This week the venerable Tankards are back in action away at Old Loughts. To those unfamiliar- the Tankards are a team competing in division 9 of East League South East and who regularly feature a playing range from 13-80. It is an extraordinary team full of youth and experience- and no shortage of opinions all helmed by skipper Nigel Spencer Knott.
Yet the history of the team goes back into the dawns of Southgate lore- we have already showcased a Soho dinner from the 1930’s in these pages and in 1981 in a team featuring current Tankard player (and past president) John Willmott the Tankards recorded a fine victory at the Shefford Hockey Club. The indefatigable Keith Lewis has done some research and dug out the below report for our delight and delectation.
SOUTHGATE SHINE AT SHEFFORD or TANKARDS’ TERRIFIC TRIUMPH
A telephone call four days before the event saw a Tankards team arriving at Shefford Hockey Club’s inaugural festival on 5th/6th September, 1981.
Tankards’ first game was against the host club, who had the Force with them, but the result was a 3-1 win with goals by Phillips, Pickard and Quirk.
After a long liquid break, Tankards took the field against the Wimbledon U21 side. It was a disaster and we went down 0-3 giving away two goals and never looked like scoring.
Feeling none too happy, the team and guests accepted Robin Willmott’s invitation to cool off in his swimming pool and water rugby was played. The 3As in the side outnumbered the rest and Don Morphew showed what a rucker he was in his youth and Hoyle W showed what he’s made of.
When all the water had been spread over Bedfordshire, the party returned to the Club for entertainment and food. The food was excellent. Drinking music was supplied by a three piece folk group and a Lionel Blair clone overran (with help from Willmott J) with songs funny and popular (sh-boom, sh-boom). Afterwards, some watched the cricket, some watched the barmaids and all got to bed eventually.
Sunday came and the team was one short. However, Chris the guest scored a goal in the 4-1 win over the quaintly named Uranus. Worth scored one and Squirt woke up long enough to score two.
This win worked wonders and a sober-ish side took on the side from Scarborough, The Norsemen, knowing that a win would mean 2nd place. Still one short, Mike the local was co-opted and obliged by scoring, but the best was yet to come. Thought to be the strongest side present, The Norsemen attacked and scored, but they reckoned without Sidney, who ran the length of the pitch to put a centre from the wing into the goal – 2-1. Shots were saved, Sunbeams did foul and the final whistle blew.
Sid had evaded the licensing laws by buying a barrel of ale, so the Tankards sat back to watch the last game Wimbledon v Shefford. Wimbledon needed to win to get the trophy, but the Force triumphed and the Tankards were winners on points.
So, another side consisting mostly of “lower half” players had won a Tournament (see Tilburg report) and the barrel was emptied. Leaving took a long time (longer for some) and all agreed that it had been a jolly good weekend.
Those who took part were – Graeme Phillips, Nick Worth, Andy Ockendon, Chris Quirk, John Willmott, Keith Lewis, Michael Whatley, Warwick Hoyle, Tony Shaddick, Alan Limer, David Nicholls, Don Morphew, Graham Watson and David Limer.
Support from – Ruth, Brian & Jenny, Chrissie and Willmotts x 4.
This article first appeared in the Trials Issue of The Monthly Horn in 1981 and as far as I am aware it was written by Graham Watson. If others wrote it, then I apologise for the oversight and stand to be corrected. I confess to making some small alterations to the text in order that it reads better (I hope). Sidney or Sid is David Nicholls.
Keith M. Lewis.