Before the game started there was a brief presentation made to the Club’s oldest playing member, Paul Linaker. A new shirt bearing his name and his number as 80, the age he will reach in exactly two months’ time on 17th February 2017 was handed to him by Club President, Nick Willson. As he is already in his 80th year the Club thought the presentation immediately prior to Christmas appropriate. In expressing his thanks for their generosity of spirit Linaker warned his team-mates that, rather than retiring, he might now be around for a few years yet to get full value from his shirt! A KM photographer was present to record the event.
Playing conditions for this game against old rivals Canterbury Friars were not too good, with a prolonged thick mist which the sun failed to penetrate making it difficult at times to see where the ball was until it arrived out of the murk. This certainly added to the difficulties for the umpires, who coped well in the circumstances.
With both teams including members from senior teams not normally playing for them, the game developed into an interesting battle of both individual skills and how they fitted into the normal playing pattern of the respective teams. By half-time the honours were still even with no score from either side, though both had had opportunities.
Half-time was celebrated with appropriate festive drink and mincepies.
The second half maintained both the same visual difficulties and end to end activity until a sliced clearance by Valence turned into a perfect pass for a Friars player who had no qualms about putting it away. From there on, whilst the conditions briefly improved and then worsened sufficiently to question whether the game should continue, the tempo rose somewhat as Friars tried to build on their lead and Valence aimed to get back on even terms. Short corners that might have clinched it for Friars failed and then from a second short corner for Valence Rob Ife struck strongly to net. Initially the goal was queried by Friars as it had been above the backboards but this was because it had been deflected by a defender’s stick and was adjudged by the umpire to have been at an appropriate height initially.
So a draw was the fitting final result for this festive outing which concluded with chilli con carne and rice and suitable local beverages.
Team: Al Burt (keeper); Bob Sagrott; Andrew Wishart; Hamish Dow (capt); Rob Ife; Chris Sheldon; Rupert Humphrey; Paul Linaker; Julian Mills; Roger Fermor; Stuart Bates.
Umpire: Stuart Weedon
The Vets now take a break for Christmas and the New Year and on 7th January are playing Wallington Mohicans away at 2.15.
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Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.