The fortitude and endurance of the 80-year-old hockey players who gathered at Amersham recently was put to the test by wet and windy conditions more suited to November than July.
Twenty four players turned out for the first ever national gathering of players Over 80.
True, there had been official trials for the England O80 team which has played an annual international against the Netherlands since 2019, but this was a day organised by the LX Club when anyone Over 80 was welcome to play in a friendly gathering.
Competition was still, fierce and the rather better organised Whites beat the Reds 2-0 in a full 70-minute game in driving rain.
Andy Holden had organised the day and had travelled from Barrow-in-Furness to take charge of the game despite carrying an injury that ruled him out of taking part on the pitch.
Others came from all around the country – from Sheffield to Southend, from Buxton to Bury St Edmunds, from Wootton Bassett to Worcester – they were all hungry for a game of hockey.
Some years ago the LX Club started an intra-club Over 60 day at St Albans and several years later an Over 70s day was introduced.
Both have proved successful and still flourish with days now organised at several clubs in different parts of the country.
Holden said: ’Those of us over 80 were beginning to find Over 70 days a bit testing but we still wanted regular hockey so an Over 80 day seemed to be the answer.
“We also needed to round up all those over 80 and still playing hockey – not all are members of the LX Club – so that we can build the biggest pool from which to pick a competitive England side.
“Apparently there are 120 players over 80 playing in the Australian state championships this year so we shall have to shape up if we are to beat them – and to continue our unbeaten run against the Dutch.”
If there are any players over 80, or who will reach 80 in the next two years, and who are not yet on the mailing list but would like to become involved Andy Holden firstname.lastname@example.org