Sunday 8th November 2009

‘Operatic Star orchestrates excellent results from France

LX Club (Chimps) 1   Ashford Antiques 1

LX Club (Gorillas) 5   Canterbury Senior Vets 0

Keith Hedley, who arranged these two games as usual, decided to take a rest after his starring role as Alfred Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady’, hoping ‘with a little bit of luck’ for LX, and passing the management of the fixtures into the capable hands of Bill Butcher.

In the first game against Ashford Antiques the LX Club team settled down well in a balanced game with wingers Peter and Brian Woolcott getting behind the opposition’s defence to set up good chances, which were saved by the Ashford goalie.  The excellent running of Bob Grenside, supported by the now much more mobile Austyn Leaverland, well recovered from his hip operation and the technically sound and strong hitting of Sudesh Nayar created more chances for Brian Woolcott, and Graham George had an excellent game.

It was against the run of play when a breakaway Ashford attack, via the inside left channel, resulted in a powerful shot being saved by Nigel Dixon in goal, but the rebound was slotted home giving Ashford a 1-0 lead.  Captain Bill Butcher encouraged the defence to mark more tightly and Adrian Money at left back, and Rod Cochrane at sweeper nullified any more serious attacks.  They were outstandingly supported by Gilbert Grace, who gave the Canterbury centre forward no opportunities and was nominated as the man of the match.  Justice was eventually done when Austyn Leaverland skilfully dribbled across the circle and unselfishly laid a pass back to Graham George at the top of the circle, to equalise the score to 1-1 in a game which was enjoyed by all.

Umpires:  Ian Thomas (Ashford HC Chairman) and John Taylor, (Ashford HC)

Team: Nigel Dixon, Rod Cochrane, Bill Butcher (Captain), Gilbert Grace, Adrian Money, Bob Grenside, Sudesh Nayar, Austyn Leaverland, Peter Ross, Graham George, Brian Woolcott.

In the second game against Canterbury Senior Vets the LX Club team combined together as well as in any game witnessed by the Match Reporter this season.  The passing was precise and quick and everybody played at the top of their ability.  Tony Williams on the right wing and John Davey on the left played like youthful 60 year olds, dribbling past defenders, and with the silky skills of Mike Surridge, Mick O’Malley, and Bob Grenside playing even better than in his first game, goals soon flowed for LX.  Mick O’Malley scored twice and Mike Surridge once, to give LX a 3-0 lead at half time.

Defensively nothing was given away, with fullbacks Rainer Vogt and Gurney White intercepting and tackling brilliantly, along with the ubiquitous John Longden, and Robin Mayes overlapping on the right, Canterbury were pinned in their own half.  Mike Surridge tapped in another goal at the right post position from a penalty corner, and a brilliant solo run by Mick O’Malley sealed the game with a 5-0 win to LX.  Mention must be made of Alan Dures, who did get called into action twice when the irrepressible Tony Jones did break through, but Alan coolly kept his goal intact.

Umpires:  Ian Thomas (Ashford HC Chairman), and John Widgery (LX Club)

Team: Alan Dures, David Read (Captain), Rainer Vogt, Gurney White, Robin Mayes, Mike Surridge, John Longden, Tony Williams, Bob Grenside, Mick O’Malley, John Davey.

Many thanks go to all involved in the arrangements, especially Keith Hedley, Bill Butcher, Tony Jones, and the catering team led by Tony Post, who prepared an excellent three course meal.  A vote of thanks was given by Brian Woolcott in response to Geoff Playford, always a stalwart Antiques defender and eloquent speaker.  It was good to see that everybody did their best to ‘get to (the pitch near) the Church on time’.

Match Report: David Read