LX v Royal Navy Vets
held on 15th September 2019 at Portsmouth.
Result : Royal Navy Vets 1 England LX 1
Under a clear blue sky and temperatures exceeding 25C, England LX were hosted by the Royal Navy at HMS Teneraire, Portsmouth, to play on their spanking new water-based pitch on only its second outing. The Army & RAF umpires happily agreed to play 17 & 1/2 minute quarters to allow rehydration. A very even, competitive game ensued with LX particularly strong in the centre, with man of the match Rajinder Bharij showing some lovely control and passing from the base of the midfield diamond, ably supported by attacking runs from Sarosh, Rich Slator and Kevin White making a few half chances for the forwards. Rotations of the LX 13 seemed relatively seamless and whichever 11 were on, the effort and controlled hockey was consistent. The overall younger Navy side put in some strong attacking bursts, but the defence was ably marshalled by Webby in goal and Nigel Guppy at sweeper.
After the half time break at 0-0, LX put in some strong attacking play and were nearly rewarded after sprints by Peter Cowen to reach through balls from both the centre and the wings. Unfortunately the Navy Keeper was up to the challenge sprinting out to deny Peter possession around the top of the D and managing to clear the ball on each occasion. Then a strong attacking move by most of the LX team resulted in a clear chance, but the Navy keeper/defence somehow cleared the ball to their right and the rapid counter attack found the younger Navy side able to get players through rapidly. Moving in along the back line, the final pass gave a tap- in at the post, to give the Navy the lead. LX responded immediately and put Sarosh away down the RHS of the D. Taking the ball to the back line he hit a powerful cross straight to Cowen, who controlled it and scored with one move.
Unfortunately at the end of the 3rd quarter we found that Peter Cowen had a pulled hamstring and Kevin White was also in some trouble with thigh muscles, so that simplified the need for any further rotations! LX started the final quarter strongly, but soon found themselves under more pressure from a series of Navy attacks, particularly down our right, where Pammi, having done a sterling job at R defence, now sometimes found himself under threat by several sets of younger legs. But the defence held strong with Mike Patton and Des Legg working hard on the left and Raj helping the central pair of Nigel Guppy and captain Geoff Furneaux. So a very enjoyable, well umpired match ended even at 1-1.
As usual the Navy supplied an excellent supper of lasagne afterwards with portions generous enough that few could manage the second round offered. Particular thanks are due to Dickie Croker who organised all for the Navy and his young daughter Ingrid who presented the LX captain with a hand made card to remember the occasion.
Reporter: Geoff Furneaux