Bragging rights were up for grabs in this final deciding game between the Falcons (av age over 55 and brimming with talent from yesteryear) and the Magnificent 7's (av age below 55 and glass half empty of talent but glass half full of enthusiasm).
Messrs Paver and Higgins kindly stepping out for the 0900 pushback in steady rain ensuring there was no need to water the top pitch before the start.
The Magnificents fielded a squad of 13 including late returner Bobby Breen, 'on games' again following a cracked rib in training...commitment indeed....or just uncontrolled momentum?
Skipper Venables pulled Stocker to the back with Hack, centre midfield of Image and Burroughs left and Hobbs right, Dolly top of the diamond with Venables left and Graham right, then Darby and Elliott returning as the two man strike force and Webb and Breen subbing on. And not forgetting Phil H securing the goal mouth.
Once again the Falcons (with a few new faces to their squad) produced some elegant passing hockey in the first 10 minutes demonstrating the old lags superior stick control. But the Magnificents soon started making some interceptions and worked the ball quickly out of defense down both left and right channels and came close to taking the lead several times before Dolly found the back board from a well worked passing move. It was a mark of our dominance in the first half that we could have had a hatful but eventually went in for half time 3-0 up following a Darby nudge in and another by Dolly. (Dis)Honorable mention should also go to Breen who could have scored a classic. Adding to the spice of the first half, Higgins produced a green card to Warner for petulance and as the goals kept coming the Falcons ire was raised.
Half time talk encouraged more of the same. The Magnificents felt more chances would fall their way...but forgetting to take into account that if you 'poke the tiger with a stick, its likely to come back and bite you....'
And the Falcons did come back. They packed the midfield and started to find Boots and Dunlow, whilst Burrell also took a more active role in chasing down the 7's and they overall pressed much higher and with greater intensity. One goal became two and eventually they tallied 5 goals despite the usual class performance form Phil. Dolly got a green card as the 7's tackling became a bit 'late' and the Falcons defense tightened with a determined performance from Jones which saw Graham cartwheeling and pirouetting at one point.
So 'victor ludorum' goes to the Falcons. All agreed the games were a great competition played in good spirit and just a joy to be back on the pitch after such a long break. We both played some great hockey and if the 7's finishing had been better then the result would have been different....but then again if our finishing had been better we would have been playing in different teams....The record books will show Falcons take the crown but from the 7's point of view hockey was the winner. We just need Bobby Breen back on those training sessions before next season starts.