Seniors 'steal' win in turkey trot

THE Penarth Hockey Club brought the curtain down on the first half of its 2013-14 season with the traditional ‘Turkeys’ game between senior and junior members at Barry Sports Centre.

Two sides, made up of players either side of the 30-year mark, were press-ganged into one further appearance after a hard-fought autumn league campaign, bribed by the promise of a liquid warm-up rather than the usual flexing and stretching. With some old faces making a welcome return for the weekend, the line-ups – under the command of Corporal Jones and General Grant respectively – featured a blend of players from the 1st, 2nd and Veteran XIs, with Phil Lane bravely volunteering to umpire solo.

As has become the norm with 'Turkeys' games, players were given the opportunity to try out positions unfamiliar to them on a regular Saturday, and 25 minutes of goalless action highlighted just how out of their depth some were. Although the seniors enjoyed their moments in front of goal, returnee 'keeper Ben Jewess was rarely called on to make a save while, at the other end, 1st XI shot stopper Mark Harris single-handedly kept his regular team-mates at bay.

The deadlock was finally broken in scrappy fashion as 2nd XI 'keeper Calum Grant led from the front, bundling the ball across the line after another rearguard action from Harris ultimately came up short in the face of greater opposition forces.

The sides turned around just a goal apart, but the juniors emerged from the break determined to prove their superiority. It didn’t take long for the lead to double as Sam Wooding - having not featured in the opening half - was left uncaged in the seniors’ 25, and comfortably beat Harris in a one-on-one contest.

The seniors refused to buckle, however, and, with Craig Llewellyn – who had clearly left his shooting boots at home – drifting back to a more familiar sweeping role, the side enjoyed more opportunities in front of goal. However, despite the fierce leniency of Lane’s umpiring, the older side could not find a way past Jewess, and fell further behind with a quarter of the game remaining as Chris Baker fired home - Harris only aware of the jetstream passing his face mask before the sound of ball on post signalled the third goal of the game.

It was shortly after this apparently decisive moment, and with time ticking down, that Lane invoked the ‘next goal the winner’ rule, giving the seniors added incentive to press forward. Having spurned one chance to wrap the game up, when Jones missed from the penalty spot, age finally told over beauty when a quick ball from the back was worked into the juniors’ D and eventually forced home by Freddie Thomas to steal a famous victory.

Despite the obvious disappointment of seeing their hard work undone in such devastating fashion, the juniors sportingly provided the post-match refreshments, with copious - and welcome - lashings of home-made chilli on tap to accompany the traditional liquid refreshment at Penarth Athletic Club.

Teams - U-30s: Calum Grant (captain), Tom Harran, Gareth Hurman, Sam Wooding, Arthur Jones, Joe Wells, Tom Parkinson, Chris Baker, Mat Noble, David Willliams and Ben Jewess (gk). O-30s: Graeme Jones (captain), Dave Stevens, Richard Baker, Mark ‘Jonty’ Thomas, Rob Harrison, Dave Thomas, Freddie Thomas, Zbig Sobierski, Mark Robinson, Sam Doherty, Ian Smith, James ‘Cuzzler’ Davies, Craig Llewellyn and Mark Harris (gk).

With no further action until the New Year, players young and old have a chance to lick their wounds for a few weeks before the Veterans get things underway again with a mid-January fixture against Whitchurch. League action resumes a week later, with the 1st XI hosting Wotton-under-Edge and the 2nd XI travelling west to take on bottom side Trinity St Davids.

The club always welcomes new, old and returning players, umpires, supporters, friends and helpers, regardless of age and ability. Training takes place on the artificial turf at Barry Sports Centre every Wednesday, with the juniors in action between 6-7pm and seniors between 7-8pm.

Further information can be obtained from club secretary Dave Stevens (d_stevens81@hotmail.co.uk)

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