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Eburons Tournament May 25th to May 28th 2022

LX O60 REPORT (O68 Report at the bottom of this one)

DAY ZERO

Having gathered at the hotel throughout the day, deciding on a venue for the evening the LX Juniors (Under 68s) and booking 22 places the LX Seniors decided to join us, unannounced, and chaos ensued as the kitchen couldn’t cope with the extras and long waits (for some) were encountered.

DAY ONE

After lots of discussions the night before (what else was there to do while waiting for food), Ubers and trams (for some it was cheap but for some it wasn’t!) transported the Juniors to the Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles for the Eburons Tournament (a Thursday start which threw everyone’s body calendars out of the window) ready for 10 x 25-minute games over 21⁄2 days (6 teams playing each other twice).

First up were the first of our hosts sides (Eburons) who had some good players (who we’d get to know well over the weekend, more of that later) and we didn’t play very well (more of that later too) as we got to know each other and lost 1 – 0, enough said. Our hosts presented us with a 12-hole wooden beer rack, unfortunately someone forgot to pack the LX pennants!

Then came Les Bleus and the (patchy) quality started to show against a French side that had one or two good players but they were easily dealt with and goals for Andy Bradbury (2), Martin Hall and, in a surprising turn of events, Mason Fenlon (* he didn’t but he’s claimed it and no-one else did!) left us 4 – 0 victors. Our opposition presented us with a bottle of red wine, unfortunately someone forgot to pack the LX pennants!

Onto Old Lions (the other host side) and the return of some familiar Eburon faces but we were in our stride and despite some very physical play we emerged unscathed and 1 – 0 victors thanks to another Andy Bradbury strike. Our hosts presented us with another 12-hole wooden beer rack, unfortunately someone forgot to pack the LX pennants!

Last up was the first of the other English teams, Hampstead and Westminster (in their deckchair shirts), so a more gentlemanly game but still hard work. For the result and scorer, ditto the previous game! They presented us with a lovely pennant, unfortunately someone forgot to pack ours!

Everyone stayed at the club for an evening barbeque which was very nice and (unlike Southgate!) very good value for money.

DAY TWO

There was a notable absentee for the first game as Smoggy was in town doing some shopping, returning with some lovely tins of Queen Elizabeth II celebratory shortbread, I wonder why!

First up were the very fetching Warlocks in their orange, red and yellow tie-dye shirts and (for most) pink socks with their guest (for the weekend) goalkeeper ‘Huggy’. It was to be an expensive game for Huggy as after our traditional slow start and the realisation that going round him is easier than going through him left us 3 – 0 winners (Andy Bradbury, Mike Wingent & Kevin Coleman). Huggy then had to buy a round of ‘teas’ for his adopted team for conceding 3 goals.

Back to Eburons, in the first of the return fixtures, and their much-changed team (the 3rd time we’d played half of the team) didn’t help as they were soon 2 – 0 down after goals from Mike Wingent and the ‘goal of the tournament’ from Kevin Coleman (his description but we don’t remember it so who knows) a momentary lapse in concentration led to a late consolation goal but no-one panicked and saw the game out.

A comfortable 2 – 0 victory over Les Bleus was most notable for Martin Hall’s goal, as their defence moved to our right, he drilled it into the recently vacated bottom left corner, and another for Mike Wingent. Smoggy also got to play (a full game) in front of his son, who’d just arrived at the ground to watch his dad.

In our final game of the day, we managed to get away with a 0 – 0 draw with the Old Lions (the 4th time we’d played half of the team) despite the efforts of the ‘home’ umpires (also noted by the spectators, not just us), this left us level on points, goals scored and conceded.

The evening gala dinner at the ‘Teatro’ was well attended, with lovely food and plenty of wine and a post-dinner rendition of Tom Lehrer’s ‘Poisoning pigeons in the park’ by Tony Taig. The small stage soon became a small dance floor that looked pretty dangerous to me!

DAY THREE

All we had to do was better the Old Lions scores in order to win the tournament and after their opening 2 – 0 win over Les Bleus the chance was there but a lack lustre performance led to a 1- 0 loss to Hampstead & Westminster (apparently bolstered by 3 overnight arrivals) to ruin that idea. A 5-minute delay at the start while they finished watering the pitch didn’t help (something that seemed to happen to the Seniors quite often during the weekend too).

Our final game with the Warlocks was a routine 2 – 0 win with both goals from Mandeep to finish on a tired high followed by a pitch invasion from an orange man!

So, a second-place finish, although the Old Lions awarded us the trophy because they didn’t beat us in either game so felt we deserved it (guilt?).

Post tournament drinks were taken as people began departing but rest assured the LX were last to leave the ground courtesy of Bruce (accompanied by Alison of course) and yours truly, although the Warlocks did run us close.

SUMMARY

Played 10 Won 7 Drew 1 Lost 2 Second/First Place Top Scorer Andy Bradbury In the battle of the goalkeepers Mason got 5 clean sheets and Mally didn’t! Smoggy looks good in orange (You know when you’ve been Tango’d!) Dibble’s music wasn’t as loud as Fraser’s and there was no Fat Les

Andy Howitt was busy leading the warm-ups, cool-downs and post-match drink replenishments John Barratt always does it for at least 23 seconds
Martin Hall and Keith Richardson are long lost brothers
Smokey had to rush back to the UK for a Peppa Pig party

We don’t play very well in our first game of the day which could be a problem at Barcelona as they’re ALL first (and only) games of the day!

Congratulations to the Seniors who won their competition, and kept their trophy Pete Willis

LX O68 REPORT

Martin Ferrett led a party of 16 strong LXer’s determined to win this tournament and to do it in style. Although it was a ‘friendly’ event with the feel of a festival, the LX approach was the same as it would have been if there had been more at stake. We won the tournament, going ten games without defeat, only conceded one goal, made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun. What more could you ask?

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Day 1

LX 68s 0 Belgium Old Lions 0

This was a typical first game with LX dominating but unable to score. There were many chances with Paul Bateson looking dangerous but unable to convert. Tony Neeve went closest by hitting the post. Although the defence was solid with Stones more like a rock; a rare breakaway saw Captain Ferret in action early and engaged in a one on one. He did well to stay on his feet and squash the threat. LX were disappointed they didn’t start with a win but the Old Lions were delighted.

LX 68s 1 St Albans 1

A much better performance against a St Albans side which included three LX members: Peter Newnham, Harry Ramsden and Patrick Martin and who were managed by Adrian Stephenson. Mike Leatt went close after a lovely ball pulled back from the back line by Tony Taig but it was defender Keith Richardson who put LX ahead with a well struck penalty corner. It looked like it was going to be a win for LX until the final minutes when Bede Grossmith felt he had been ‘taken out’ in the D allowing a player at far post to score. Despite protests the goal stood. LX disappointed again.

LX 68s 2 Eburons 0

Things came together in the third game with the midfield stepping up to the plate and controlling the game. JJ had lots of time and space to switch the point of attack, John Tripp looked very comfortable on the right and Bede Grossmith was beginning to show some real class. The forwards were a lot more composed but it was midfielder Mike Leatt who opened the scoring with a well taken goal which allowed LX to settle. A few minutes later Bede Grossmith played an early ball out of defence to Jon Beale who put Leatt into a great scoring position. The keeper did well to save but Beale followed up to put the ball in the roof of the net. More like it.

LX 68s 0 Alliance 0

Tiredness played a part in this final game of day one, with heavy legs affecting both side’s ability to keep hold of the ball. Alliance played with three high forwards pinning the LX defenders back and requiring JJ to play deeper almost as a fourth defender. This left a big gap between the defence and the attack which Alliance exploited. Pami Bolina, Ian Harvey and Gavin Stones were resilient at the back and chances were few and far between. A draw was probably a fair result

Day 2

LX 68s 1 St Albans 0

This was a good start to the second day. The Club Dinner the night before was enjoyed by everybody but the squad only had sore legs and not sore heads. LX once again had the lions share of possession and a short corner play didn’t go to plan but still resulted in a goal following a goal mouth scramble in which John Tripp was prevalent. There was a scare late on when St. Albans took a free hit quickly catching LX asleep but fortunately the ball hit the post and rebounded out much to Ferret’s relief. Did it cross the line? There was no VAR and no goal awarded. We’ll never know will we?

LX 68s 1 Eburons 0

Another narrow victory where we dominated, played some lovely hockey but only found the net once. Another short corner routine broke down but once again John Tripp was there to force the ball over the line. Keith Richardson had a very strong game making some forceful, penetrating runs down the right. Life in the old dog yet.

LX 68’s 2 Old Lions 0

It took a while to break down a compact Belgian defence but then like buses two goals followed swiftly. The first was a thing of beauty. An early ball out of defence saw Leatt find Tony Neeve on the right who shelled the ball back across to Tony Taig on the left. He controlled the ball instantly and found John Housham in space in the D. Great finish by John and the crowd went wild. The second was another short corner which did work well on this occasion and finished with Mike Leatt hitting the backboard with a thumper of a shot. A place in the final on Day 3 was assured.

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JJ confused by which bottle to start first…..

Day 3

When all the points and goal differences were calculated LX were to play St Albans in the final two games of the tournament. They had deprived Alliance who had drawn with us twice, by the small margin of one goal. We were both relieved and disappointed as Alliance had caused us the most problems.

LX 68s 1 St Albans 0

Mike Leatt led a brilliant warm up to JJ’s music which attracted a lot of attention and was even filmed by an enthusiastic lady from the Netherlands. We were fired up and ready to go but so were St Albans and the first twenty minutes were nip and tuck. It took a superb short corner routine to break the deadlock with Nick King diving at the right post to deflect Mike Leatt’s diagonal slap past the keeper.

LX 68s 2 St Albans 0

In the second game the legs had gone out of the older St Alban’s side who had no subs to match the stronger LX squad but Newnham, Ramsden and Martin worked extremely hard to prevent them being overrun. King was in good form and scored another brilliant deflection from a John Tripp strike. Neeve executed the coup d’etat with a well taken goal from a very tight angle.

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Captain Martin Ferret displaying the Winner’s Trophy

Overall, this LX side played some very attractive, flowing hockey and were deserved winners of this friendly and well organised tournament. Martin Ferret led the side well on and off the field and it was a very enjoyable three days in the Belgian sunshine playing with and against old friends. Thanks have to go to our loyal and at times loud supporters Jenny Ferret, Jenny Taig, Ro King and Jane Jackson. Thanks also to Smoggy for organising the trip.