16. Over 65's AGGM - 2014 Hockey World Cup
11th June 2014 - Den Haag, Netherlands.
Masters Hockey World Cup 2014 - Semi-Final v. England
Act 1. Scene 1.
6.50 a.m. - any reasonable person should still be in a deep slumber - the phone rings - still dreaming, in a different world. Still ringing, too sleepy to think straight - if it's between and seven in the evening , then it is probably telemarketers so you let the phone keep ringing. Phone's still ringing, better answer it, might be that your elderly mother's taken ill. No, in fact it is team manager Ric ...... the semi- final match is now at nine o'clock, not twelve thirty and team bus is leaving at 7.30am. Panic, duck in the shower, no time for a shave, grab the hockey gear, where's the rock tape ? drink bottle ? change of clothes after the game ? Yep, got everything. Speed downstairs, no time for breakfast, too late anyway, grab a banana to eat on the run, on the bus and we're off to the ground. Damn, forgot the towel, can "air-dry" after the post-game shower. We are informed that we have finished second in our pool, not first, but we don't understand - my eight year old grandson could do the addition and subtraction in order to work out the goal difference correctly.
Act 1. Scene 2.
So we arrive at the the ground to find that we are now playing our semi-final v. the Dutch. But, hang on a minute, the Germans are here too, they apparently haven't been told about any change. The Germans are unimpressed, having arrived to play the early game, so some of them head back to their hotel to pass the time. We complete our on-ground warm-up only to be told "No, sorry, we forgot to add in your last result, you're not playing now after all, we made a mistake, we didn't add in your last score" ( which just happened to be a 5-0 win). I'm sorry we made a mistake, I'm sorry we made a mistake - this is becoming a bit Fawlty Towers-ish, Waldorf salads, he's from Barcelona, and all that sort of stuff!!!! Dutch team are waiting to start, but now the half of the pissed off German team that had pissed off home, have to be recalled, making them even more pissed off than before. It's an absolute schimozzle, a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.
Act 1. Scene 3.
Meanwhile, Manager Extraordinaire Dr Ric Roberts and Coach Bob Claxton, having taken a resolute stance with the Tournament Director over the issue of the final placings, now proceed with some tough negotiations on behalf of the team to gain us access to the more peaceful and comfortable Officials lounge upstairs, as well as arranging breakfast for us, given that there was no time for any food before the departure for the hockey club. Coach uses this time to assist us in coming to terms with any ill-feeling towards the Dutch organisation, helping us to focus on the game ahead which is now against England ........ which is, in fact, what we all thought in the first place !!! Clacko's final enterprising game to sharpen us up prior to taking to the field, is to toss an ever-increasing number of Hockey balls from one team member to another who will catch the ball, help quicken our reflexes and improving on-ground calling. "Fiery" Fred accidentally receives two balls to try to catch simultaneously, with one ball splitting his upper lip and requiring sutures. Fred's not saying anything - he can't, his mouth is taped !
(To be continued)