Sunday 9th November 2014

Result:  LX 1      Antiques 0

‘A Special Fixture involving Remembrance and Recognition for Ashford HC and LX Club Members’

This long-standing fixture organised by Keith Hedley since 1997 commenced with young and old in the Clubhouse observing the two minute silence for Remembrance Day.  This was followed with an Ashford Hockey Club special remembrance of Harry Pickering, a stalwart member for many years of the Kent Club and an LX member, who died earlier this year.  Funds in his memory had been donated for a defibrillator at the Club available if required by who attend there, plus another defibrillator for the Antiques team.  The occasion was led by Ian Thomas, Chairman of the Club, with Karen Pickering, Harry’s widow, present at this special occasion. The players then assembled on the pitch, and Ian Thomas and LX Club Chairman Imtiaz both acknowledged the contribution of Gurney White as a member of the Ashford Club for 60 years and many years with LX Club, and Keith Hedley for his 18 years of LX Club fixture arrangements and achieving his 80th birthday this month.

The game which followed was a very close contest.  LX started really well, with Captain Rob Oakley having the benefit of a large squad with rotations managed by Imtiaz.  LX Club were soon on the attack supported by a sound defence and midfield, and the Ashford keeper John Taylor had to repel some powerfully hit goal-bound shots by LX.  A well-deserved goal from a penalty corner injected by Peter Ross, delivered to Sudesh Nayar which resulted in David West scoring from a loose ball to put LX 1-0 ahead.  This inspired the Antiques, (supplemented by some Canterbury Friars players), to reply strongly with ‘youthful’ Paul Congleton initiating attacks, resulting in David Kiernan (Canterbury Friars goalkeeper playing for LX) making excellent saves from Graham Brown and LX member Tony Jones.  Keith Hedley gave a superb short cameo appearance in the Antiques forward line; in addition Gurney White made an indefatigable contribution in defence throughout the game.

After half-time the LX Club, with the sun at their backs, tended to dominate the play, with Gerald Wilkinson having a goal-bound shot superbly saved by the outstretched leg of Antiques goalie John Taylor.  The sun continued to shine and with the bells of St. Mary’s Church Kennington ringing out, LX achieved a 1-0 victory, which was a tribute to an excellent team performance.

Hospitality at Ashford HC has always been very enjoyable, with Tony Post and his catering partner Julia serving up an excellent four course meal.  For Ashford, President Geoff Playford as always thanked all those involved with the fixture in his usual imitable style, with a succinct response by LX’s Captain Rob Oakley.  Ashford HC’s Ian Thomas made presentations to Gurney White and Keith Hedley for their contributions to their Club.  All considered that Sunday’s fixture was the best ever over the 18 years.

Many thanks go to the two umpires (East Counties Umpires Hockey Association) Barbara Hanwell from Lincolnshire, and Alan Baker from near Sudbury, Suffolk, who both umpired with excellent understanding and skill.

Finally, thanks to the supporters, which included LXer Bill Butcher, also wives and partners who came along to enjoy this rather special fixture.

LX Club Squad: David Kiernan (Canterbury HC), Chris Blake, David Read, John Fleming (Lincolnshire), David West, Graham Ramsden, Sudesh Nayar, Adrian Money, Gilbert Grace, Rob Oakley (Captain), Gerald Wilkinson, Peter Ross, Brian Woolcott.

Match Manager:  Keith Hedley                 Match Report:  David G. Read