Sunday 24th October 2010

‘Excellent Victory at the Sixth Encounter’

Result: LX Club 2, West Country Select (WCS) 0 

In absolutely glorious autumn weather the LX Club team gathered in the week of the 50th anniversary of the disastrous Exeter floods, determined that this year their hockey ‘defences’ would not be overwhelmed. 

Adrian Money had once again assembled a strong WCS team, well endowed with members of the LX Club (6no), plus other skilful Masters players from Bristol and thereabouts.

The first half was fairly balanced with both teams playing end to end hockey.  WCS were unlucky not to score, when left winger John Wilkins (Firebrands Embers) hammered a tremendous pass across the goal, met on the volley by Steve Cooke (Old Bristolians), who thundered his shot onto the bar with the LX defence looking on.

However, it was not all one way play, and Graham Martin had excellent shots saved by Paddy Maher (LX & Isca) in goal, who also dived superbly to stop several well struck penalty corners from Sudesh Nayar.  Barry Sewell, in the LX goal, saved a shot with his helmet, and John Longden, a power in defence throughout the game, wanted it to be known that he ‘scored’, (N.B. into the LX goal from a WCS hit outside the circle!).

In the second half LX Club improved their game.  Alan Jackson, with his deft silky tackles, set up the midfielders, Brian Tubb demonstrated yet another position in which to excel, i.e. centre half, with Sudesh Nayar hitting accurate passes to the forwards.

With three wingers available, the Captain was able to switch the forward line, with Brian Woolcott playing an accomplished role on both wings, and Gordon Small and Peter Ross generally outrunning the WCS defence.

It was slightly concerning to see Peter Crayford (LX), playing for WCS, pushing forward from his centre half position, nonchalantly controlling the ball and laying off some excellent passes, but by then the LX forwards were dominant, and Richard Clarke, determined not to be on the losing side this year, drove forward with skill and passion.

The LX team in the second half had six penalty corners, and two of these were converted into goals. Superb top of the circle stops by John Longden enabled Zahid Arain (a potential new younger member from Trojans HC) to score two goals, the second strike leaving the WCS defence motionless.  The final result was a deserved first-time victory in the six years that this fixture has been played.

Team: Barry Sewell (GK), Alan Jackson, John Longden, David G Read (Captain), Brian Tubb, Sudesh Nayar, Peter Ross, Richard Clarke, Graham Martin, Zahid Arain, Gordon Small, Brian Woolcott.

Sincere thanks go to Winston Bower (Isca HC) who masterminded both this game and the LX Club Red team fixture, Adrian Money who always manages to put out a balanced opposition in discussion with the LX Club team captain; the two umpires, Alan Coulter and Bob Whitell; plus of course all our supporters, comprising wives, partners and the LX Club Red team.  Final thanks go to the Isca Hockey Club Masters, and their catering team led by LXer Mike Harris, who produced an excellent meal.

Match Report:  David G Read