose pass (mentioning no names but with initials CB), was presented to a Norfolk forward. Great work by keeper, Ingram-Marriot, forcing the one on one wide allowed time for Neeve to get back in support and the ball was cleared. At this point it should be mentioned that the fine goalkeeping performance from our keeper [who rarely looked troubled and on the occasions where there was danger quickly cleared his line] went a long way towards keeping an LX clean sheet.

As time marched on, despite creating some good opportunities, LX could not add to the score. Even when Gill did manage to hit the back of the net the goal was disallowed, quite correctly, as he had illegally used the chest of Small to deflect the ball in. The final chance of the game fell to Hansen but in trying to place the ball wide of the Norfolk goalkeeper he only succeeded in putting it wide of the goal.

Not one to be outdone, Seymour was rescued by the final whistle when he placed a precision pass straight to the opposition from the side-line to put them on the attack. It is always good for the author to end a game on a high.

And so ended a very entertaining game and it was time to enjoy Norfolk hospitality. The spaghetti and meatballs were excellent - the only slight sting in the tail was the fact that the bar had been drunk dry on the previous evening and so it was bottled or canned beer. But at least there was beer.

The magnificent 12

John Ingram-Marriot, Steven Mills, George Hazell, Chris Blake, Tony Neeve, Norman Ballard, Chris Thornhill, Kim Hansen, Steve Seymour, Mike Surridge, Gordon Small and David Gill