Cayman took so much stick

The Cayman Hockey Club recently went to Jamaica for a few days of field hockey in Kingston.

The team of 21 players (five vets, 10 men and six ladies) with their entourage of nine supporters, played a gruelling five games over the course of one and a half days against first rate opposition.

The first game was between the Cayman men’s XI against the Jamaican Defence Force XI bright and early on the Saturday morning.

With the Jamaican TV cameras there, both teams wanted to show what they could do and to keep their supporters happy.

The JDF were a well organised and talented young team that played with military precision until Jamie Ware broke through their ranks and scored a sweet goal.

The second game of the day was a mixed one. The Cayman defence consisting of Bryony Platt, Harold Forte, Alister Carter and Simon Garnett produced some tidy tackles and the team soon took the lead with goals from Emily Walshe; Charles Jackson, from a well practiced short corner routine that he had perfected on the dance floor the night before; and Simon Palmer, fresh from his nappy changing responsibilities.

Sadly Alex Horner, on her debut on the international stage, took a fierce blow to her foot from an unfortunate tackle and although she attempted to play on had to retire from the game.

Petal Toby started shakily at first, not quite sure what direction the team were playing due to the fact that she had her shorts on back to front. Once this was rectified she made some superb runs through the Jamaican defence.

Lauren (Ralph) Christie as ever played with discreet elegance and a classic style, probably remembering her Polo days.

The final event of the day was another men’s game against the JHF President’s XI whose players at some point had played for the Jamaican national side.

Mark Williams, the team transport manager, playing in the unfamiliar role as right back was able to produce a wobbly run caused mainly by his lack of balance, and with the momentum of his 200 pounds from numerous lunches propelling him towards goal, produced a shot just past the right hand post.

A hard fought game in which the experience of the five choir boys of Cayman, Simon Barwick, Andy Cousins, Paul Sleep, Mark Williams and Terry Choudbury managed to frustrate the Jamaican youth until the light failed, the ball could not be seen, and Brian Uzzell exchanging his stick for an umpiring role blew the final whistle.

Day two started off with a second mixed game against Team Jamaica. Emily Walshe scored her second goal of the weekend.

Petal Toby again put together some brilliant solo runs drawing in the Jamaicans. Trudy ‘Scrumptious’ Goodband fresh from her Caribbean cruise was the answer to Cayman’s wishes being a solid figure in the centre of the defence. Unfortunately, the final score line did not reflect the pressure the mixed team put on the Jamaican side.

The fifth and final game of the weekend was Cayman men’s against the JHF President’s XI. A rematch from the day before with both teams now knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Was this young Jamaican side able to take on the experience of the Cayman side and could this Jamaican side get the ball past the speed and agility of Cayman goalie Ivan Burges, who had already produced some outstanding saves earning himself the award of player of the tournament?

The first half was a close affair, 0-0. The goal mouth was like the final scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with the Jamaicans coming out all sticks blazing.

Burges magnificently saved a penalty flick, only to be denied the glory as the second umpire reversed the decision.

Bravery was paramount as Alton Davis threw himself in front of a shot that was screaming into the roof of the net and deflected it over the bar with his head.

While Davis was being treated, Cayman were able to take a breather from the endless onslaught from the Jamaican side.

The display of skill was outstanding, the dribbles, the shots and flicks on goal all kept the supporters on their feet. The ageing defence tried so hard to keep a clean sheet, something which they all had trouble doing, particularly during their teenage years.

All five were won by Jamaica but every hiding was taken in good spirits.

The Jamaican Hockey Federation were the epitome of great hosts and following the games the two clubs honoured each other, with Cayman captain Nigel Bates and president Brian Uzzell giving a special thanks to the JHF president, Victor Tomlinson and secretary Andrea Stephenson for their hard work in producing such a successful and enjoyable tournament, and to Jacques Scott for sponsoring Cayman.

Both sides look at this as being the start of an on-going relationship and a regular fixture.

The Cayman Hockey Club plays twice a week and encourages new players – women and men – of all skill levels to come along.

PULLED

Mark Williams, the team transport manager, playing in the unfamiliar role as right back was able to produce a wobbly run caused mainly by his lack of balance, and with the momentum of his 200 pounds from numerous lunches propelling him towards goal, produced a shot just past the right hand post.

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