Category Archives: field hockey

Thai Food and Golf Get Togethers

Yet another flat out week personally and work wise. After the huge meals on Sunday, a couple of days of famine were in order, so some reheated soup from the freezer – these soups in fact which we froze in their plastic containers. I also tried to step up the activity and did a few runs to try and burn a few calories off. Oddly, i decided to do a lot of skipping on Monday evening, i’m not sure how much, but maybe 7/800 or so and my calves for most of the week were really aching. Obviously need to do that exercise a lot more.

Chiltern Forest Golf Club with Marc from AJH Cables – stunning views across Aylesbury Vale

Chiltern Forest Golf

On Tuesday I caught up with Marc from AJH Cables at Chiltern Forest. He is focusing heavily on developing his export cable market and he had some really interesting customer stories that he has made great headway with. He is literally selling to every single part of the world and developing his huge range of contacts. He has also specified a brand new cablehttps://ajhcables.com to be manufactured called Rawflex which is a reeling cable which he has also registered the name for. I’m running his web site through a few SEO tools such as Screaming Frog and SEM Rush to see how he can improve his site with some easy wins.

I do enjoy playing at Chiltern Forest, though it is tough – we started on hole 10 and these first 9 holes were a struggle and I marked my card with a shocking 57 but much like last week at Berkhamsted I turned it around with a 43 on the next 9 including a birdie (first in a while). As well as Marc’s company, the food was good and reasonable afterwards (skipped the soup and had ham egg and chips). The views are simply stunning on that course overlooking Aylesbury vale.

Wednesday evening was spent in Amersham town centre to catch up with Wardy who is back in the UK and Cremo kindly organised a few people for a meal at a Thai place called Tom Yum’s – first time I’d been there. It was fairly good, but the company was excellent and we finished off at The Beech House where the beers kept coming thick and fast! I’ve had too many beers this December so Jan – March 2019 will have to be a much more modest affair. Wardy seemed on good form and very fit and healthy with all his trail running he is doing. I was a bit upset to see Martin is suffering post knee op with sciatica and more.

Tom Yum & Beech House Amersham

I think there were also solid plans laid down for a golf tour in 2019 – this subject keeps coming up but nothing concrete planned yet. The last one was for Cash’s stag do in Porto almost three years ago now, but I think we will either go back to Portugal where a friend has a family villa or La Cala in Spain. The latter is preferred by my golf buddy who is currently laid up in ITU with Guillen Barre – something for him to focus his recovery on for mid next year hopefully. Very pleased to see a huge improvement with him this week when I popped in on Friday.

Queen’s Head Chesham

On Thursday evening Sarah and I popped over to the Queen’s Head in Chesham to do the quiz and have another Thai meal (two in two nights!!). Great fun with our friends there, an awful lot of giggling and laughter, but we didn’t win the quiz this time (Alvin and the Chipmunks, say no more). I was driving this time though giving my liver some recovery time and enjoying Sarah’s new car. Speaking of car’s, don’t panic everyone, but my trusty old Jazz passed its MOT again on Monday, so the filthy car will be my transport for yet another year… much to the children’s disgust.

The weekend carried on where the work week left off with a night out on Saturday evening and Sunday evening. The former was a delightful evening at the Tomlinsons to celebrate the last birthday of December (just the 5) which is Sarah’s Mum.

ACHC Fancy Dress Mixed Hockey

Sunday was a particularly special day as Olivia had organised for the resurrection of the Christmas fancy dress mixed games. I always looked forward to these every year when we could make them (normally on Boxing days) with various shenanigans happening and often ending up at Winkers. This was the first at the new club almost two years after we first started playing there. I think we ended up with roughly 18 a side and it was a joy playing with Jamie and Sarah. Rebecca was going to play too which I’d looked forward to all week but she had no mouth guard or shin pads and no point taking the risk. The game was good fun and great to see juniors with parents and many other members all playing a sensible, semi competitive game of fun hockey.

It was also my first game since the Over 40’s and I thought my achilles was fully repaired (I’d done a 10k trail run fine on Saturday with Molly), but alas, I felt it niggle half way through the second half and this morning it is lumpy again – rather upsetting as loved being back on the pitch. Will have to stick to my original target of next season in the 5’s with Jamie eligible for Saturday adult games.

Sunday evening was fairly impromptu with a quiet pint with Paul up the Dumb Bell. Bumped into my old friend Banner and we carried on until we were the last in the pub as usual. Rebecca has been after a part time job too and might have sorted that out for her. A great way to round off the blog week.

Dumb Bell Pub

Quiet Sunday evening drink sorting Rebecca’s job prospects

In between all that I did also do a mountain of work for Cater For You and various web clients. I’m trying to generate a lot of content and promote various sites to improve back links and domain authority. It seems to be working already as C4U has gone up in ranking and domain authority.

I’m looking forward to a quieter start to 2019! Merry Christmas to you all, have a good safe one and see you on the other side.

England Hockey Masters Final (T3) 2018

I’ve been playing hockey on and off since 1996, mostly off due to my useless body which continually gets injured.  Two years ago after a summer 1’s game at OMT we were laughing about how the youngsters were all flying past us and wouldn’t it be a good idea to (re)start the ACHC men’s Over 40’s team.  So a germ of an idea snowballed into reality and somehow I was Captain and using my (and the teams) extensive list of contacts, we set about creating a squad and entered the England Hockey Over 40’s national competition.

ACHC O40’s September 2016 vs Old C’s

After dredging through my contacts and getting back in touch with a heap of people I hadn’t spoken to for many years, we gathered a fearless group of players, some who hadn’t played for many years and had a friendly against Marlow Hockey Club who helped us out tremendously. The first game and real thing came against Old Cranleighan hockey club.  We were fortunate in that game and the old competitive spirit came back into everyone and we won on flicks, though this meant we stayed in Tier 2 and not drop into Tier 3 which would have been more suitable for this newly assembled group of friends.  We lost to Marlow in an absolute humdinger on a hot day 6-5, but we had all re-formed and the banter was non stop – something that I think is missing from many current Saturday teams with many players not going back to the bar and mixing, or just sitting on their phones – maybe i’m just getting old!

So roll on the 2017-18 season and I was still the Captain of the team despite being long term sidelined again, this time with an achilles problem. This time we lost our first game of the campaign against previous Tier 2 winners and runners up Henley.  With only 11 players we started slowly and the game was over by the end of the first half at 5-0.  We drew the second half 1-1.   So the third tier beckoned.

The next couple of fixtures we squeaked through against West Herts b team and Luton (won on flicks though we did dominate the game) and a very stressful re-arrangement due to snow.  The game against Broxbourne was interesting as it was half term – my goodness it was tough to get a team out, but I turned up some unexpected gems who hadn’t picked up a stick for quite some time. Trick even turned up from Cambridge to help us out.  Somehow, we battered them 7-2, our only comfortable win of the cup run.

So the quarter finals arrived against Petersfield, and snow threatened to intervene again, what a nightmare.  The squad came out on the Saturday and cleared the entire pitch of snow – though typically it would probably have cleared with warmer weather – but the team bonded even closer.  From this point, I said that the team would not change unless there was unavailability or injured – we had the same squad of 16 players for the last three games, which was really tough on a couple of players who were back from injury or illness – including this season’s captain Paul who would probably have made the difference in the final.

The semi finals saw us turn up at Witham, a club where one of my hockey touring colleagues was chairman for a while and have a great hockey pedigree.  We got hammered 5-1, with a couple of their players dominating the game.  Our best players Richie and John commented at half time that they weren’t able to get near them but they battled on and on.  Whilst we drowned our sorrows in the bar afterwards, their Captain told us that the team was an amalgamation from other teams (as some of our previous oppo was) and it turns out, England Hockey adjudged that they shouldn’t have been playing in Tier 3 as they were regularly playing at too high a level.

So completely unexpectedly, we were through to the final and rather disappointingly, they had moved the date and venue to Birmingham University – superb facilities but we were rather hoping it would be at the Olympic Park!  Despite the date change, every one of the 16 players made themselves available and the club vintage team were so generous and sorted out a coach to take most of the players and spectators – spectators who would have to buy a ticket to watch us play!!!

This would be the greatest day of my hockey career (only the CSP 1st XI being promoted can compete) and I woke up feeling rough / temperature (probably stress!) and highly dubious about my other achilles lasting the game. Paul was still on standby, should I be unselfish and get him playing instead of me – unfortunately, I decided to play myself and had the honour and privilege of leading the squad out onto the pitch and various team announcements.  We were playing Holcombe, a club who are right at the top of the hockey family tree, a fact that I think got into our heads for the start of the game.

By half time, we were 3-0 down and at one point it looked like a drubbing was on the cards.  Then we realised that we could play, we were fit and nerves seemed to disappear and we eventually clawed our way back to 3-2 with all the chances going our way. I still maintain another 10 minutes and we’d have won!

Even though we didn’t make it, I’ve never been so proud to be a Captain and be part of that squad of players on that day – I was bursting with pride with what we created over those two seasons.  The coach home was just as good, clearing off three mini barrels of beer from the Rebellion brewery and just as many bottles of lager.  Twenty five people went for a curry in Amersham – what a day (and night). Unfortunately, my other achilles went half way through the game and I could hardly run and has again put me out of hockey for the foreseeable (the physio did say forever, but I want to play with Jamie next season).

So in summary, we had seven games, lost three, drew one and won only three (fourth on flicks) and despite hardly playing, it was one of the best season’s of hockey of my life, something I will treasure forever.

Below are a few photos from the day:

Hockey and Eastbourne

Eastbourne Rock Pools
The weekend was extremely busy non-stop. Friday night was spent doing my expenses and invoicing – incredibly early for me in the month… Saturday I played hockey for the 2’s against Abingdon 1s. We won 1-0 but it was hard work – I was left half and then right half (much better) but I was working from D to D – very tired by the end of it. Very pleased to get the win though. Back home and in the bar for a few beers – and serving a few too!!

In the evening worked again for a few hours – mostly on my sister’s web site I’ve just ‘launched’. It is nowhere near finished yet, but it is good practice for Actinic V9 – my first launched site in V9. I waited for V8 to be stable but never seemed to get there and then they launched V9!! As I’ve been working with Actinic since V2 I know you have to wait a while before it is stable… In fact, I’ve been working in V9.04 all day today on another site and had a few crashes which has been rather annoying. Regular snapshot backups…anyway, I digress.

Anyway, so went down to see the Watts family on Sunday in Eastbourne. Good value as always, arrived nice and early played some games on the large lawn – though it was fairly chilly, nice roast lamb, then down to the beach to soak a few items of clothing. We had a look round the rock pools off the end of the normal beach but didn’t really find much this time – the tide was right in pretty much.

Very busy week this week with work every night – and probably not playing hockey this weekend as Katie Shaw / Shanksy’s weddding which should be a good knees up. Saying that I think I might be playing at the Windsor mixed hockey tournament on Sunday – last one (Wallingford) we cancelled so assume this one is still on…