Knights draw out
Octogenarian stuns with a penalty flick
Sutton Valence 2 : 2 Black Knights (Stuart Bates; Paul Linaker p/f)
Although the two teams had met each other only 2 weeks earlier, it was decided to arrange a
further game to fill a gap in the Vets’ fixture list and also to ensure Valence’s special veteran,
Paul Linaker, had something to do on the day after his 80th birthday. A sumptuous lunch
afterwards at the Queens Head was also planned to celebrate Paul’s achievement.
There were no problems with the weather this week or with the team availability as Valence
could muster 13 players. The Black Knights had bolstered their numbers with 4 loaned from
The first half proved to be a ding-dong battle with both sides having scoring chances but failing to capitalise on them. Valence’s Nigel Bardsley at centre half distributed the ball efficiently to his forwards but the many opportunities were either squandered, misshit or saved by the excellent keeping of the Knights’ keeper loaned by Kenley. At the other end the Valence defence dealt efficiently with the Knights’ attacks despite at times pressing
up field and laying themselves open to breakaway goals.
At half time there was no score but soon after the restart Stuart Bates latched onto a pass
into the dee and efficiently put it past the keeper to put Valence one up. In response to this
deficit, the Knights upped their game and started to look more dangerous, but keeper Dave
Britton, Hamish Dow, Mike Nettle continued to keep the opposition out, although they were
assisted by several misses by the Knights’ forwards. At the other end Valence also continued to avoid scoring but it was the Knights who broke their duck to level the score from a short corner 1-1. In the dying minutes of the game, things took an unusual turn. Valence were awarded a penalty flick and who should march up to take it but the 80 year old Paul Linaker, who, untroubled by the pressure put on him, efficiently slipped it past the keeper. There were only a few minutes left but Knights managed two more attacks, the first of which resulted in a missed open goal, but the second was successful to make the final score 2-2, a fair result after an enjoyable game.
Following the game the Queen’s Head put on an excellent two course lunch to mark the special 80th birthday occasion. It was a good contest both on and off the field, enjoyed by all,
and a good example of how Vets’ hockey should be played.
Man of the Match: Hamish Dow
Team: Dave Britton (keeper); Hamish Dow (Capt), Bob Sagrott; Geoff Bell; Andrew McVarish,
Nigel Bardsley; Mike Nettle; Rupert Humphrey, Paul Linaker; Julian Mills; Stuart Bates; Roger
Fermor; Charles Worsfold;
Umpire: Nick Willson