OPENING OF REFURBISHED ASTRO
PITCH AT KINGS’ SCHOOL, WINCHESTER
22nd September 2012
Throughout last year, LXer and former Deputy Head at Kings’, Geoff. Lucas, co-ordinated a project to replace the astro turf pitch. The project involved the School, Winchester Hockey Club and England Hockey. Following completion in August, an opening event was planned and Geoff. was asked to assemble an LX side to play against a Winchester HC Masters side. The original plan was to base the team on the successful LX squad from Bra, but injury and unavailability resulted in others being called in.
Richard Slator had agreed to captain the side and he got things underway with one of his trademark warmups. It was obvious from the programme that LX were in for a difficult afternoon as Winchester were to be captained by their President, the multi-capped England and GB player, Simon Hazlitt. In a young Masters side Simon had alongside him, amongst others, Scotland 040’s Pete. Lelliot and England 045’s Ian Bowery. Winchester began the game with great energy and commitment. The LX defence was under constant pressure with Bill Goodridge needing all his experience and skill to keep the opposition at bay. Steve. Branston, playing his first full game since major surgery in March, was kept very busy as sweeper and Brian Stokes showed great composure, timing his tackles well and denying Winchester several scoring opportunities. However, the pressure eventually told and LX conceded two goals in quick succession, from well struck shots.
During the break, Richard Slator used all his experience to make adjustments to the game plan and the pattern of play began to change. Peter Whitby and Mike Watts started to assert their authority in midfield and Sarosh Talati began to see much more of the ball. It was from one of his pacey runs from deep that he was able to set up Brian Hopkins for the first LX goal. Captain Slator led by example and lifted the whole LX side. Trevor Denison made numerous penetrating runs to set up chances for Pammi Bolina and for Zahid Arain. The second LX goal came when Sarosh Talati’s persistence was rewarded, converting from close range.
The final quarter of the game saw the home side raise their effort as they pushed to regain the lead.As he had throughout the game, Bill Goodridge pulled off a number of spectacular saves to keep the scoreline even. In the final minute, when it looked as though LX would hold on for a hard fought draw, Winchester were awarded a penalty stroke for a foot on the line. Bowery converted to give Winchester a 3-2 win.
Following our game, the pitch was officially opened by Richard Mantell on behalf of England Hockey. The day finished with a Winchester Select Side beating England 040’s 5-4.