6. Over 65's AGGM - 2014 Hockey World Cup
31st May 2014 - Leuven, Belgium
Today's morning exercise is a guided walk around the university town of Leuven and just for a change we finish by sampling another of the many local beers !!! Following yesterday's warm-up in the Hoegaarden breweries, we wonder if there is a new pattern emerging with Coach Clacko's thinking, he presumably being of the opinion that a higher percentage of ale consumed may result in a concomitant increased percentage in ball possession against the Belgian 65's in the late afternoon game to come. The post-walk beer gives way to the team meeting at which Coach shows increasing perspicacity realising that Belgian ale reduces the receptivity of team neurones. So, gone are the video replays and ball tracking diagrams that mimic my three year old granddaughter's scribbling with different coloured textas. Team Coach has turned Team Psychologist and the message of the day is that The Impossible is Possible. We arrive at Hoegaarden Hockey club dressed in the blue Hoegaarden shirts which have been presented to us after last night's game, much to the appreciation of the local club. The blue gives way to Aussie gold as we line up to play Belgium and, for the first time on tour, we no longer have to compete against younger players. Although the opening quarter is dominated by Australia, the Belgians go to the first change on equal terms, ttbut the story is the same as the second quarter opens. We transfer down the right with Anton "the Deke" Dekens making a laser-like diagonal pass to the hotspot where Simon "Lunger" Williams sweeps the ball into the net for the opening goal. The floodgates are now open as striker Barry "Paicy" Paice makes a shot off the right post and the rebound falls to Keith "Robbo" Robertson who scores his first goal in international hockey. The back-from injury players, Flying Fred Carter and Gil Voysey, are running well and, with Winton "Sir Winston" Inkster, Donald "The Don" Richards and Rod "Rocket" Dyson providing good ball up front, we score again as Captain Doug Truman delivers a well-weighted pass to the right post where Tony "Mick" Rodgers chalks up number three. There's still time for a fourth from Simon "Thommo" Thomson before we go to the main break. Ian " Makka" MacDonald who carried the weight of the team on his back yesterday is resting his injury today and accepts the role of cameraman duties. He claims that he is not used to taking film of so many people wearing clothes but at the end of the day was complimented by Coach on his filming ability. To which our Makka was quick with the retort " Oh, I haven't been behind a camera since I was in Hollywood !!!" As he starts to roll the camera at the start of the third quarter, it's the same story as Tony scores again with a well taken sweep into the net off the backstick. Umpire Rod "Pancho" Hurst keeps a tight rein on proceedings, but local Belgian umpire permits play to run allowing the fourth play-on advantage in about ten seconds by which time the Aussies have long since forgotten who had the last touch before the ball trickled across the line for Goal number 6 which was credited to the laconic Keith Chay. Chopper drills the seventh off a penalty corner and leads to Coach Bob Claxton to demand ball possession in the final term, only allowing Keith " Gadget" Jervis to score a goal. Gadget receives so much ball in the attacking twenty-two, keeps trying to beat seven defenders in succession that by the time he tries to strike for goal he's physically stuffed. The score stays 1at 7- 0 and Champagne is brought out on the ground to celebrate the occasion. Coach has one more training drill of one on ones, with goalie Neil "Cossie" Coster keeping the sheet clean. Goalie John "Harps" Harper goes to ground to make the save but somehow has the ball trapped underneath with his back compressed under with the weight of his opponent who has fallen across him. The rest of the play is abandoned for the day, Harps eventually is helped to his feet and the Aussie physical therapy and medicos decide that serious injury has been excluded. The belated BBQ is enjoyed by all, with the remaining competition of the night being who shall participate in the last bottle of red. It's like being demanding of the ball on-field - and demanding the wine brings its rewards !!!