DESPITE the 2013-14 regular season being some weeks in the rear view mirror, Penarth Hockey Club refuses to rest, with the Veterans XI continuing to play through the summer.
After a hard-fought social encounter with a touring Stratford side and a series of hard-fought friendlies with old rivals Whitchurch, things got a little more serious over the weekend as the Vale side travelled to Swansea for a debut appearance in a two-day tournament featuring some of the strongest Over-40 teams in South Wales.
Five games in the space of two days would have presented a testing schedule at the best of times, but the arrival of summer and scorching temperatures added an extra level of endurance to the proceedings, which took place in the well-appointed surroundings of Swansea University.
Having already faced off against Bridgend, day one closed with a spirited performance against hosts and eventual winners Swansea, with the Penarth team going down to the only goal of the game, which came against the run of play. The Swansea side featured several internationals, but the Bears held firm to deny them the sort of score they had been running up against other sides, and came close to an equaliser after hitting the post midway through the second half.
Sunday posed an even greater examination of Penarth’s resolve, with back-to-back matches to open the schedule, but the squad continued to give a good account of itself against stronger and more experienced opposition from Llanishen and a combined Cardiff-Whitchurch side.
After just an hour’s rest, the weekend came to a close with Penarth taking on Neath and, once again, the Vale side – clothed in unfamiliar gold shirts – battled hard before the result went against them. Despite the outcome, however, the decision to enter the competition was judged to have been a success, underlining the resurrection of the Veterans side under the guidance of Nick Pratt.
Veterans’ games are expected to continue through to the new season, when the entire Penarth club hopes to be playing its home games in Penarth for the first time in many years after lending its support to Stanwell Comprehensive’s bid for an artificial turf pitch. With the lack of a suitable surface in its home town having led to a nomadic existence over the past 20 years, the chance to return to a former home ground – and an establishment that has produced many international players over the years – is one that the club is keen to realise.
The club always welcomes new, old and returning players, umpires, supporters, friends and helpers regardless of age and ability. Training takes place on the artificial turf at Barry Sports Centre every Wednesday, with the juniors in action between 6-7pm and seniors between 7-8pm.
Further information can be obtained from club secretary Dave Stevens (firstname.lastname@example.org)