at Slazengers HC, Wakefield in the Rhubarb Triangle (Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell, West Yorkshire)

on  Thursday 5th March 2015

          LX Red (Stephen Crute’s –Cuties)  0      LX White (David Durrans’ Delights) 4

 The two sides of 13 appeared to be equally matched on paper, despite Stephen Crute being hors de combat (ligament damage) but following Dave Durrans’ pre match briefing LX Whites set off an a great pace showing excellent driving enthusiasm in the Red half of the pitch within the first quarter of an hour.  Tony Neeve for the Whites consistently stepped in to pick off Red attacks and pass the ball forward to Jeff Jackson and Paul Dallas in the mid field and forward line. Peter Danson ever available on the left wing, ready to ensure Whites retained the ball.  In one of these attacking phases a short corner resulted from which the ball was passed to the left for Sarbjit Dehl to strike home. 

Reds contained the Whites for the rest of the first half in a close and competitive game.  Whites attacking round the flanks while Reds tried the direct route through David Thompson in a traditional centre forward role, but he was a striker whose support was not close enough. John Stone started in a mid field role and was everywhere, even squashing his goal keeper Martin Ferrett once; Martin recovered and the game carried on.  John Stone couldn’t manage to dribble through; he made some fast release pushes but these just eluded his forwards or were collected by David Ewing, supported by John Donnolly and Nigel Spencer-Knott as occasion demanded.  On one early foray towards the Red goal Whites were caught out when their defence had moved up creating unnecessary pressure and leaving Whites John Housham and David Thompson unmarked, the ball had been sent towards the middle by Brian Woolcott on their right wing.  Fortunately Reds keeper, Roger Parr alert to the danger reached the edge of his circle and struck the ball clear.

In the second half Reds had three short corners which were well defended, Tony Neeve speeding first from the Red line forcing Reds into error and giving the second runner out, Nigel Spencer-Knott sufficient chance to clear the loose ball.  For the middle period of the second half Whites had several short corners, scoring when a defender swept the ball away from the line to Nick Kennerly who, from an Inside Right position took aim and struck the ball neatly into the far corner.  On another attack the ball was passed between four players close to the Red D until Sarbjit Dehl slotted the ball past Martin Ferrett. Bill Pickersgill picked off the next goal by being quickest to react to a loose ball in the D.  Bill had an excellent game frequently linking with Geoff Birkett and helping control the play for the Whites. 

The Reds had to rely on the energy of Ted Hayes and John Ridings in their mid field, supported by Mike Patten to keep the ball away from Paul Dallas and Jeff Jackson.  In one attack a shot at goal was deflected high towards the net when John Fleming brilliantly saved it and the ball flew over the top.  Unfortunately the Umpires had spotted the Maradona hand and a penalty flick was awarded.  Dave Durrans generously flicked the ball an inch wide.  John Fleming for Reds at left back tended to play the certain and safe ball to his mid field, he used Andy Holden to his left and Richard Danson on the right but if the ball reached the forward line, progress was snuffed out by Geoff Birkett and the White mid field.  David Margerson was ever available usually on the Red left wing but received very little opportunity. Phil Hubert had a steady game but he too was pressured by the attacking drive of the Reds.

For his increasingly influential play in midfield Paul Dallas was nominated as Man of the Match by the Umpires Barbara Hanwell and Steve Wood.  We must thank them for so ably controlling the game and allowing the flow of play.

Thanks to Geoff Birkett for arranging this fixture at the Slazenger Sports Ground.  His splendid welcome praised the steadfast support of the Ladies who were each given a pretty bunch of Rhubarb, this area being known as the Rhubarb Triangle since 1800.  Rhubarb is a native of Siberia and thrives in the wet cold winters of Yorkshire. West Yorkshire once produced 90% of the world's winter forced rhubarb from the forcing sheds that were common across the fields there. Now we didn’t know that before.

One bunch of Rhubarb was left and that was awarded to Paul Dallas as Man of the Match.

Nigel Spencer-Knott


Durrans' Delights (White)                                     Crutes' Cuties (Red)

        Roger Parr                                                                                  Martin Ferrett
David Ewing                                                                                 Andy Holden
John Donnolly                                                                                Mike Patten
Peter Danson                                                                               John Ridings
Tony Neeve                                                                                 John Fleming
Nigel Spencer Knott                                                                           Ted Hayes
Paul Dallas                                                                                    Phil Hubert
Nick Kennerley                                                                                  John Stone
Geoff Birkett                                                                                Richard Danson
Dave Durrans                                                                              John Housham
Sarbjit Dehl                                                                                  Brian Woolcott
Bill Pickersgill                                                                              David Thompson
Jeff Jackson                                                                              David Margerison

           Umpires                         Barbara Hanwell and Steve Wood

A Bit about Slazengers:-

Slazenger Hockey club is very much a family orientated club, with 5 men’s teams, 4 ladies teams, and over 100 juniors, boys and girls, aged between 6 and 16. The club plays at Slazenger Sports and Social Club where Bowls, Football, Archery and Tennis can also be enjoyed. Slazenger Sports and Social Club’s grounds are held in a trust which requires that they be used for the benefit of sport in perpetuity, giving Horbury and the surrounding areas a valuable and unique resource.

The Sports Club was founded in the late 1940’s. After World War 2 when Albion Mills in Horbury Bridge became the main Slazenger Sports’ factory, the workers’ sport and social club realised they needed a facility to cater for the workforce. It was in 1948 when land, which was previously the site of Horbury Fever Isolation Hospital, was purchased from Horbury Council. In 1950, the site was officially opened by Mrs R. Slazenger, complete with clubhouse, cricket pavilion, red shale tennis courts and grass pitches for football, cricket, hockey and crown green bowls. An indication of the prominence of the Slazenger brand at that time was the grand opening of the tennis courts. The first match played on them was an exhibition match between Fred Perry and Dan Maskell!

 Welcome and Please enjoy your Days Hockey at Slazengers

 Geoff Birkett