Saturday October 9th turned out to be a great day. It was one of those perfect afternoons that come round about so rarely during the season that the day itself deserves to take centre stage. Or am I losing it totally? I don't think so.
After last week's unremitting deluge this was Saturday hockey at its brilliant best. The promise of a bright cloudless morning had developed into a warm and clear afternoon - more May than October.
The car park at BRN was nicely busy but not so packed that finding a space was problematic. The ground itself was buzzing, the pitches immaculate - very few astroturfs enjoy the sort of attention that HG gives to the BRN turf.
After 2 years of unremitting Covid misery this was a matchless day for hockey .
The kiosk was open and the Ladies 1's locked in battle with Exe. The tennis players were out in force. Spectators, players and whole family groups were very evidently enjoying the conviviality that this magnificent club at its best generates.
The 2's had a decent squad and for once Dunners relied less on his magic board and more on basic principles. Could things get any better??
A competitive and fiercely but fairly contested game against the pride of Newbury and Thatcham followed - ably umpired by Messrs Glasspool and the legend that is Jim Patel. Not a card was shown. Goalless at half time Dunners delivered a talk , without any artificial aids, of such clarity and intensity that I felt quite emotional and actually proffered my congratulations. It was that sort of day!. Am I losing it totally? Probably.
Possibly as a consequence (hey, let's not go totally overboard) the boys managed to win 3-0 after some resilient defence from the visitors and a particularly impressive showing by their keeper - Andrews, Jowett and Hill being on the scoresheet although the last named has absolutely no right to feel smug after an earlier miss right out of the Henry Taylor gold catalogue.
The icing on the cake, and an especially apt end to a near perfect day, was the opening of the clubhouse and bar at long last, which, together with the ever popular Vegetable Dhal, made a more than fitting conclusion to a day of near unbridled enjoyment. I don't know who was happiest me, Ivie on bar duty again or the entire club.
If only every day was like this one.
As one first time visitor to the club premises volunteered " This place has a very nice ,friendly atmosphere". You know what - that's really what it's all about isn't it.
We must be doing something right musn't we? Long may it continue.
Tougher tasks on the horizon for the 2's starting next week with the University Occasionals - but so far so good.
And thanks to Clive for the team photo and match photos.