LX O70s at Oxford September 1st

LX members from the 70+ (or near enough) age group, were invited to return to Oxford again, to resume their friendships on and off the pitch. The previous event during the summer at St. Albans was played in sweltering conditions. This time the weather was a lot kinder.

Roger Lomas is the organiser of the growing number of 70s intra club fixtures and as usual did a magnificent job, despite being himself, in action in Durham a few days before. He also had to contend with a significant number of withdrawals in the week prior to the event and some after the team selections were completed. Too much hockey was probably the cause of some of the withdrawals.

Despite these difficulties, five ten a side teams contested the day and due to some clever distribution of age and ability, the teams were all very closely matched.

A huge thank you to all the umpires Graham Beck ,Graham Reynolds , Ken Veness and Roy Woolley  without whom no tournaments could take place.

At the end day everyone was treated to a lovely meal by Jan and her catering staff who we would like to thank very much. 

Team captains who deserve a great deal of credit for organisation of all the players for each match, collecting money, match reports and photographs were;

Team A Brian Perryman

Team B Nigel Spencer-Knott

Team C John Youings

Team D Brian Stokes

Team E Ian Feather


Team A:  W2-D2-L0

Team B:  W3-D1-L0 Tournament winners.

Team C:  W0-D1-L3

Team D:   W1-D2-L1

Team E:   W0-D2-L2

Team A  Captain  Brian Perryman

Team A: W2-D2-L0

Team A: W2-D2-L0

The evening before a quick email from ace organiser Roger Lomas announcing a bit of a change of plan because ten players had had to cry off at short notice.  Covid, I presume?  Or maybe they’d feared another two hour Oxford Sweltathon like the July session?  After a bit of 

a wait for the pitch to become clear from a previous booking Brian Perryman gave another of his lovely, and sublimely effective, team talks.  “Gentlemen, we’re all here to enjoy ourselves, so work hard, help each other… and the plan? White shirts throughout, nine outfield players, no subs 4, 3, 2…. lets enjoy ourselves.”  Simples! But with a clear, iron backbone message that the working hard and helping was much more than a mere encouragement or even an exhortation.  We all knew he really, really meant it. 

First game against team B we play nicely and press the reds, create lots of chances, press again, win but not convert several short corners.  Too nice? Enjoying it too much?   Should have won; too many shots at goal went wide.  Finished 0-0.

Game two against D, this time a bit more challenging but we were beginning to settle as a team and growing in confidence in each other.  Good strong running down the right by Neil Flanagan, Pammy and Jon Beale.  Brian dominating, gathering and laying off in centre midfield.  We hold the midfield, challenge wide left and right and press with Jon and Pammy staying high but crucially midfield committed to attack too forcing the D’s midfield to hold the 22. I was beginning to think that left midfield was as hard work, if not harder, than left wing.  The D’s are forced to resort to Brian Stokes’s break-out hits but their two forwards don’t get the support from midfield and the A team backs absorb and clear. Disappointed not to score.  0-0 again.

Game three against E who on paper we knew would press us hard.  A team getting better, enjoying more, working harder, helping more.  Gilbert Grace pressing high from the backs with Eric Evans and Paul Berent covering behind.  Mick Cox, now right midfield, running though perhaps holding onto the ball for a touch too long too often.   Lots of space in midfield that we command, snub E’s rather solo attacks and find Jon and Pammy in lots of space that their hard work has found.  E’s keeper saving several on-target shots.  E’s have to resort to German hard though balls that we pick up and counter attack with. Win several short corners, Pammy converts with a cracking shot that the keeper only just gets a touch to.  1-0.  I get a freeze water at 1000 yards look from Brian for not hitting the PC injections hard enough. That iron backbone again.

Last game against C.  We’re really up for this. The more we’ve enjoyed it the better we’ve played and the more we’ve enjoyed it. This is comprehensive total hockey.  Well, as total hockey that nine outfield o70s can manage, particularly after 60 minutes of hard work and running.  Jon and Pammy running into space, offering passes.  Midfield cutting off, tackling, winning ball and launching themselves into attack.  Backs particularly Paul, Gilbert and Eric getting bored in defence so joining in attack.  Neil defending and trying to attack but clearly his new knee hasn’t been fully run-in yet and he’s hurting.  Everyone working and running so no gaps, C attempts at break-outs just absorbed.  We start scoring:  a reverse hit across the back of the D finds Mick.  A clever interplay between Brian, Mike and Jon gives Pammy another goal.  A couple of short corners.  Another lovely venture down the right, into the back of the D, finds Pammy and his third goal of the day.  

Another fun, challenging, enjoyable day all thanks to Roger Lomas.  Smashing.  Thanks. 

Team B: W3-D1-L0 Tournament winners.

Team B: W3-D1-L0 Tournament winners.

With scores of 0-0, 3-0, 3-0, 2-0 you would think we had a water tight defence but in the first game a clean sheet was only achieved by some fine goalkeeping and some wayward shooting by our opponents. As that first game progressed we started to retain the ball better and might have pinched a result. For the rest of the day, our captain Nigel then made some astute tactical and personnel changes.  Having not played in the first game he brought himself on, allowing Satvarg to play upfront and as a team we did not look back. In game two we found John Chong in goal in fine form on the floor, so Adrian went over him and a seven pass short corner routine went round him. Satvarg, inspired  by Adrian’s example scored three in the next two games, a spectacular flick, a far post nudge and world class finish to a world class move.

And whilst all this was going on Nigel’s defence was quietly closing the door whenever the opposition attacked.

A great team performance. Fun and laughter (Ken Wilcock trying to find his stick which nigel was playing with!) all finished off with a very good treacle tart and custard.

Team C Captain  John Youings

Team C:  W0-D1-L3

Team C:  W0-D1-L3

Lost 1 – 0 v Team D

An even game with the team c having a greater share of possession and switching play well but not being able to convert into goals.  The opposition scored a well worked goal following a free hit just outside our D.

Lost 3 – 0 v Team B

Credit to Team B who caused us a lot of problems and scored 3 goals. We had a good share of possession but were unable to convert the half chances that came our way.

Drew 0 – 0 v Team E

This was a magnificent defensive display against very strong opposition. 100% effort and concentration resulted in a clean sheet including keeping out a short corner in the last play of the game awarded as whistle blew. 

Lost 2 – 0 to Team A

An even game possession wise and disappointing not to get a result. The opposition took their chances which made the difference.

Many thanks to the excellent umpiring which contributed to very enjoyable games.

Team D Captain Brian Stokes

Team D:   W1-D2-L1

Team D:   W1-D2-L1

 For 3 and a half games, Team d played fluent, attacking hockey at Oxford. We started with a good win against Team c, the winning goal coming from a well – placed shot by Sarbjit Dehl. We followed that with two 0 – 0 draws against Teams e and a. Throughout those games, the defence of Nigel Strofton, Andy Hogg and especially Paramjit Singh Hayre dealt comfortably with any attacking threat from the opposition, the midfield of Peter Danson, Brian Stokes and Garry Adams generally commanded that area of the pitch, and linked well with the forwards, Sarbjit, Adrian Money, Gordon Small and Lloyd Wood. We created a steady stream of chances, but sometimes just lacked the final finish, or were thwarted by good goalkeeping. Our last game against Team b started in a similar vein, but perhaps tiredness became a factor (and for Team c, it was their third game), because in a period of about 10 minutes, we conceded 3 goals. But it was a very enjoyable afternoon, and finished with a good barbecue meal.

Team E Captain Ian Feather

Team E:   W0-D2-L2

Team E:   W0-D2-L2

Game 1 – drew 0-0 – Despite having a majority of the play and 5 short corners we couldn’t find the back of the net.

Game 2 – drew 0-0 – Replay of game 1, created lots of chances but failed to score. Again 4 short corners not converted.

Game 3 lost 1-0 – We lost this game due to a goal being allowed even though the ball was rising and hit the defender on the handle of the stick. At the other end we had a penalty stroke turned down from a short corner. Neither umpire were in the correct position to see the man on the line stop it with his foot on the line. Very disappointing result but we were the better side.

Game 3 lost 2-0 – We lost to a better side although we competed well. The centre of defence went to sleep and we were punished for it.

Summary, we contested the four games vigorously  and were in command most of the time in the first three game but after having the penalty turned down one or two players lost their concentration and failed to come to the party in the last game against Team B – who were probably the best side on the day. All in all we had 13 short corners but only one which resulted in a near goal.