15TH February 2009

Result 2-2


This sixth annual fixture did not enjoy the best of Suffolk weather as in previous years, but despite this, both teams were keen to get on the pitch and gain a superior advantage in terms of results to date.

Alan Dures (LX Club Match Manager) had assembled a stronger Bury team than in previous years, and for the early part of the game LX Club were kept very much on the defensive with the strengthened opposition.  Norman Ballard with his superb fitness, and John Grinham always skilful, provided excellent support for the Bury forwards. It was no surprise when Tony Cook crossed from the right wing position and John Hendy, who had moved into the centre forward position from the left wing, scored the first Bury goal.

The LX Club midfield of Richard Clarke, Nigel Spencer-Knott, Mike Surridge and Mike O’Malley then got to grips with the quick Bury forwards, and were able to better support the LX forwards.  In the last minute of the first half, LX Club was awarded a penalty corner.  Peter Ross pushed out accurately to Nigel Spencer-Knott, who dummied, and then switched his pass left to Brian Woolcott (LX Club left wing) who despatched a superbly hit shot past the Bury goalkeeper to level the score at half time to 1-1.

After the change-over, the second half followed the pattern of the first session.  Despite further Bury pressure, Mike Surridge made a very skilful attempt to lob Alan Dures, but stalwart Bury defender Chris Blake directly in front of goal, deflected the ball over the bar.  George Hazell for Bury then had powerful strikes at goal from penalty corners, but the shots went over bar height.  Nigel Dixon in goal for LX, had one of his best ever games for the Club, always vocally encouraging his defence, and was at no fault with any of the opposition’s goals.

Eventually the Bury pressure brought its reward, a cross from the right wing found the unmarked Gary Goodchild (another wing player) in open space, who exquisitely struck an unstoppable shot past the LX goalkeeper, but the LX Club team was determined not to accept a defeat.  Richard Clarke at right half certainly demonstrated that he was not going to be on a losing side, and with Peter Ross and Graham Martin receiving his accurate passes, the Bury defence was under continual pressure. Mike Surridge, who gave persistent support to the forwards, eventually smashed a hit into the Bury circle, and following a series of deflections, Adrian Stephenson deftly picked up the loose ball and equalised the game at 2-2.

The ubiquitous John Longden at left back was at his usual best, always tackling resolutely, particularly when Bury hit the posts four times, with Norman Ballard being unable to believe the unusual trajectories of the ball off the posts.

Terry Howlett came on for the final 20 minutes, reinforcing the defence and ensuring the final result of 2-2, highlighting a superb LX Club team performance.

Many thanks go to Alan Dures for organising and managing this fixture, and to the two umpires, Mary and Alan Baker (Suffolk County Umpires Association).

The Bury St. Edmunds Club, as always, came up to their usual top quality hospitality. Kate and Rebecca Cooke excelled with the sit-down meal and Rowland Beaney (on the pitch Bury Captain) made an eloquent and witty speech, thanking the LX Club for their contribution in probably making this game the best one between the two Clubs. Results to date are now two wins to both teams, and two draws.

Team: Nigel Dixon, David Read (Captain), John Longden, Richard Clarke, Nigel Spencer-Knott, Mike Surridge, Mike O’Malley, Terry Howlett, Peter Ross, Graham Martin, Adrian Stephenson, Brian Woolcott.

Match Report: David Read