LX Club at

 Dragon’s 60+ Hockey Festival

26th/27th July 2014

LX 60's

On a very hot Saturday morning the 12 members of the LX 60 squad, along with their manager Imtiaz Sheikh, assembled for the weekend of hockey. Most of the squad was formed from members of the LX o60 Red squad who had played at The Hague with the addition of John Stone, who played for LX o60 White at The Hague, and Simon Fry from the West, a potential new LX member.

The format of the festival was 2 groups of 4 teams and Saturday saw 3 ‘pool’ games of 20 minutes each way. For the LX 60 this meant games against a West/Somerset team, a team from the Midlands and a Welsh Dragons o65 team. On the Sunday there were 2 cross over games of 30 minutes each way played in 15 minute quarters as a concession to the heat.

The first of the LX 60 games was against the Midlands side. As usual with these events there was a period of settling down to get through before the 2 sides started to string a number of passes together and play hockey. At the end of the game it was LX who came out on top, just, with a 1 – 0 win so a good start to the day. The second game was against Somerset. In this instance, with the 2 teams having already played a game each it was straight into the hockey and LX soon started to apply and maintain a lot of the pressure. Although LX were in control for the majority of the game they were only able to finish 2 – 0 up at the end. The third game was against the Welsh Dragons 65 side. Here LX were dominant for most of the game but kept banging their head against a red wall of some 9 Welsh players contained within and around the Welsh ‘D’. This caused some frustration and loss of control but did not stop LX from scoring the single winning goal.

It was during the final Saturday game that Geoff Furneaux took a heavy fall on his shoulder which resulted him leaving the pitch and not being able to play on Sunday. I am glad to report that no bones broken and no dislocation.

With Martin Ferrett in goal, having touched the ball only once on the Saturday, the aim on Sunday was to ensure 2 wins and a clean sheet. For the first game against the Welsh Dragons ‘Black’ this was most definitely the case. LX were totally dominant controlling the game from start to finish and ended up scoring 7 goals in the process. The final game was against the 3rd of the Welsh sides, the Dragons ‘Yellow’. This proved to be a tougher game and some tired legs became evident. It also saw the only goal being scored against the LX with the final score being a 3 – 1 win for LX.

All-in-all a fine weekend of festival hockey. There was some excellent hockey played by the LX 60 side and with a squad of only 12 players for Saturday and the bare 11 on Sunday it was a tremendous result to win all the games and only have the single goal scored against. The social side was also excellent with a fine buffet dinner hosted at the Mercure hotel where most teams were staying. Many thanks must go to Bernie and Jane Wheeler for putting on, organising and running the festival. Speaking to Bernie, he is hoping to run the festival again in 2015 with the addition of sides from Alliance and Ireland; the only issue is when as there are a number of events already scheduled for 2015. Let us hope that it does go ahead and that there is a better response from LX playing members.

Squad: Martin Ferrett, Stuart Forest, Geoff Furneaux, Graham Ramsden, Graham Wood, Simon Fry, Steve Seymour, Richard Slator (Capt), Sarosh Talati, John Stone, Andy Fraser, Max Jason, Imitiaz Sheikh (Manager).

LX 65's

The Reds 65s squad was Eric Best, David Ewing [Captain], Roger Lomas, Brian Stokes, Richard Danson, John Ridings, Ray Jeff, David Thompson, Bill Pickersgill, Sudesh Nayar, Mike Gale and David B Read. Thanks go to the eleven ladies who supported the team.

The timing of the World Cup in June had an impact on availability of players for all teams that played at the festival in July. Many players were not available because of holidays and commitment to a period of rest. The Over 65 Reds team only had six players from the World Cup squad and the Club was grateful to those who made up the numbers. Pressure was on though with just twelve players for the five games!

Game 1 v Yellow Dragons [Over 60s] Lost 2-1

LX players were completely dominant in the first half retaining good possession of the ball but just up to the Welsh circle edge. Eventually the Welsh got back into the game via 15 year old Oli Wheeler who won a short corner 20 seconds before half time. A goal was scored. LX dominated the second half and equalised on a good move from Jeff to Stokes whose centre was met by a rear deflection by Pickersgill, somewhat similar to Steven Stowell’s specialist scoring ability! A short corner opportunity was lost as was another chance when Pickersgill hit a great shot into the goal off the pitch but alongside the actual goal. The Yellow Dragons attacked again near the end of the game and scored another short corner in the middle of the goal to create a win against the run of play.

Game 2 v Scottish Thistles Won 2-1

LX continued to dominate in the next game and took a 1-0 lead with a goal scored by David Thompson from a good cross by Lomas from the right wing after constructive hockey by Jeff in the midfield. The Thistles managed to get back into the game with a rare attack when they scored a goal after Nayar lost the ball whilst dribbling without real pressure close to the circle. Best danced to close the forward but was unable to save the shot. In the last seconds of the first half LX should have had a flick for a shot was stopped by the foot of an opponent. Dominance continued in the second half and David Thompson scored the winning goal with a tap in by the right post after good work by Jeff.

Game 3 v Black Dragons [Over 60s] Lost 1-0

Great pressure was created by continued LX dominance as a result of accurate passing and good possession. In the first half many shots were saved by the Black Dragons keeper, Roger Parr, who was up for potential LX membership. However, the third game began to see the LX team struggle on fitness and consequently control was lost. The Welsh forced themselves back into the game with solid pressing and rough contacts and the age difference began to have an impact on the game. The Dragons managed to score a goal for a 1-0 victory as LX gave the ball away in midfield. The last 5 minutes produced a better performance from the LX team with opportunities to score, but the Dragons keeper was outstanding.

Game 4 v Somerset Masters Lost 4-0

After an enjoyable dinner at the Mercure Hotel on Saturday evening, the night rest did not produce an invigorated LX team. The game against the Somerset Masters was based on their three losses on Saturday but their younger ages and regrouping led to a hard time for LX. The difference between the teams was scoring from attacking opportunities! The Somerset midfield tended to dominate the game, especially in the second half which led to a four goal win. Team spirit was tested as some players were unhappy about unusual complaints about their hockey from team members but the squad was grateful to Balbir Singh, Zahid Arain and Martin Ferrett, for supporting them as substitutes, due to lost players and injuries.

Game 5 v Welsh Dragons Over 65s Draw 0-0

The fifth game of Over 65 players against each other was slow and lacking in drive and sharpness of skills. It was a contest with LX just holding the ball better but without the ability force a goal. The fitness and work rate of Ridings was evident throughout the weekend and the return of Read was welcomed for his passing and ball retention. The end of the game was welcomed so the squad could breathe easily and rest whilst watching the LX Reds Over 60s play their final game with style, slick passing and with good ball pace. What a difference, perhaps due to the leadership and organisation of the non playing coach, Imtiaz.

The Swansea Dragons Festival, in late July in recent years, has consistently had brilliant, dry, sunny and hot weather offering a wonderful opportunity for players to spend an extra day to enjoy the wonderful coastal landscape of the Gower Peninsular. It is an attractive tournament for LXers to sign up for in the future.

Report by David Ewing