1st Grand Masters European Trophy

Braxgata, Belgium 2nd - 5th June 2010

Report of LX Great Grand Masters 'B' Team by David Brampton

Day 1 - 3rd June 2010

LX GGM ‘B’  0  v   LX  GGM ‘A’  0

LX “B” or “Strofton Strollers” as they are more commonly or affectionately known are a band of wondering, wandering minstrels: wondering who will turn up on the day and wandering all over the place, but with purpose one has to add.

This was always going to be a tough encounter – England “A” team on the one side and England “Aspirants” on the other: reputations were on the line. No one was going to lose this match and indeed no one did. It was a well-contested encounter with the first attack coming within the first two minutes after some good hassling by Rod Cochrane and ably supported by Graham Martin – sadly it came to nought. It would be fair to say that the Strollers did not have that many penetrative attacks but two of them bar a whisker could have been decisive. The first came from some good defence hassling by Graham Martin that forced the ball over the by-line – the ensuing long corner was quickly taken by YT (D “JK” B) who found an unmarked Nigel “Exocet” Spencer Knott on the 25; the incoming missile was superbly deflected by Bob “Trickery” Grenside only to be denied by a slight shift in the tectonic plates that caused the goal post to move unfavourably. The second good chance came towards the end of the game and from another missile by the unerring N S-K; this missile penetrated a steely defence and was beautifully intercepted by Graham “Pouncer” George but as luck would have it there was a colossus in the LX”A” goal – not colossus by stature one would have to admit but colossus by his ranking in the all-time greats....Alan “The Rock” Dures. The game was a good example of pure grit and determination and none more ably demonstrated this than Roger Lomas and Nigel Strofton in defence. There were some sterling performances in mid-field from Robin Mayes, Mike “The Ferret” Hardy, Mike Gayle and the missile launcher. Tireless running by Lightning Rod and Tony “Elvis” Jones rounded off a great team effort. The team was ably supported by Lesley “The Manager” Martin who one could comfortably say was busting with enthusiasm. Let’s have more Lady Managers. But the “man of the match” on a unanimous verdict had to go to Eric “Doc” West in goal – inpenetratable!! - superb!!  So the game was a draw and remarkable by virtue of the fact that Rod did not fall over and John Longdon (LX“A”) did. But let us put it in perspective: from a medical stand point LX ”B” came out on top (one slightly blacked eye and a bruised rib sustained by LX “A”), from a possession stand point LX “A” came out on top, from a defensive stand point the honours go to LX “B” but when it comes to team bonding the accolades have to go to LX “A” – they all to a man went to the toilet........on cue and in queue.

Day 2 - 4th June 2010

LX “B” 1 v Netherlands 1

Another close encounter and a brilliant defensive effort by LX “B” kept a technically adept Dutch side down to 1 goal; with a little bit of luck we could have pipped it. The Dutch goal came after 10 minutes of sustained pressure and a number of short corners; on this rarest of rare occasions a defensive error saw a well struck shot find the corner of the goal. But the Dutch did not take into account the bulldog spirit of their opponents and two minutes later the score was 1 – 1. The LX goal was a perfect example of good possession hockey and superb umpiring. Having broken down a Dutch attack (another brilliant save by Eric “Doc “West) Nigel Strofton found Mike Gayle on the left, with the left channel blocked Mike switched play to the missile launcher in the middle. At this point N. S-K passed the ball back to Roger Lomas who found an unmarked Robin Mayes on the right, Robin with his customary unflappable style gave the ball to Rod Cochrane who unerringly found Tony “Elvis” Jones on the right wing. Here a substitution was made and Graham Martin came on for Rod - an inspired substitution by our very attractive Manager (‘is missus) for as he came onto the pitch he picked a deft little pass from Tony and ran at the defence. The defence at this point was totally mesmerised and allowed a simple pass to reach Graham George gleefully hanging around the top of the “D”. Unselfishly GG turned on his haunches and slipped a beautiful pass back to the missile launcher. From here on it could have been scripted. N. S-K drilled the ball into the “D” and running into perfect position was the bane of all opponents – Mike “The Ferret” Hardy; a superb little deflection found the foot of a defender and the ball fell kindly into the path of YT (D “JK” B). YT took the ball first time and slotted it past a despairing Dutch keeper. Superb umpiring? Yes. The umpire was about to blow for a short corner but waited for the advantage. Thanks ump. The remainder of the game saw 60/40 possession to the Dutch but they could not get through our defence – great team effort.


LX “B” 3 v Scotland 0

It was now LX “B” who was on the front foot but there was some stern resistance from the Scots – as you would expect. The first goal came from a self-pass on the right taken by Robin Mayes, he slipped the ball into the path of Tony Jones inside the “D” and Tony shot first time. The shot was well blocked by the keeper but the rebound fell to Graham Martin who unerringly struck the ball into the goal (1 – 0). The second goal that came early in the second half was worthy of the video archives – a magnificent first-time touch from Graham George: there was a good passage of possessive play by LX which culminated in the missile launcher launching one of his exocets into the “D”; there was a sound of rushing wind accompanied by pounding hooves and GG leapt into the path of the exocet and clipped it over a stunned keeper. Amazing! – He will graze on that for a few years to come (2 – 0). The third goal was Rod’s who had run his socks off and got his just desserts – well done Rod!

Day 3 - 5th June 2010 

LX “B”  9 v Alliance 0

An unfortunate Alliance side came under pressure from the outset as a 10 goal victory by LX “B” would secure first place in the competition provided LX “A” drew with The Netherlands; as it happened LX “A” won that hard fought encounter 2 – 1 and thus took the trophy – well done!
Sufficient to say that everyone played their part well and the accolades must go to Tony Jones who scored 5 and bought a jug and then a second jug for jug avoidance of the second hat-trick. Other scorers were Graham Martin with 2, Graham George with 1 and Yours Truly (in case you did not know what YT stood for) with 1.