Paul Baker, Nigel Dupain, Geoff Furneaux, Satvarg Nijjar, Mike Rushmere, Peter Rushmere,

Brian Stokes, John Tripp, Graham White and guest goalkeeper Amy from Kettering HC.

Played at Wrenn School, Wellingborough over three days, this tournament was organised by Bill Greenwood with a band of players and helpers from Kettering Hockey Club.

With two games of twenty minutes each way on all three days there was plenty of hockey for everyone and plenty of tired limbs by Sunday afternoon.

With only 8 players available and no keeper for our first game against a Kettering Ladies team we played with 7 outfield players. LX scored first but the ladies soon got an equaliser. However, LX settled into controlled play and were comfortably ahead 3 -1 at halftime. Despite Kettering bringing on some young men to even up the sides, LX played flowing hockey throughout, with the extra outfield player being a great advantage and a goal scoring spell in the second half saw LX with a 9 – 1 win by the end.

Having watched the strength and tactics of other teams it was decided to acquire a goalkeeper for the remaining matches and Amy from Kettering HC kindly stepped up and played exceptionally well for us for the rest of the tournament.

Our second match was against Kettering 4 – a team of young men some 40 to 50 years younger than us. LX played the ball around early on and went one goal ahead but, as the youngsters settled, their pace and skill began to show and it was level (1 -1) at halftime. Some quick breakaways early in the second half gave Kettering a three goal advantage but LX continued to play good hockey and managed to pull two goals back to give a respectable 4 -3 defeat by the end.

Our first game on day two was against a strong LX Ladies team. We were ahead by a single goal at halftime and the ladies had missed a few chances. In the second half we were kept busy in midfield but managed to show our strength by scoring two more goals before the end to gain a 3 -0 win.

Our opposition for the next game was another young men’s team from Kettering (containing many from our earlier encounter). With no score at halftime we managed to keep them at bay in the second half but eventually went done 1 – 0 as the result of a short corner.

On Saturday evening we travelled to Kettering Hockey Club for a magnificent buffet. Despite our first game the next morning starting at 9am we didn’t hold back when it came to second helpings.

Match 5, our final pool game, was against a skilful Alliance Ladies team. We had a slow start but eventually settled and finished with a 5 – 0 win (2 – 0 at halftime) with two goals in open play and three from short corners.

On Sunday afternoon we found ourselves in the first/second place playoff, once again meeting the young men of the Kettering 4 team. It was a very tight game with the LX experience mopping up the speed and skill of the opposition. A fine open play goal just before halftime gave us an early advantage but this was wiped out early in the second half when the youngsters also scored in open play. A substantial effort by LX was rewarded with a second goal midway through the half.

Some great defending and about 500 years of experience on the pitch was too much for the opposition and LX came away with the gold medals and Aspirants title.

An excellent but tiring weekend. Thanks to Brian for captaining, Geoff for the warmups and cooldowns and our supporters on the sideline. Bill Greenwood did a fantastic job keeping the tournament going despite a number of last minute dropouts. Next year the tournament is on 8, 9 and 10 April 2022.