LX O60s at Home Nations

Dundee 24th to 26th May 2019

May 24th 2019

LX  60's - 2 - Ireland 'B' - 0

2019 was the first year that an over 60's tournament trophy had been held
alongside the Home Nations competition and the LX 60's team were keen to use
the tournament in preparation for the European Cup in Antwerp, in June.

The squad comprised Andy Cox in goal, Chris Riley, Steve Mumford, Ian Knox,
Steve Foster, Graeme Welch, Nigel Hemming, Bill Davidson, Stuart Perry,
Martin Hall, Mike Verity, John Wiseman, Kevin Coleman and Co-Captains, Mike
Leatt and Robin Conway.  Mike Wingent and Des Osborne were unavailable due
to injury.

From the start of the game, Ireland set out their style of play, reverting
to a half court press, which almost led to them conceding an early goal,
when Kevin and Mike Verity combined to create a half chance.  The game took
on a pattern where LX moved the ball through Graeme in the middle, who
played short simple passes to a hardworking midfield. Stuart was causing the
left defence of  Ireland to panic, with his pace and skill and Mike V also
caused problems with his direct running style. LX forced several short
corners and from one simple switch, John Wiseman started and finished a
smartly taken goal.

In the second quarter, Ireland pushed up to a full press, which put a little
bit of pressure onto the LX defence.  The Irish tactic seemed to be to get a
goal and then hang on for dear life.  The fitness of the LX players began to
tell and the Irish reverted to a half court press. This however did not stop
Mike Verity from doubling the LX lead with a smartly taken finish.

So, 2-0 up at half time and LX changed the formation to put 3 forwards up
and 4 across the midfield.  This system led to long periods of possession
for LX, but they were unable to convert any of the short corners that they
earned.
So, considering this was the first time the side had tried some of the
systems devised by Mike Leatt, LX were happy to take 3 points.

May 25th 2019

LX 60's - 12 Welsh Dragons - 0

The next day LX played the dragons. LX had a full briefing about the systems
they were being asked to play, plus there was a clarity about what was going
to happen at short corners in attack. But from the outset, it was clear that
the Welsh had come to play hockey and they chased and harried and battled
right up until the last minute of the first quarter, when Kevin Coleman
finished off a well worked move. The second half saw the spirited Welsh
start to tire and LX click into gear. Mike Verity finished off a short
corner move, Kevin Coleman did the same 2 minutes later, then Bill Davidson,
who was causing problems for the Welsh with his blistering pace scored the
first of his goals. Just before half time, Stuart Perry got into the act
with a skilful reverse stick finish.  So, 5-0 at half time and LX were
playing good hockey.

The Welsh battled back in the 3rd quarter and the only goal LX were able to
score was another one by Bill Davidson, although LX did miss a stroke when
Martin Hall slipped as he took it.  Sadly for the Welsh, LX got a real grip
in the 4th quarter. John Wiseman starting the action with another good
finish.  Robin Conway dispatched another short corner and Bill Davidson
completed his hat trick with another good finish.  Martin Hall seeking to
make amends for his penalty miss finished off a good team goal and Mike
Verity got into the action with a strong finish. Martin Hall got the final
goal of the day just 2 minutes from time.

So, with 2 games gone and a strong goal difference, LX were in a good
position for their final game against the Scottish Thistles.

May 26th 2019. 

LX 60's - 3 Scottish Thistles - 0

So LX came into this game knowing that a draw or better would give them the
Home Nations championship.  It has to be said that both teams were looking
forward to the fixture as they play each other in the group stage of the
European Cup. LX were still smarting from their defeat against the Thistles
in the semi-final of the World Cup the previous year. Once again LX tried a
new formation in the first half hoping to stop the Thistles inevitable
attacks.  The LX nerves were settled quickly when Graeme Welch struck from a
short corner.  However, the Scots were dangerous and persistent and showed
some good movement up front.  This was a time when the defence had to show
some calmness and resolve. Steve Mumford and Chris Riley were a strength in
the centre, Steve Foster was tireless in midfield and the whole team raised
their game. The umpiring was quite sternly interpreted and this led to a
couple of cards and some short corners.  Andy Cox in goal was rarely tested
as the Thistles could not get their short corner routine working. LX on the
other hand had improved their own short corners and from one the ball broke
to Robin Conway whose second shot was cleverly deflected into the roof of
the net by Bill Davidson with about 30 seconds of the half to go.

2-0 at half time and LX went to a 3 men up front and a 4 man midfield.  This
seemed to squeeze the life out of the Thistles and although they never gave
up and pressed forward at every opportunity, Andy Cox was called into action
seriously on only one occasion.  LX continued to pass the ball around and
holes started to appear as the Scots pushed forward. Mike Verity was at hand
with only 5 minutes to go, to put the result beyond doubt with a strong
finish from close range.

LX60atHomeNations-May2019

LX therefore became the Home Nations Champions with an enviable record.  The victories were definitely a squad result, masterminded by Mike Leatt and LX hope that the momentum carries on towards the European Cup in Antwerp.

Position 1st; Played 3 - Won 3; Drawn 0; Goals for 17- Goals against 0; Points 9

Reporter: Robin Conway


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