LX v Navy Masters
on 21st September 2014
Result: LX 1 Navy Masters 4
After most of the players had overcome the challenge of gaining entry to HMS Temeraire in order to park cars the squad assembled beside the Navy’ water based pitch which had been well watered and unlikely to dry out in the September sunshine. There was then the issue of what colour shirt to play in but this was finally settled with the Navy in blue and LX in white as had been agreed previously between the LX captain and the Navy manager.
The match then started as scheduled at 12:00 with LX playing a 3-3-4 formation hoping to contain the Navy runners. After the initial exchanges, LX started to take control of the game with spells of play in the Navy half. The outcome of this period of play was a well taken goal from Peter Ross who, unmarked, was able to deflect a strong cross from the advancing Austyn Leaverland playing at right defence. This saw LX a goal up after 10 minutes play and seemingly in control.
This seemed to sting the Navy into action and they upped their pace and started to take more control of the game. It was during this period of play that a couple of very unfortunate mistakes by LX players allowed the Navy to equalise and then go into the lead. Had it not been for the mistakes then it is unlikely that the Navy would have scored as the LX defence held firm and the hard running mid-field did not allow the Navy to really settle. However, despite the LX efforts the Navy managed to score their 3rd goal before half time giving the LX a very big hurdle to overcome.
The 2nd half continued in a very similar manner to the first half but gradually it became clear that the younger and fitter legs of the Navy, along with 5 subs, were taking their toll on LX. As a result the balance of play slowly tilted in the Navy’s favour leading to long periods when LX were under pressure. Some last minute tackles from John Longdon and sound defensive work from Gavin Stones prevented the Navy from entering the LX ‘D’. However, the pressure was going to tell and the Navy were awarded a Penalty Flick following a stop on the line by an LX foot, at least, I think it was a foot! There were no further goals but it was clear by the end that the Navy were in control.
This was another very enjoyable hard fought match played in exactly the right spirit and thanks must go to the Umpires, Ken Veness and Nigel Bukley, for making it very clear right from the start who was in control. From the LX perspective, it was unfortunate that the fixture clashed with the 1st round of the England o60 trials as some younger legs, particularly up front, would have been very useful. Despite this it was a very strong showing by LX up against a more youthful 16 man squad(!) and my thanks to all for making the effort. Thanks also go to Geoff Lucas who put the side together but was unable to play himself due to being away on holiday.
After the match we retired to the Sportsman Bar to enjoy a fine 2 course Sunday roast lunch, courtesy by the Navy, to round off a very satisfactory outing. It was also good to see Alan and Wendy Jackson who came along and watched the 2nd half and joined us for some liquid refreshment afterwards.
Squad: Phil Barbagallo (GK), John Longdon, Sudesh Nayer, Gavin Stones, Austyn Leaverland, Brian Perryman, Richard Slator (Capt), Sarosh Talati, Peter Ross, Rod Cochrane, Gordon Small, Zahid Arain, Paramjit (Pami) Bolina