Valence Vets victorious
Sutton Valence 2 : 1 (Lyndon Davies 2)
Originally this game was timed for January 21st, at Chelmsford, but had to be cancelled due to poor weather. The rearrangement was fixed for 22nd April, but as this was just the week before the Vets would be travelling to Chelmsford for the Tonka Trophy, it was agreed to change the location to Sutton Valence. When last week Chelmsford started to find players unavailable, reaching a point where it looked like they may only have 6 to bring, it was agreed to find extras, and positive contact elsewhere produced results which filled the gaps, with a couple to spare. This included Rory Poulton and John Burton from Tunbridge Wells and John Kitchenham plus one other from Black Knights who were all added to Chelmsford’s team of many colours.
Valence were able to field 12 players, with help from David Glenister and Pat Kyaing, now their East Grinstead Vets’ League was finished, and Lyndon Davies and Bob Bartlett back from injuries.
Before the game started there was a minute’s silence in remembrance of Chelmsford legend Gerald Wilkinson who passed away recently, aged 82, after a relatively short debilitating illness. Gerald had been instrumental in setting up the English hockey teams at over 70 and over 75 that toured abroad. He was also something of an athlete holding long jump titles in his late 70’s. A natural player and gentleman, he will be sorely missed.
In the event all the scoring action in this game occurred in the first half. From the off, Valence’s Roger Fermor, Pat Kyaing and Bob Bartlett controlled the midfield, generally cutting out Evergreens’ attacks and launching the Valence forwards. Stuart Bates produced several shots requiring good saves from the Evergreens’ keeper and Charlie Worsfold also had opportunities, but then they opened up the game 20 minutes in, with a Lyndon Davies’ strike after only a minute on the pitch replacing Stuart Bates who went off with back strain. Evergreens’ guest-player Rory Poulton responded within six minutes however, beating three defenders to level the score at 1 : 1. Valence continued to apply the pressure with Pat Kyaing feeding Lyndon Davies and David Glenister who made several runs into the dee, getting inviting passes across and on one occasion attempting one of this lifted reverse stick shots which sailed just over the bar. Lyndon Davies had another strong shot smothered by the keeper but finally got a second just before half-time. In this period of strong play by Valence there were several short corners gained with no direct conversion, but on 35 minutes Evergreens nearly drew level after a short corner where the ball was finally cleared off the line by Geoff Bell.
The second half saw the Evergreens pressing harder, spending more time in Valence’s half than they had achieved in the first and producing play that required some good reaction from the Valence defence of Bob Sagrott, Geoff Bell, Mike Nettle and keeper Dave Britton in particular. But Valence were still dangerous on the break, with Pat Kyaing getting in some great attacking runs, and Stuart Bates, back on replacing David Glenister after a fall, again going close, and Lyndon Davies still in dangerous form.
Although there were no more goals, both sides continued to exploit opportunities up until the final whistle in what was a really enjoyable game.
Man of the Match: Lyndon Davies
Team: Dave Britton (keeper); Bob Sagrott; Geoff Bell; Mike Nettle(Capt); Bob Bartlett; Stuart Bates; Pat Kyaing; David Glenister; Roger Fermor; Lyndon Davies; Paul Linaker; Charles Worsfold.
Umpire: Nick Willson
Next week the Vets have their final outing for the season, taking part in the Tonka Tournament at Chelmsford.