LX v Members XI
at Slough on 27th May 2007
Sir John Betjeman would not have made the LX team for this game, having some rather harsh words to say about Slough.
The match itself proved a stern test in the run-up to the European Cup with the Members Club playing this as their only home match at Slough.Mike Gallant had organised a strong Members team captained by the impressive Suti Khehar with a sprinkling of LXers including the calming influence of David Wright in defence set alongside the more forthright approach of Hugo Rowbotham and in attack the robust menace of Martin Kavanagh. Both teams played attractive hockey from the start, with the Members adapting quicker to a pitch soaked by heavy and persistent rain which mercifully relented for the game itself. John French made a welcome appearance for most of the first half before being replaced by the predatory Mike Surridge. Captain Ken Willcox showed he was back to fitness controlling the mid-field with authority and doing a good job containing the ever present threat of Suti Khehar. The Prime Minister (Neil Major) had his usual industrious game and the defence played well as a unit with Alan Dures displaying good positional sense and well directed clearances. Peter Crayford was the stand out at the back coping calmly with the fiery Kavanagh. However, one shot was enough for the Members team to reach half-time a goal up.
The half time talk seemed to galvanise LX with Norman Ballard linking well in midfield with the attack. Stephen Stowell equalised after good work by Peter Sharpe and Mike Surridge who came close to scoring shortly after. One or two clear cut chances went begging for LX and the Member's keeper pulled off some good saves. The Member's team then took the lead again with a fierce strike but shortly after LX deservedly equalised with a rasping shot by Peter Sharpe from a well worked short corner.
LX continued to play some good possession hockey and might have won this hard fought game played in a competitive but good spirit. In the end, 2-2 was perhaps a fair result.
Afterwards LX and their supporters enjoyed excellent food and hospitality from the Members. It was also good to see Brian Perryman at lunch and hopefully he will be fit for next season. The President of the Members Club and Ben Rae of England Hockey in welcoming speeches emphasised the increasing commitment to veterans hockey and the camaraderie evident from those playing the game - looking round the room it was easy to see why.
REPORT BY : Stephen Stowell
Result: LX 2 Members 2