Monday 27th May 2013
6pm - The Long Bar, Raffles Hotel, Singapore
It's a lofted drive from the Padang over the long-on boundary and we're sitting in the Long Bar at the Raffles. There is an air of uncertainty as to how it may have come by its name as it is L-shaped and no more than a cricket pitch in the longer dimension - but maybe it's named after the Long Room at Lord's. It doesn't seem quite what it once was - well, it isn't, as it is no longer situated where it once was, in the lobby - and then there is the absence of the pukka-wallers seated discretely behind the palms, pulling the ropes to work the overhead fans, long since replaced by an assembly line of small, electronically-driven fans in line astern below the ceiling. We gather to bid farewell, au revoir, arrivederci, sayonara to our fellow travellers over a Singapore Sling, the iconic drink invented by barman Ngiam Tong Boon a century ago. The Long Bar becomes overrun with Aussie hockey players many of whom seem intent on practising their in-swinging Yorkers, googlies, doosras, and chinamen on any unsuspecting patrons, using the well-stocked bowl of peanuts adorning the tables for their ammunition. Hockey guru, Mike Craig is seen to be trying to bowl a maiden over, and is certainly keeping abreast of the situation. Messrs Hemingway, Maugham and Kipling would be spluttering into their pink gins.
But for us it is the finale of a three week tour that opened with a storm in KL, carried the message of Grand Masters Hockey to the Japanese and spread Australian goodwill as we travelled in the role of unpaid ambassadors (perhaps Julia's foreign affairs department might sponsor us next time ???!!!), and finishes with an apology to a storm in Singapore - it's time to draw stumps gentlemen.
Game 9 - AGGM O/65's. v. Singapore - Sunday 26th May 2013
Level 53 on Swissotel Stamford, Singapore - views of multi-story offices and apartment blocks for miles - small, patches of green are seen in the foreground adjacent to colonial heritage buildings, a legacy of British imperialism of a bygone era. It's time to change for the final game, physio Nigel provides an appointment schedule for those that need therapy but his list of 65's is generally short and straight-forward, being predominately confined to match days. In contrast the 70's physio, Elena, appears to have an ever-lengthening appointment list of septuagenarians who claim to require massage and strapping to keep themselves running. The skies over Singapore change, storm clouds gather and the tropical rains are back as we head for the impressive Sengkang Hockey stadium and a three o'clock start. The rain is light, there are a few distant rumbles of thunder and an occasional lightening flash but compared with our Asian introduction in KL this is a breeze - one problem, there's a red light flashing at the stadium gate and the lightening warning siren is droning on, and on, and on. The Indian players that make up the bulk of the Singapore team suggest it will be turned off at the match time of 3pm and that, in these conditions, they'll probably make a start shortly afterwards. We complete our warm-up and stretches by ten past the hour, although who knows why we need warm up anything in such a climate where we are constantly warmed up to thirty-four degrees and ninety percent humidity. As the red light siren goes relentlessly on and on, the start time becomes progressively more delayed by the Ground Manager, and our serum frustration levels climb to a toxic range. Finally we're on the ground by half-past five and not without some negotiation. Singapore are short of players and want nine-a-side hockey so that the 65's and 70's can play at the same time. After a clear indication of a preference for 11-a-side teams we consider offering them the ham-strung Rod and physio Nigel who's never picked up a hockey stick in his life, but apparently that suggestion was just not 'cricket' !!! With some further negotiation, we lend them two regular players and it's back to 11-a-side hockey, although in other respects there's a feeling of deja vu, giving away one or two decades to the opposition who are again quick around the ground. But spare a thought for Rod "the Rocket" Dyson who is again frustratingly confined to observer status. While tempted to try the dodgy hammy, Rod decides that discretion is the better part of valour and stays on the bench. Macca is playing some measured hockey for the hosts and Kenny Walter, in the role of Singapore central striker, is thriving on some good through passes. There's an early shot swept off the line by Thommo, which Brian claims he is covering, but it's not long before Kenny has put Singapore one in front with a well-taken goal deflected off a defender. Lunger works forward with the ball on the attacking twenty-two and gives a short backstick pass to Tony who bursts into the circle and strikes to the lurking Warren inside the left post. It finds a defender's foot and from the ensuing penalty stroke, the cool-headed Billy Osborn bunts the ball low and just inside the left post for the equaliser. The posse of blue supporters in the stand are on their feet and cheering. Harps makes a stupendous Mark Schwarzer-like save with his left hand glove in the third quarter, but the rebounding ball is picked up at the top of the circle by the ever-eager "Seagull" Walter to score his second. Len, Laurie, Don and Simon are working hard in the humid conditions, and Anton is firing Exocet missiles out of the right defence and has Lunger ducking and weaving to avoid being a casualty !!! Singapore score a lucky third goal but we pick up the pace in the last term with Eric bursting though into the circle where the bouncing ball eludes him before he can make the shot. Doug "Fiery" Truman, strong as ever over the ball leaving opposition players trailing in his wake, he makes a penetrating run towards the danger zone and passes to Tony "Mick" Rodgers who rockets the ball to the backboard for his first Aussie goal. The game is on the line as we make more forays forward and we sense that the Singaporeans, who thought the game was in the bag, are now feeling a little rattled. But the clock runs down, time runs out, the whistle blows, hot bodies head for hot showers, and then upstairs for an even hotter curry.
Singapore 3 [Goal scorers - Ken Walter "Singh" (2), "ANOther Singh" (1)
Australia 2 [Goal scorers - Bill Osborn (penalty stroke), Tony Rodgers]
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday - 22nd to 25th May 2013
- Social times in Kyoto.
When you're on the team bus, making the necessary roadside stops, there are not many indulgences but ice-cream licking outstripped souvenir shopping, and coffee consumption was a distant third. The arrival in Kyoto changes the ball-game, for Kyoto is steeped in Japanese history being the capital city and the seat of imperial power for over a thousand years. Here there are seventeen world heritage sites, and if you visit six temples or shrines every day, you'll need to be here for more than a year. But for a posse of hockey supporters following their men around the country, there is time-out from sitting in the stands and a chance to pursue their sightseeing ambitions of this tour to Japan. Spare a thought for these girls - just how good are they? It is amazing that they are always there for their man, personal manager, team supporter sitting in the stands in their blue shirts come rain or shine, in searing heat and humidity, sometimes with no shade, or with puddles on their seats in a tropical downpour, cheering and waving when the goal is scored. There's Jen and Wiesia from the West and Dorothy from Tamworth, a gaggle of girls from sunny Queensland with Bunny and Joke, Alice and Carol, Ingrid and Jan. There's Elizabeth from Tassie on her first national hockey tour and Helen from Melbourne, the rock of support to our hockey guru, as well as
South Aussie's Anne-Marie, now in absentia. And finally we have the easy-come, easy-go duo from the West, Carol and Alison - have the feeling that they could surreptitiously disappear to the local shops and have a coffee given half a chance, probably wouldn't mind finding themselves on a golf-course or squash court respectively, and wouldn't be too fussed if they missed a moment of the hockey action. Maybe it's the pommie background or just being married to a man called Simon. As for washing their man's sweaty hockey gear after a game and hanging it out to dry at the side of the field, that's definitely not on their agenda - Jan, you're an angel !!! But at Hiroshima, the locals announce that they will give away a prize for the top performance by a team supporter. On the day, there are many worthy contenders in the grandstand with the award going to Ingrid who is never known to be backward in coming forward!
Our guides, Masa and Hero takes us on a walking tour in the late afternoon, down narrow alleyways brushing past the occasional geisha or maiko. By the time the camera clicks they scuttle on and disappear through a doorway. We stumble upon a Shinto shrine, some undergo the purifying ritual with water, as Ingrid shows us how to summon the deity by pulling on the rope that rings the gong. Next day it's off to Nara again on the train but not for hockey - apparently this is where you come to see seventy thousand Japanese school children all neatly attired in the school uniforms, and guaranteed to increase the usual scrum of tourists who are actually trying to catch a glimpse of the impressive Buddhist temple and gardens with deer ambling through the park. Back in the city we take in the samurai Nijo castle with it's squeaky floorboards on which you would need hovercraft footwear to avoid detection, the scenic Golden Pavilion and, lastly, a centre with a pot-pourri of japanese handicrafts. Last day, Friday, clear sunny skies and a small group follow the tour guides onto the train out of Kyoto to a peaceful, rural setting for a walk in the bamboo forest - uncrowded, peaceful, few tourists, and no schoolchildren!
We gather in the evening for our team dinner in Japanese style, with sizzling pots in front of us on the tables for cooking our beef individually, Shaba shabu style. Key individuals are singled out for worthy praise, with awards going to Manager Ric Roberts, Umpire Ian Grant, Captain Len Blyth, Vice-Captain Doug Truman, physio Nigel Friend, and Hockey consultant Mike Craig, not forgetting Coach Bob Claxton who was unable to complete the tour for family reasons. Finally there is much praise for our local guide Masa, to whom we bid or last farewell the following morning at Kansai International airport built on the man-made island in the sea.
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 !!!)
Monday 20th May 2013
The skies clear as we take our leave from Hiroshima, the city the world will never forget. Like Perth that has Rottnest island and its quokkas, so Hiroshima has Miyajima with its deer but, more importantly, on Miyajima there is the famous Itsukushima shrine and its 'floating' torii gate. The cameras are clicking again but our guides Masa and Hero just happen, once again, to navigate us past all the tourist shops !!! Our ferry ride takes us on the return trip past oyster racks floating in the water, and we're on the bus for the long haul to Kyoto. As routes go, there are times for the scenic route and there are times for the direct route, it all depends on your preference. Today there is no mention of scenic bridges and islands !!! The hours roll on and on, there's time for sleep, there's time for thought. Like several others in the group, your scribe has acquired the A1/Sydney/Perth/Malaysia/Japan/whatever else other strain, and definitely succumbed in the last two days. It's not a matter of being wimpish, but when you have had a lifetime in the medical game and you succumb yourself, you are just not used to being on the other side of the fence. Normally, it's the sporting equivalent of having a 'home' game and, there you are, sitting in your comfort zone in the medical rooms with the computer and reference books at your finger-tips when the punters start arriving for their daily fix. When you've been in the game for a lifetime, there are the usual old faces that come in with their ever-lengthening lists (" and while I'm here, doc ........" ), and there are those that have googled everything under the sun and have already labelled themselves with seven different deadly conditions. But, dear readers, I digress - what I am getting round to is that so many of the people with chronic disease, serious disease, that produce relentless symptoms that don't go away, have an amazing ability to cope with great fortitude, and that constantly astounds me.
But now it's like an 'away' game' and your scribe, by contrast, is unwell for two milliseconds with some trivial condition caused by a passing microbiological enemy, and wants it all to disappear in a blink of an eye, as if by magic. Worse still, is when the symptoms disturb the sleep of She Who Should Be Obeyed. It is one thing when you are at home and can take refuge in some far-away, long-since vacated bedroom, once the domain of the younger generation and where now the family cat is sometimes seen curled up asleep in the morning sun. But when you are travelling, then what ??? The academic docs just need to get on their bike and come up with magical new treatments and be able to fix everything - instantly !!! ....... in my dreams. The bus rolls on, we make Kyoto by nightfall.
Game 7 - AGGM O/65's v. Hiroshima - Sunday 19th May 2013
As we wake from our slumbers, the skies are overcast and grey, already there is light rain falling. This casts a sombre mood which is fitting for the moment, as our tour bus takes us to the A-Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Peace Park. The complete and utter devastation that was wrought on Hiroshima by nuclear war is chilling indeed. In silence, we pass by the Children's Peace Monument, inspired by the eleven year old Japanese girl who fought and succumbed to post-radiation leukaemia a decade later. The rain continues to fall as we come to the Cenotaph commemorating all those that lost their lives on August 6, 1945. The Flame of Peace continues to flicker as a reminder to the world and will only be extinguished when the last nuclear weapons on earth have been eliminated. Photographs in the Peace Memorial Museum that demonstrate the awful destruction will be forever etched in the memory.
The rain continues to fall as we drive to the ground, no soccer, no waving crowd today. The large puddles on the pitch continue to fill with rain. We warm up in the corridor inside the stand as the unrelenting rain continues. We should place the 5 - 0 win in its appropriate context, a game against the Hiroshima B team which includes seven girls. The 76 year old takes to the field and wonderful it is to see such a fine lady continuing to play. The six other girls are young and fast with sufficiently good hockey skills that Captain Len, when faced with one attacking forward, is seen to use his considerable bulk to obstruct her progress and then proceeds to fall on top of her. Perhaps he has seen the bulls do this sort of thing back on his farm in the South-West. The score sheet might have been higher had not both goalies, Harps and Brian each playing one half in goal for the opposition who are short in this department. The goals are shared equitably, Mick being the unlucky one with thirteen shots on goal and the one that goes is in disallowed ! Rod pulls up short with a hammy in the second half. One of the girls outpaces the defence late in the game and nearly scores but doesn't. We're wet and cold from the continuous rain as the siren blows, so straight to the hot showers to compete today 's warm-down.
Australia O/65's 5 (Goal scorers - S.Thomson, L.Blyth (pen), E.Davies,
Hiroshima B 0
Game 6 - AGGM O/65's. v Hiroshima Masters - Saturday 18th May 2013
Today there is more than a tinge of sadness - Bob Claxton has had to leave the tour with Anne-Marie, whose sister-in-law is terminally ill from complications of a tropical disease. Our thoughts are with Anne-Marie and all her family at this difficult time.
We make our way to Hiroshima Stadium where the hockey turf is adjacent to the Soccer stadium. It's a big match today, there are spectators everywhere, As the bus drives in, people are waving to us, we feel like sporting celebrities! But apparently they have actually come to watch the soccer game !!! And judging by our standard of hockey that is to come, I am not surprised. We join the queue for Nigel, our friendly Physio, to treat our ageing bodies and ailing muscles and generally strap anything there is to strap in order to keep us on the park. As we wait patiently in line in the treatment room, we are puzzled by the sign on the adjacent door which says Doping Room. Maybe we are going to be drug tested. Or perhaps it is the place to which you go after the game to get some 'ice'.
Hiroshima start with the ball and, in a gesture of friendship, pass It to us. Of course we reciprocate but, judging by the many occasions that this happens during the game, we would have to classify these as unintentional turnovers. Perhaps the missed traps are the result of being distracted by two female players amongst the opposition, and when they are back in defence naturally the circle will be more crowded. There's no Clacko on the bench so Captain Len is trying to give orders from the back but is down to a whisper as laryngitis takes the better of him. We continue to adopt the Claxton tactics and, for all our deficiencies on the day, are making frequent forays into the circle where our striker,who shall be nameless, contrives to have a trio of missed shots on goal, before Lunger finally sweeps home the first goal at his fourth attempt. The gentlemanly conduct of Warren Flower is noted as the referee awards him a goal, but Warren advises the official that the ball hit him on the left foot at the moment he was scoring from nearby the left post. Messrs. Osborn and Flower are both on the scoresheet in the 2nd half, with our fourth from an own-goal after a clean strike by Rod "the Rocket" Dyson. We proceed to the Hiroshima Hockey Reception and are wined and dined at a wonderful evening of international friendship with speeches, awards (best player to Harps who played half the game for the opposition), and much singing and partying.
Australia O/65's 4 (Goal Scorers - S.Williams, B.Osborn, W.Flower)
Thursday 16th & Friday 17th May 2013
Two days on the bus to Hiroshima via Kobe, so not much world-breaking news to report. Peter Sweeney has posted the earlier reports on the Australian Masters website but, so far as I can see, there have not been a lot of 'hits' -well, in fact the haven't been any at all !!! And anyway who wants to read about a bunch of geriatric hockey players.
The Japanese landscape passes by, hills, mountains,trees, lakes, tunnels, the sea, islands and bridges. There is time to reflect. Sixteen are here to play hockey - no mystery as to why they have come , but what about the others ? Why have they come? What's in it for them ? First of all, there's Coach Bob Claxton who has brought his stick along just in case he might get a game on the turf in the event of multiple team injuries. But, like all coaches, we think that Clacko is on the holy grail of Masters Hockey - coaching a gold medal World Cup team, and Japan is just a stepping stone. Then there is Manager Ric Roberts, former Australian Masters player, who is clearly intent on giving something back to the game. His contribution, together with that of John Watts, towards the planning of this tour, to spread the word of Masters Hockey around the globe, has been nothing short of outstanding. It has been three years in the making, with an eleventh hour cancellation of the 2011 tour following the tsunami. Lesser men would have thrown in the towel, but Ricco started all over again! Except for the Japanese classes, Ric went back to the drawing board and his organisational skills down to the last detail have been nothing short of amazing. Travelling umpire Ian Grant, like Ric a one-time Australian Masters player, has hockey in the veins. He polices the turf with quiet authority, an admonishment to a player that questions his decision, but if that player repeats the same indiscretion, then Ian will grant the individual five minutes in the naughty chair ! And then we come to that the most interesting gentleman Michael Craig - what's he doing here ? Well, officially, he has the title of Hockey Consultant. Now, for a person who reached the pinnacle of hockey more than five decades ago, you would think that giving advice to a bunch of old try-hard has-beens might have been just a little frustrating. However, if one was to have a glance at his CV, you begin to realise that he has an affinity for the country of Japan, having turned his hand to coaching and been national coach to the Japan Men's and Women's teams for several years, and for some time was Coach to the Coaches. Mike is a lateral thinker with respect to the game and has that knack of being able to pass on a little of his expertise to individual players to help them improve their Hockey game. He is indeed the hockey " Guru". Lastly, we have Nigel Friend, team physio, not even a hockey player ! He takes leave from his physio practice and comes on tour - voluntary work, spends part of his day having to view some grotesque elderly gentlemen disrobe and present some part of their anatomy for him to rub, massage, and then tape it all together so that they don't fall apart like matchstick figures when they run into an opponent - he is indeed a friend for all !
We stop overnight in Kobe , home of Japanese beef, and some take a short walk to the harbourtown shops and cafes, while the more adventurous take the shuttle bus from the harbour side hotel and head down town. Back on the road again in the morning and, reminiscent of the circuitous route from Perth to KL, we pander to Manager Ric who needs his ''fix' for the day - which is apparently produced by a surfeit of bridges. Bridges, bridges, more bridges as we island hop. But the scenery past which we speed in the bus is nothing short of magnificent. We make Hiroshima by nightfall - we have arrived at the peaceful city.
Game 5 - AGGM O/65's v. Fukui Masters - Wednesday 15th May 2013
The pleasant breeze blowing gives a welcome relief from the relentless heat of yesterday's game. We're fired up early today, Ken "Seagull" Walter runs through the middle, eliminates the full-back, but his shot finds the goalie and the Fukui Masters rebound out of defence. Laurie, taking time out on the bench today to give respite to his corked thigh, observes the lack of talking on the field of play from his spectator's role. By contrast, the Deek" hears his name being called so frequently by Coach Clacko on the bench, that he is left thinking that there must be ten Antons on the turf today !!! Today we are developing greater mid-field control, Doug is always available, and Tony "Mick" Rodgers & Ian "Macca" MacDonald are showing increasing poise over the ball on their Australian debut tour. Good midfield control is providing better linkage between the midfield and strikers, with the ball increasingly reaching the hot spot. Macca comes to the top of the circle, fires a shot at goal, the goalie blocks and falls on the ball. The ever alert Simon "Lunger" Williams steals the ball from under his pads, dives to the right and hooks the ball back behind the goalie into the net. For the first time we score the opening goal. Eric, also on his debut tour, is taking on the Japanese defence down the right wing, crosses the spot but there's nobody home. With Simon "Thommo" Thomson's lionhearted efforts behind the strikers, we press forward again and win a penalty corner. Don Richards calls the play - a shot to Warren at the left attacking post. "The Don" steps up to the plate, he strikes, the ball's on track towards the left post but the flying Lunger intercepts and sweeps the ball past the keeper for number two. Harps and Brian are repelling the marauding Japanese forwards at the other end, where Captain Len Blyth makes an epic save on the attacking right post - which is, of course, the left post for defender Len, you're quite right !!! It's almost half-time but there's enough on the clock for Doug "Fiery" Trueman to fire a missile into the circle with ricochets off the defender into the net. The Japanese are three down at the break, and their trio of elite players spark into action. The overheads are thrown, they're running with the ball all over the park and before we can blink the helpless Harps has two put past him. We steady in the last term, the ever reliable Rod "Rocket" Dyson, solid in left defence and midfield, makes a great run down the left, deep into enemy territory, and hits the ball into the circlewhere Lunger deflects the ball up and over the goalie's head, but the ball dips just over the crossbar and finishes in the netting on top of the goal. Next it's Bill Osborn who makes a magical run down the right wing, weaving his way into the circle but is repelled. It is left to Warren Flower, who receives the ball and steamrolls the goalie, then bunts the ball into the goal for number four but in so doing scrapes some skin off his right arm. It's a pivotal moment, the Japanese drop their heads, Thommo lifts again, rifles the ball straight at the keeper, it's the finest of fine deflections but that's all it needs for a score. We're elated with a win but Harps decides to knock some sense into his head by falling over backwards and hitting his occiput, while Physio Nigel has very thoughtfully arranged cold showers in lieu of an ice-bath for the second day in succession. A bottle of sake is produced in the changing room, the players skull their measure of drink from the bottle, followed by a grimace, followed by " well, I'll have another, if you must insist !!!
Australia 5 (Goal scorers - S.Williams (2), own goal (D.Truman),
W.Flower, own goal (S.Thomson)
Fukui Masters 2
Wednesday 15th May 2013
Today 's pre-match warm-up involves another coach tour, this time we visit the Eihei-Ji temple located on the hillside in the forest, established by the great Zen master Dogen, founder of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. From an Australian hockey player perspective, the benefits of climbing up 217 steps and coming down 216 steps are, of course, increased leg-work and fitness with improving cardio-respiratory reserve - we're not quite sure where the missing step went ! Eihei-Ji , the "temple of eternal peace", founded in the year 1244, is a most tranquil haven that nestles amongst gigantic trees on the mountainside, and is a training centre for Zen Buddhist monks. Perhaps we might also seek absolution for all those passes that go astray ! With a tranquil mind we now proceed to the hockey stadium.