SATURDAY 3rd – lost 1-0 to North of England
Despite Dobbin Dunbar seeming reticent to start the game; he, with Graham Dick and Tony Walker as the two wing-backs gelled well with CB Andy Evitt (new to us but gets my vote for the o70s) which left Ian McCreath to sweep all over the pitch. Neil Macrae after his “you want me to play where” look was inspired as CM and ably assisted by Steve Laux. Paul Finch in goal had a great game saving numerous shots and PCs; sadly he admitted that the previous evening he had manicured his feet – his only excuse for their one goal not clipping his toenails. Brian de Mattos and Duncan Mitchell played well and had their chances and late in the game called for the sweeper to come and remove a discarded crisp packet in the opposition’s D which Ian swept along with the loose ball towards goal – their keeper dived for the crisp packet but with the raised ball goal-bound a stick from nowhere deflected it wide.
SATURDAY 3rd – lost 3-1 to LX White
LX White were playing their infamous passing game of musical triangles to keep our defence hemmed in and from this scored the first goal. It wasn’t all one way though with our wing-mids Andy Cooper, Ian Lynch and Martin Fuller (the latter two also alternating into the forwards) creating good space with several chances and PCs. That was when the “Masked Man” first appeared. Neil Macrae’s PC receipt was heavily pressured and he slipped the ball left; suddenly the Masked Man was there and fired a silver bullet into the backboards for 1-1. Sadly LX laid GOAL on a double and then triple letter score which left us scrabbling.
SUNDAY 4th – Mixed Hockey
On the Sunday Thistles were split in to four half teams and Ian McCreath with five of our players was allocated six delightful LX 70s Lionesses. The Ladies were offered their favoured positions leaving the men to fill the rest with, I was pleased to say, Neil Macrae again as CM… Neil? Neil! Where are you? Gone, so Ian McCreath with Peter Haines were left to fill the void.
Game One – win 1-0
The organisers had set us against Peter Klein’s Thistles plus LX Ladies team – a very enjoyable game. We used our ladies wisely and a great move by them on the right wing and the ball flew across the circle just missed by Magz who should have scored when suddenly the Masked Man appeared and fired a silver bullet into the backboards. With us having won 1-0 Peter Klein admitted he hadn’t recognised the player who scored.
Game Two – win 1-0
Meanly the organisers had us stand in for the English team who had been sent homewards to think again. So immediately after the previous game we played Ian Pett’s team. A very friendly game and especially the squeeze that Ian game me from behind in a place not even my wife dare go – I returned the compliment with a Vinny Jones moment. Neil Ward marshalled the defence for us outletting to the girls who were using the wings so effectively. Next thing a pass up the right and into the circle and there was Tonto almost on the base line. Kimo Sabe fired a single shot and in amazement at scoring from this cutest of acute angles we watched as Duncan Mitchell returned to the halfway line with a big grin on his face. The Masked Man himself appeared again at a PC firing into the goal but the silver bullet turned to lead as the umpires thought the Lady (who has to take the first shot at goal) had passed when in fact she had mishit her shot at goal; fun to watch our LX ladies get so incensed at the unfairness. Duncan’s goal was the 1-0 winner though.
Game Three – draw 1-1
Meanness of meany-meanness the organisers now had us immediately play England LX with England Lioness – three games in a row! The musical triangles began again but they hadn’t reckoned with Graham Conkie who sometimes even tackled the ball but it was his positive movements that broke up all their left wing plays while Tony Walker and either of two of our ladies covered the right. Magz again was at the heart of our breakaway passing inwards from the right along the 25 when suddenly the Masked Man appeared, rounded their defender, straightened into the circle but misfired his shot sending his silver bullet into the ground from where it dinked up and over the outstretched GK and into the goal. The opposition were stunned; we were too busy laughing! Sadly the win was not to be as LX+LX brought out the snakes and ladders board and threw a six which was deflected into the goal. The whistle blew and blew again for time; a 1-1 draw.
Who was that masked man they say? Some say he was borrowed from a famous team in the west of Scotland – would that make him the Loan Ranger?