17. Over 65's AGGM - 2014 Hockey World Cup
11th June 2014 - Den Haag, Netherlands.
Act 2. Scene 1.
The curtain goes up for the penultimate performance. The English Captain calls for three cheers for the Aussies and President Truman responds. Gadget is playing the understudy role today, as our Friendly Physio is keeping him on ice for the Grand Finale tomorrow. The scene opens with Australia in possession of the ball, making all the plays. We're up in attack pressing, winning three penalty corners in quick succession and, from the third of these, Neil "Chopper" Sue See hammers the ball a foot inside the left post. The England goalie, an avid England soccer fan as a ten year old during the 1966 World Cup, emulates a spectacular Gordon Banks save deflecting the ball wide of the post, receiving the plaudits of his teammates. The Aussie attacks are finally repelled and, after a quick breakaway to the other end, it is the turn of goalie John "Harps" Harper who is forced to make a telling save. The Aussies have a lot of the ball, but it's the turnovers that are proving costly with the fast English strikers producing some gaping holes in the Aussie defence which leads to the first score of the match. England are ahead by a goal at the first turn and, for the first time in the tournament, Team 65 Australia is trailing in a match. The coach is ropeable, steam is coming out of his ears. We come out firing in the second quarter, strikers Paicey, Robbo and Tony are applying an effective press when the ball is turned over. We're moving the ball around the park with more intent and Chopper passes down to the attacking right where Simon "Lunger" Williams brings the ball into the circle and causes the opposition to infringe. The blistering penalty corner strike from Keith Chay rattles the backboards just inside the right post and the game is all tied up.
Act 2. Scene 2.
The game is in the balance as the teams run out at the start of the third quarter. Midfielders "Thommo", "Makka", "Fiery" Fred and "Rocket" are working tirelessly. It's the same format as before, with the Aussies holding much possession of the ball and attacking hard, but the English defence remains impenetrable. Honours are even at the beginning of the fourth quarter with both teams searching for the winning score. We're into the last five minutes and the Englishmen are, all of a sudden, carving up the Aussie defences with The Don, "Boonz" and Anton all fighting a rearguard action. And then comes Neil "Cosi" Coster who brings off a hat-trick of spectacular saves to keep us in the game. The whistle blows, it's full-time and all tied up at one goal apiece, so it's now to a one-on-one shoot out.
Act 2. Scene 3.
The final act. The audience hold their breath for the final curtain to go up. The finest example of bureaucratic ineptitude is about to unfold. On the w(h)im of the Tournament Director, the teams are being asked to vacate the pitch and disappear down to the sand-based pitch on the periphery of the hockey grounds and play the one-on-ones on the "beach", so that they can make up for the time delays on the premier turf earlier in the day.
The Play of the Day started with the Comedy of Errors, was followed by the Drama, and has now turned into the Farce. The Anglo-Australian alliance stands firm with the respective team managers and coaches rock solid in advising the tournament officials that neither team is leaving the field until there is a result. Play is resumed, one goalie and five strikers are appointed by each team captain. Gadget goes into bat for the Aussies, drags the goalie left and turns to his right, he scores. England reply and goalie John "Harps" Harper is beaten, one all. Rod "Rocket" Dyson goes next and cool as a cucumber makes no mistake but so does No.2 for the Poms. "Chopper" Neil just beats the clock and makes no mistake and we're ahead 3 - 2 after Harps makes a wonderful save to deflect the ball past the defending left post. Barry "Baz" Paice fails to convert but Harps keeps us in front by one. Winton "Boonz" Inkster steps up to the plate - a conversion will seal the game for the Aussies but he is beaten by the clock as it ticks past eight seconds. The crowd are on the edge of their seats as English striker "Santa" steps forward. He takes off at speed moving to the right, Harps goes with him, they stop, "Santa" goes further right, he fires at goal from an impossibly tight angle - the ball rattles the attacking left post and many in the crowd think he has tied up the game but the ball hits the outside of the post and rebounds into the field of play and all the Aussies leap into the air in unison - it's an epic Ashes victory !!!
England O/65's 3
Australia O/65's 4 (Goal Scorers - K.Chay, K.Jervis, R.Dyson, N.Sue See)