LX vs WALES vs MIDLANDS – Stourport, 6th June 2021

An eclectic mix of LXers met at the impressive Stourport Sports Club to help Wales over 65 and Midlands over 65 prepare for the Celtic Cup and Regional Championship, respectively. Although the majority were in the 65-69 age bracket we had drafted in a mixture of “young legs” and “additional experience” to provide our opponents with meaningful competition. It was particularly pleasing to welcome several of our newer members, at least one of whom was making his first appearance in LX colours. 

Although the two LXs squads were picked essentially at random, the LX Saxons proved to be slightly stronger on the day. In their first game against Wales, and with the score level at 2-2, the Saxons were only robbed of an assured victory when their excellent 3rd goal was disallowed. This only after a prolonged whinge by the Welsh full back who Mike Wingent had beaten 4-square in our entirely unbiased view – and so it remained 2-2 at the end. As Tony later remarked – It just goes to show that you can’t trust these Celts an inch and of course The English, the English, the English are best! Overall, this game included some very attractive hockey as the combination of a solid defence and an industrious & creative midfield provided the youthful/experienced attack with plenty of scoring opportunities. Having all three of the under-age LXers gave them a lot of pace going forward – or you could attribute it to Tony’s to inspirational leadership. Meanwhile, on the other pitch, LX Angles put up a valiant display against the Midlands and despite dominating the first quarter were unable to put one past the inspired and well known ‘Midlands’ keeper Martin Ferrett, and so it remained 0-0 at half-time. Midlands, or LX Yellow to give them a more accurate title, gained ascendency in the second two quarters and the LX Angles eventually succumbed 3-0. (Only two of the Midlands squad were not LX members so we didn’t lose really!)

After a short break, the Midlands proved too strong for Wales on pitch 1 while the two LX teams exhausted their remaining energy reserves on pitch 2. For the record, Saxons scored more goals than Angles ending the game 4-1, but the result of this one was far less important than the opportunity for us all to enjoy a good standard of hockey with friends in the sunshine. Despite the heat everyone but in a tremendous effort and it is hoped that those who came away carrying various injuries, such as wrenched shoulders, dodgy knees, pulled calves and hamstrings, will all recover soon. Consequently, it was a rather ragged bunch of sweaty individuals who trudged, with smiles on their faces, back to the clubhouse where beer and jacket potatoes were consumed. It is just a shame that Wales had to be banished to a separate room to comply with Covid regulations. 

Overall, the success of the day was illustrated by the reluctance of any LX members to join in with the cycling, athletics, or alpine skiing (yes, alpine skiing!) in progress elsewhere on the campus. 

It only remains to thank Paul & Tony for marshalling the troops with their usual efficiency and good humour (but is it really necessary to wind up the opposition with a rendition of “bloody great fishes are whales” just before push-back?), the four umpires for keep us on the straight and narrow and young Quinny for helping us out in goal for the Saxons. Particular thanks go to the Stourport Club staff who kept us fed and watered with good humour under difficult circumstances.

Angles: David Webb

Peter Reid, German Singh, Alan Walton, Graham Stuart,

Chris Bollig, Ian Knox, Tony Neeve, Martyn Ward, Graham Small,

Paul Bateson (Capt.), John Housham, Michael Cocks, Parmjit Singh Bolina.

Saxons: Paul Quinn

John Michalik, Lee Robinson, Stuart Forrest, Ian Hill,

Ian Harvey, Steve Foster, Phil Hubert, Colin McConnell,

Chris Randall, Imtiaz Sheikh, Tony Taig (Capt.), Mike Wingent.

Umpires: Graham Reynolds, Terry Duffy, Glyn Thomas, Roy Wooley.

Organiser: Graham ‘Smoggy’ Small.

Report by: Smoggy with contributions from Paul & Tony