Sunday 12th November

LX Cheetahs  1   Ashford Antiques  1

This annual fixture with the Antiques was again blessed with sunny weather, which enabled the LX Cheetahs to loosen up athletically for some swift running, following the example of 170 young people who had been training at the Ball Lane ground - an encouraging sign for the future of English hockey.

Playing towards the southern sun, LX were soon under pressure, but good saves by Alan Dures kept Ashford at bay. John Longden showed his range of skills by agreeing to play centre half, and had a pivotal role throughout the game. While Rainer Vogt at right back and Robin Mayes at right half kept Ashford’s skilful left wing, Alan Paterson, tightly under control, Gerald Wilkinson in his customary inside right position found space to run nearly the whole length of the pitch and made an excellent pass, which unfortunately was not converted.

At half-time, LX were well satisfied at 0-0 against a strong opposition, and with the higher, brighter sun at their backs, considered that the game was there to be won.  It was therefore against the run of play that Ashford scrambled a goal from the talented Ian Thomas. This was the impetus LX needed. Gilbert Grace stepped up his clever tight marking at left half, Bob Clark on the left wing went close to scoring and Graham George hit the bar. The skills and non-stop running of Peter Ross pressured the opposition defence and the team started to win penalty corners.  

At one of these an excellent strike by David Brampton was saved at the last second by Ashford goalie Dick Austin, assisted by Lionel Barnes’s quick reaction However, from the 14.63 metres (16 yards) hit out John Longden brilliantly intercepted the strike and passed back to Graham George, who with predatory skill, coolly slotted a shot into the Ashford goal. The game ended in a very well-deserved 1-1 draw against worthy opposition.

Thanks go to umpires Wendy Beaney and Ashford’s Nick Crane together with Mike Post and his team who prepared and served an excellent meal. Keith Hedley, who organised this game and the following match, deserved several rounds applause from a full house for arranging a very enjoyable day’s hockey.

Team: Alan Dures, Rainer Vogt, David Read (capt), Robin Mayes, John Longden, Gilbert Grace, Peter Ross, Gerald Wilkinson, David Brampton, Graham George, Bob Clark.

LX Gazelles  4   Canterbury Vets  1

They said, ‘Come to Canterbury, and watch our vets team, for all the speed and skills of the game!’ We said ‘Come to Ashford, and watch the LX, for some of the skills, and not very much speed’. But we were wrong, in large portions!

After a late start, due to some other itinerant side delaying matters in the game before us, LX suffered a surprising blow, when Canterbury creamed home an early goal from their right attack.

Undaunted, we re-grouped, and shortly after, right winger Keith Hunt converted a speedy cross from left inner Mike Surridge, to make it 1-1. Keith scores numerous goals from the vicinity of the right post, hardly any of which seem to travel more than a foot or so to cross the line (but it’s all quality stuff, and they all count).

Shortly after this, a rising ball from our midfield, was collected, shoulder high, by centre forward Graham Martin, who despite facing the wrong way, volleyed a shot, over his own head, and into the top of the goal. Wow! … Disallowed!

However, nearing half-time, Graham compensated by scoring from a slick short corner routine, and we were 2-1 up. Play was crisp and even for a bit. Then a diagonal strike from the right, from David Wright, was fumbled through the melee, and popped over the line by the writer, by the left post - short but magical in its execution!

Two prospective members, Bob Phillips at left half, and Max Hamber at right half, fitted smoothly into the defence, and thus, LX were largely in control of the second half. We must have been playing quite well, because the skipper became uncharacteristically quiet, which was strangely un-nerving!

Only a few minutes from time, and a hard bouncing strike from the skipper, into the circle, was recognised by the writer at left wing, and was poked strongly past Alan Dures’s shoulder, on the volley, for a very satisfying 4-1 finish.

Reporters Note: If you didn’t want to read about all my goals, then you shouldn’t have asked me to file the report.

Team: Nigel Dixon, Rod Cochrane, Phil Realff, Mike Surridge, Graham Martin, Max Hamber, David Wright (capt), Brian Woolcott, Mike Beaney, Keith Hunt, Bob Phillips.