LX v Norfolk Masters
at Norwich on 8th March 2020
It was good to meet old LX friends again on a sunny Norfolk day in Norwich, a good round dozen of us ready to take the field against Norfolk Masters. Our greetings were as warm as ever but clouded by global medical developments. To varying degrees we all knew there was a storm coming but wanted to maintain a sense of normality around our escape to play hockey. We didn’t know it was going to be the last LX domestic fixture ….. maybe for some time.
We lined up with three forwards, three in midfield and a four man defence plus keeper. The younger legs were provided by Chris Topham, Tony Neeve, Peter Reid and Graham Ramsden whist the hockey brains were provided by John Grinham (capt), Mike Patton, Chris Blake, John Maylem and Peter Newnham returning after an injury from last August. The skill obviously came from the forwards of Peter Glading, Chris Thornhill and John Housham.
From the outset it was obvious it was going to be a close well fought game with Norfolk showing the earlier promise with chances that were kept out by some fine saves from Alan Dures in goal. LX chances started to come as we gained more control in midfield and the team got to know each other’s movements. However we finished the first half with no goals being scored by either side.
Following a rousing half time talk from the captain there then ensued a useful discussion about whether the forwards were too far from the midfield and defence or whether it was them that were too far from the forwards. A timeless discussion which has spanned the decades. As a founder of the forwards union I was favouring the latter argument. Anyway we did all agree with the captain !!
So we started the second half determined to improve the continuity of passing from defence to midfield and from there to the forwards. As a result we gained further dominance in the game which led to our goal. A pass from defence to midfield was moved on to John Housham up front who held up the play for Tony Neeve to arrive and force a shot. The keeper made an initial save but the rebounding ball was coolly lifted over the keeper by Peter Glading to score.
Having proved that we could do it, we seemed to decide that was all we needed to do and promptly handed the initiative back to the Norfolk Masters who scored two goals. We did come back into for the last 10 minutes with heroic performances from everyone but it was too late and the game ended 2-1 but not before a rain storm soaked us through before the final whistle.
Having said all our thanks to our brilliant hosts we said our goodbyes of ‘hope to see you soon’ with more emphasis on the ‘hope’ than usual and returned to our different parts of the Country.
It is now the 26 March and all LX fixtures have been cancelled through to the end of May including Tilburg, Eburons, Jersey Tour and some beyond like the Lakes Tour and NE Tour, all annual markers on our hockey calendars. It has not even been three weeks since playing Norfolk Masters, how quickly and how far our world and masters hockey bubble within it has changed. Lets ‘hope’ for not too long.
Report byJohn Housham