Veterans hockey:OVs caught cold

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While the scoreline may have flattered the visitors and the OVs worked hard to get back into the game, there was no doubt that the Milton Keynes Vets were the faster, fitter team on the day.The visitors were two goals up in ten minutes, the first coming from Mark Ling who was first to get to a loose ball in a goalmouth mêlée and the second from Chris Grossick from a short corner.The OVs were destined to chase the game thereafter, a tall order against the English side who had guile in their forward line and two of the best players on the pitch in midfielders Ian Knox and Michael Anderson.However OVs worked hard throughout, especially Peter Harris who demonstrated an exceptional work rate deep in midfield.The OVs had no luck though, and during the first half the visitors forced a number of short corners, one of which led to a second goal from Grossick, and another, Milton Keynes’ fourth, from Harry Atkinson.OV heads did not drop though, and eventually Richard Le Lièvre, Mick Millar and Mike Tait began to open up play down the right flank.

Tim Herbert’s speed seemed to trouble the visitors on occasion and shortly before half time the OVs thought they had clawed one back when Millar forced the ball home from a right wing cross – but the eagle-eyed umpire spotted an OV foot in the D – and the partisan Jersey spectators cheered in vain.The OVs fought spiritedly throughout the second half, with Tait and Mark Fullerton coming into the game more and Dominic Pallot and Mattie Sutton working hard in central defence.It was now that OVs discovered another Milton Keynes star – their goalkeeper Clarence Vaz who saved bravely from Herbert then narrowed the angle to save well from centre forward Nigel de Carteret.Vaz left the best till last, with a stunning stick-save low down to his right as the OVs pressed forward for the consolation goal their efforts so deserved.

It was not to be, and to cap their misery a deflection from a MK short corner past the ‘keeper pushed the score to 5-0, Ling scoring his second.As a first foray in the HA Vets Cup OVs can look back on their first round victory in the competition with satisfaction.

In the second round, though, they came up against a strong side who took their chances and had their ‘keeper to thank for a clean sheet.Speaking for the visiting side, Tim Skelton said: ‘It was a good game.

I think we were lucky to win by that margin, it didn’t reflect the quality of the OVs’ play but we are pleased with our performance.’He explained that Milton Keynes Hockey Club runs six sides and its veterans team plays in the Eastern Veterans league.

Their Vets got through to the last 16 in this competition last year.Skelton added: ‘We’ve played in this competition for the five years it has been running and waited a long time to get the fixture with Jersey so we could come and play here.

It was certainly worth the wait and the hospitality has been marvellous.’OVs: Mike Labey, Dominic Pallot, Richard Sugden, Peter Harris, Matthew Sutton, Richard Le Lièvre, Mike Tait, Mark Fullerton, Mick Millar, Nigel de Carteret, Andrew Wintour, Tim Herbert, Ian Cuming, Ian Simpson.Milton Keynes: Clarence Vaz, Mike Gale, Tim Skelton, Nigel Skelton, Nick Cook, Michael Anderson, Ian Knox, Harry Atkinson, Graham Lee, Graham Bartlett, Chris Grossick, Graeme Yorston, Mark Ling.Umpires: Paul Marshallsay; Dave French

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