LX vs Royal Navy Over 55
at HMS Temeraire, Portsmouth on Sunday 28th September
LX Club 7 Royal Navy Over 55 1
LX had played the Navy at the beginning of their hockey centenary and had been invited back to play a return fixture at the end of the celebrations. To mark the occasion match manager Alan Jackson had produced a commemorative plate which was presented by the senior LXer Tom Darlington to the Chairman of Royal Navy hockey, his son Mark.
After a heavy defeat in the previous match Alan had put together a strong squad with representatives from both the GM and GGM squads in Hong Kong. On a bright sunny morning the Navy were soon on the back foot, having to cope with darting runs from Peter Ross up the right wing and finding it difficult to wrest control in midfield from Brian Perryman, Mike Harris and Imtiaz Mahmood Sheikh. Imtiaz soon opened the scoring with a lethal strike from the left into the top of the net and the forwards continued to combine well. Meanwhile at the other end, John Longden coped as ever with anything threatening, ably supported by Andy Barnes, moving well and looking good despite not having played for some time, and even appearing in the opponents circle on at least one occasion. Wing halves Sudesh Nayar and Brian Tubb added to the control of midfield and and ensured that possession was seldom wasted. More pressure up front led to a tap-in goal from Adrian Stephenson and a second from Imtiaz to give LX a 3-0 lead at half time. The game continued in much the same vein through the second half. Trojans pair Alan Jackson and Gordon Small worked well together up front alongside Imtiaz and both added to the LX tally. As LX relaxed, the Navy managed to get behind the defence and Andy Gregory was on hand to finish things off, much to the disgust of Colin Kimber in goal who was a virtual spectator for the rest of the game. This wake-up call saw LX regain control and Imtiaz coolly converted a well struck cross to re-establish a five-goal lead. The attacks continued and although there might have been more, Gordon Small eventually added a seventh as the final whistle sounded.
A well contested but incident-free game was umpired sympathetically by Tom Darlington and Phil Gibbs, who let the play flow whenever possible adding to the enjoyment of all. After the game the LX team were guests of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth's splendid Wardroom, HMS Nelson, steeped in Naval history and tradition, it was a great privilege to be entertained in such impressive surroundings. Host Alan Walker hoped that the fixture might become a regular one and this was enthusiastically supported by all the LX members present.