MIKE’S MUSINGS – 19 January 2010

RIOJA and ROLL – by order!

I have been asked (correction – ordered!) by the ladies on the Fund Raising and Social Committee to begin this week’s Musings with a reminder of the Rioja and Roll Evening to be held in Tibbenham’s Barn, Weybread at 7.30pm on Saturday 30 January. I’m not too sure what the Roll bit means but the evening is sure to be an enjoyable one so please come along – you will be very welcome. Tickets (£12 each including food and drinks) are available from the bar or from me.

Unless you have been to the club in the last few days you will not have seen the splendid furniture which has been kindly donated by vice-president and former chairman Janet Reader. The whole clubhouse has been given a huge ‘lift’ with new tables and chairs at the kitchen end and new tables, chairs and sofas and a display cabinet at the television end. Thank you Janet for your generosity which I know will be appreciated by everyone who uses the clubhouse.

It was good to be back watching hockey again at Weybread last Saturday (despite the almost incessant rain) following the Christmas and snow break. The thaw – aided by the use of the watering system the previous day – came in time for three league matches to be played. In the first the Ladies’ 2nds, for whom Calianne Clark was in fine form in goal, showed great determination to come from behind to gain a vital 2-1 win over Cambridge City 2nds with goals by Kathryn Bullen and Lauren Barber. With the rain still falling Norwich Dragons 3rds then used their experience and strength to pip the generally younger and smaller Men’s 6ths who did well to battle away in the miserable conditions to lose by the odd goal in three.

The stage was then set for the return clash between the Men’s 3rds and 4ths and when the 4ths, who were in fine form inspired in defence by Andy Palmer (playing his first game in goal since breaking his arm at the end of last season) and the outstanding Bob Skinner, went ahead through Tom Hart a repeat of last season’s shock result became a possibility. However, the 3rds dominated the second half and equalised when a shot by Gavin Cole just evaded the defenders and Matt Brand eventually shook off the attentions of Bob Skinner to fire home the winner for the relieved league leaders. An excellent match played in an excellent spirit. Away from home there was a good 2-2 draw for the Men’s 2nds against Cambridge City and a first class 4-0 win in horrible conditions for the Ladies Development over Yarmouth.

Last weekend our three teams in indoor action emerged with mixed results. The Men’s 1sts, despite getting four points from their four matches in Bristol, were relegated from the Premier Division of the national league due to the outcome of at least two matches being, as I feared, affected by the absence of the England players following the weather enforced rearrangement of the second weekend of the event. This is not sour grapes but a realistic assessment of the situation. Meantime the Ladies’ 1sts gained eight points from their six matches in Div 1 of their national league and in a very tight league (except for runaway leaders Reading) will need a win from their two remaining matches this Sunday (again in Croydon) to be sure of avoiding relegation or of finishing in the top half!

Last and certainly not least the U18 Boys won through to the national qualifying stage of the national club championship to be held in Eastleigh this weekend when they beat City of Peterborough 13-5 in Colchester having earlier lost by the same score to Old Loughtonians in the East Championship which was reduced to three teams by withdrawals due to the two earlier postponements of the event.

Good luck this weekend to the Ladies’ 1sts, the U18 Boys and the U18 Girls – the latter having won through earlier to the national qualifying stage of their national club championship to be held in Sheffield.

Needless to say (but I will nevertheless!) it is also good luck to all our outdoor teams in action this weekend including the U11 and U13 Boys and Girls in the Pelicans’ Minis on Sunday. Please see the Home Page of the website for a full list of this weekend’s matches.

News in brief

§ Congratulations to Rob Goodson and Louise Foreshaw on their recent engagement. I’ve told Rob that they must not get married in the hockey season!

§ It is good to welcome Tom Hart back to the club after an absence of some five years and to see Andy Bedwell and Tom French back after their round the world trip. Unfortunately Andy broke his left collarbone (for the third time) in a practice session at the club last Sunday – after being hit in the face in training last Thursday!

§ I am also sorry to say that due to his back injury Richard ‘Chopper’ Allcock has decided to retire from playing but the good news is that he will continue to manage the 5ths and to umpire.

§ Our thanks are due to everyone who umpires (be they from outside or from within the club) on a regular or occasional basis and their dedication was personified last Saturday when in the horrible conditions the matches were controlled, respectively, by Mike Pepper & John Pestell, John Pestell (again!) & David Johnson and Kevin Ridley & Tiger Young – the latter pairing after playing in the previous match!

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 19/1/10