On Sunday some of the more experienced members of Okehampton Ladies hockey club gathered at the astroturf to participate in the veterans’ tournament. With wonderful sunny conditions the 14 members of the team gathered ready to play in four matches, lasting 25 minutes one way.
Okehampton’s first match was against Plym Valley and Mannamead. Having never played together as a team before Oke were put under some pressure immediately and it was not long before a smooth and accurate pass from outside the circle found an attacker’s stick to deflect the ball into the Oke goal.
After the restart the heat - both from the sunshine and the opposition — continued to grow and once again Plym Valley and Mannamead scored again in a similar manner. Despite some mid field flurries from Nicky Strawbridge and Jane Jones, the Oke team were unable to turn the game around,
Oke team captain, Viv Weatherington rallied her troops for their second game against Marjons. Okehampton began to thread passes together and players Sarah Bazeley, Lesley Bingham and Alex Collins made good runs causing trouble for the opposition.
Despite Louise Weller making some saves in goal it was still not to be the Oke veterans’ day as they were defeated 2-0.
Against Sidmouth and Ottery the determined Oke team slowly began to open up their opposition. Sarah Marvin, playing out on the wing, made some ambitious and unstoppable runs which led to Oke winning several penalty corners. It was from one of these that Oke celebrated their first goal. A slick pass back from just outside of the D from Jane Jones found Nicky Strawbridge on the back line, who effortlessly popped the ball into the goal.
With the play going their way it was not long before captain, Viv Weatherington, pounced on a loose ball and slipped it calmly past the opposition’s goalie.
The wind in their sails Oke soon moved the scoreline to 3-0 when another penalty corner strike from Nicky Strawbridge trickled over the line.
In support of such attacking hockey the Oke defence proved strong. Sandra Houston, Carol Taylor and Lois Rowlands made some robust tackles to break down attacks from the opposition and return the ball to the forwards. It was from a swift turn around of the ball from defence to attack that allowed Weatherington to score and make it 4-0.
The final game against Teign, Emma Wiseman played in goal. Nicky Pedrick continually soaked up the pressure from the opposition with winning tackles and superb interceptions.
However is was Joey Drake, who impressed her team mates the most with her reverse stick stop just before the line and a plethora of excellent interceptions that ensured they left the field with a goalless draw.
The winners of the tournament were Plym Valley and Mannamead, although each team had a great day proving that hockey is a game for all ages!