Veterans Over 50s Match Report from Tony Perrin

Monday, 18th of March 2013

This was posted by Lincoln Hockey Club prior to the creation of Lindum Hockey Club
Result: Lost 4 – 3 Scorers: A Wright, T Perrin (2)

Tony PerrinLincoln’s Over 50s team travelled all the way to Birmingham for their semi-final match against Barford Tigers and were unlucky not to get a result out of the game.

The home side started the game better than the “Imps” and their wealth of experience as former National League players looked like they were going to swamp the not so experienced Lincoln side. It was no surprise when they went ahead with a very soft goal around the back of the Lincoln defence, with the ball being crossed from the right to an unmarked player on the far post to make it 1 – 0 to Tigers. They continually harassed the Imp’s defence in the opening minutes with their superior stick work and passing manoeuvres cutting through Lincoln’s rear guard. However, following a foul in the Tiger’s goal area Lincoln were awarded a penalty corner and Andy Wright stepped up to fire home the equaliser with a well struck shot. 1 – 1 and everything to play for and still Lincoln made themselves their worst enemies with ball watching at times and not seeing where the Tiger’s forwards were moving into space to attack their goal area. Even still it was a complete surprise when a Tiger’s player ran fully 40 metres with the ball and fired a weak shot towards the Lincoln goal which went in off the post, with Peter Richards, in the Imps’ goal thinking it was going wide and making a totally uncharacteristic error of judgement. 2 – 1 to Barford Tigers and they were now growing in confidence with two of their midfield players now dominating the game.

Billy Marwaha and, particularly, Tony Wing were playing well in the Imp’s midfield, with the latter having one of his best games for Lincoln. Kevin White was gaining some excellent points in the “theatrical” stakes when he was continually being physically abused by many Tiger’s players and caught with dangerous stick contact many times during the game. Chris Topham, playing with a recent dislocated little finger, produced his usual tight marking game in the middle of the Lincoln defence with Peter Rushmere and Paul Brazinskas on either side of him. They were all, along with Wright, fully stretched again when Tigers capitalised with a really soft goal to make it 3 – 1 before half-time.

Dave Yorkshire replaced Rushmere and Tim Sutton went back into an attacking right back position. Imps started to play some better hockey and came very close on many occasions, with particularly Wright firing just past the left post, just missing Wing who could have slotted the ball home. Wing and Yorkshire in the same move both nearly scored, with the latter firing over the top from close range. Richards saved one particular shot with a brilliant full stretched save to his right. Certainly, at half-time, Lincoln were not out of this game.

At this stage we should mention the outrageous tactics shown by the home team in querying most decisions made by the two rather poor appointed umpires and they were getting away with a series of “professional” fouling. With two umpires that were continuously intimidated by the Tiger’s players, it was disappointing that neither umpire was strong enough to take full control of the situation and penalise them. Tigers scored their fourth goal after about ten minutes of the second half. This should have pushed the tie well away from Lincoln’s reach, but they had not anticipated the fitness and fight of the Imp’s or their team spirit. Eventually, the umpires had seen and heard enough and Barford were down to ten men, which inspired Lincoln. Steve Seymour was replaced by “old timer” Tony Perrin and Rushmere returned in place of Yorkshire. Steve Ward, having recovered from his calf injury in the Khalsa game, moved back into midfield and Lincoln started, for the first time in the match, to dominate the play.

Lincoln’s strength has always been their stamina and it was not long before Imps were given a free hit for a foot incident by Tigers on the left hand side near the 23 metre line. Lincoln took it quickly and Wing latched on to the ball in the area to fire home giving the goalkeeper no chance. 4 – 2 … or was it not to be? One umpire signalled a goal and this is where poor umpiring and Barford’s player’s attitude were not seen at their best. Tigers complained about the original foot incident and remonstrated so much with the other umpire that he reversed his original decision (I could not believe it)! This was outrageous, as the other umpire had awarded a perfectly well taken goal … which should have stood in the rules of hockey. A serious error of judgement by the umpires had taken place in reversing the original decision after Tigers’ major intimidation to one of the umpires – a scandalous incorrect decision was made by them (this was confirmed by two well qualified umpires after the game). It did not last long, however, as Perrin was soon on hand to deflect a shot going wide from Sutton past the Tiger’s goalkeeper to make it officially 4 – 2. Another Barford player was then removed from the game, following a long overdue decision of verbal abuse to the umpires, and again Imps capitalised when Sutton, from outside the 23 metre line, fired in an inch perfect pass to Perrin on the edge of the circle, who, despite his advancing years, then drove into the goal area between two defenders and fired home a venomous shot to make it 4 – 3. Lincoln were well and truly back in the game and the only thing that was going to stop them winning the game now was the watch and how much time was left in the match.

Barford Tigers were on the rack and with seconds ticking away Imps were awarded a penalty corner just before the final whistle went. The penalty corner has to be played out and if Lincoln scored this it would be straight to penalty strokes to decide the winner. Unfortunately, the usual faultless slip of the ball to Marwaha from Wright did not work and, despite an under pressure shot from the Imps’ skipper, Tigers managed to prevent a goal and obtain a free hit – game over! We can only comment now on how well Lincoln got back into the game in the last 20 minutes of the match and it was the watch that beat them and not necessarily Barford Tigers. As a footnote, it was a great shame that the Midlands Umpiring Association, and England Hockey for that matter, could not have appointed two stronger umpires to deal with the verbal abuse from the home team, which was quite outrageous at times and very unsporting. Apart from that we all really enjoyed the encounter and Lincoln can hold their heads high for their gentlemanly play, spirit shown in the game and their respect for the umpires appointed. Well done guys – last four is one hell of an achievement.

This was posted by Lincoln Hockey Club prior to the creation of Lindum Hockey Club

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