Game 8 - AGGM O/65's v. Tenri University - Tuesday 21st May 2013
It's not too many times, as a hockey player, that you drive to the ground having stopped off to see a fashion show. Yes, today we start events with a kimono show, the Japanese beauties are on the catwalk, parading their colourful costumes, and the cameras are clicking. As for all that paraphernalia at the back, must take an age to get dressed in the first place, and you wouldn't want to have had too many beers and need to get to the rest room in a hurry, with all that gear on !!! Time waits for no man, especially when you are stuck in a traffic jam after the kimono show. We finally clear Kyoto city and head out behind schedule to the hockey ground at Tenri University, in Nara City. We recall those halcyon days at Uni when we were twenty and were chasing girls - well, today we are chasing girls again, all afternoon, only this time we have no chance of catching them. As the whistle blows, the stillness in the air is broken by a cacophony of sound that's like a thousand birds tweeting their overtures from the trees on the turf's perimeter. But no, this is the constant verbal japanese dialogue that's emanating from this highly polished female hockey team who have great stick skills that will leave you for dead if you make the slightest error. Passes that might have been good against other sixty-five year olds are picked off with consummate ease and we are chasing heels again on another seemingly forlorn mission. We receive a pass, start to go forward with the ball, and before you can blink an eye, there is a flying red-shirt who steals it off you and we back-pedal again. If your trap is not perfect and it bounces off a metre, before you have time to reach for it with your stick, the ball is gone. It's like they're in an F1 Ferrari and we're in a Model T Ford. As our readers might surmise, there is not much to report about strikers in a game of this type - they run their butts off all day for very little ball and , much as they might like to achieve more penetration, any potential avenues are quickly closed. Mid-fielders Thommo, Don, Mick and Macca are watching the ball flying around the park off the red sticks with precision passing, and finding it hard to intercept and make a play. The deep defence is under siege all afternoon. Laurie and The Don are making telling contributions, wave after wave of red shirts attack the circle, we clear a few metres, then they're back again so Anton thinks enough is enough and, figuratively speaking , pulling the big Titlest RAZR driver out of the bag, he smokes the ball like a rocket down the fairway and we're into enemy territory. Captain Len is a colossus in defence, making innumerable saving tackles, and behind him goalie Harps plays a blinder of a first half. He is blocking, kicking, twisting and diving, parrying this way and that way in an amazingly acrobatic display of goalkeeping that you could wish to see. For this Aussie team to keep the score sheet to a single goal off a short corner to Tenri Uni at the long break is incredible, given the calibre of this opposition. There is no relief in sight in the second half with the Tenri reds running twenty-six players off the bench throughout the game - yes, that's right, twenty-six !!!
They all seem to be as fast as Flo-Jo down the Olympic hundred metre track and have the skills of Trini Powell on the hockey pitch and it is spectacular hockey to watch unless you are on the receiving end. By contrast, coming off our bench today is your scribe, smitten by some asian organism, giving short five minute breaks to relieve the on-field strikers. And then we have Ric Roberts making a guest appearance, and being one of the few players during the game to make position to receive a pass and then have time to distribute the ball without it being intercepted. Tenri finally score a field goal in the third term and scramble another following a penalty corner after Brian, now in goal, blocks the initial shot. Brian and the defence continue to play heroic hockey in the last quarter and, given the quality of the opposition, to have the scoreboard at 0 - 3 with only three minutes on the clock is a lion-hearted effort. But fatigue sets in to the 'green and gold' who are giving away four to five decades to the girls in red, and in the dying minutes two more goals are added to the tally. Quality Youth wins the day !!!
Tenri University 5
Australia 0 (Goal scorers ....... in our dreams only !!!)