10. Over 65's AGGM - 2014 Hockey World Cup
4th June 2014 - Den Haag, Netherlands
Opening Ceremony - Rain. Assemble on the grass paddock at the back. A modicum of organisation, until we are invited to line up in teams, then four in a row, then single file. Eventually amble out in seemingly random order. Dutch players line the gate applauding, band is playing - nice! Then disordered chaos, teams seem to be shuffling off the ground through a side gate. We seem to be on the wrong side of the fence, spectators again. Some even head off for more training, called to the bar (so that's why a law degree is so popular !!!). Welcome speeches in the rain, flags are hoisted, Aussie flag at half-mast as we remember the sad passing of the wife of one of our Southern Cross colleagues. Time to call it a day.
9. Over 65's AGGM - 2014 Hockey World Cup
3rd & 4th June 2014 - Den Haag, Netherlands
Hotel Van der Valk in Nootdorp on the outskirts of Den Haag provides palatial sized accommodation compared with the dog box rooms of The Expo back in Leuven. The girls head down to beachside Scheveningen where it is a chilly overcast morning and there are no takers for donning the bathers for a dip in the North Sea. Team 65's bus heads to the hockey ground at Klein Zwitserland HC where we are unceremoniously dumped a kilometre from the ground and embark on a route march along the road, down a flight of steps which would do credit to Jacob's Ladder, along past the market gardens and finally make it to the ground - it's well endowed with five pitches, of which we sample three, each with a different surface. Some training drills and warm -up games against two Southern Cross teams provide the entertainment for the morning. Then it's back to Nootdorp to shower and dress for the Australian Teams Dinner. The players in green blazers, white shirt and team tie accompanied by the ladies in their finery make a splendid sight. We indulge in a wonderful feast and find it difficult to refuse the accompanying beers and wines which we presume are all part of the training and rehydration programme, given the precedence that has already been set in Hoegaarden !!! The Australian Grand Masters hierarchy make the dinner speeches, presentations are made and our own team members Neil Coster and Ric Roberts receive acknowledgements. Several retire to the bar to maximise the training programme ! Next morning, at breakfast, it is back to the drawing board for some, as we note The Don sitting with a large plateful of cooked breakfast before him, despite the gargantuan three course dinner of last night. When challenged, the Don, with great aplomb, explains it away by remarking "We do a lot of work in defence !!! ". At the team meeting that follows Makka receives accolades for his work behind Bob's camera at Hoegaarden as we watch video of our play in the game v. Belgium. However given that he missed filming your scribe's opening goal of the game, we'll only give him a nine out of ten.