Saturday 24th July
Thank you to Jo Price & James Findlay for the amazing photos you took for us all on Saturday!
The threat of rain and thunder did nothing to deter Southgate players who descended en masse on Saturday morning to take part in the inaugural Southgate Magnificent Sevens. After watching the GB Men take on (and beat) South Africa and suitably inspired we took to the pitches and 11 teams playing in two groups began their campaign to be the last team standing by 6pm and take the magnificent trophy sat gleaming in wait in the club house.
Kathy and Kim with some help from Michelle did the most amazing job organising things from the tournament desk, no small task when the microphone to the PA went down just before the first game and after a few early hiccoughs the matches began in earnest as 4 hours of group games got underway.
In group 1 teams led by Zoe Griffiths, Sofia Martin, Jenny Hammond, Michelle Joubert and Justin Edwards fought it out for the two top spots. Jenny’s Red team managed a clean sweep of 4 wins back to back taking the pole position with a neck and neck battle for the runners up just seeing Zoe’s team edged out by Sofia and her yellow team on the tightest of goal difference margins.
Over in Group 2, the much feted black led by Todd team short of players struggled to get on the scorecard, Todd was joined by fellow captains Milly BC, Ben Millson, Lucca Bilyard, Will Hargrove and Jess Hurley. Ben’s team in blue helped along by the dazzling Leo Garner in the form of his life in front of goal came out top with 26 goals scored across their 5 games. 2nd place was another closely fought battle with the final group game between Milly’s Purples and Jess’s Pink team determine who would move through to the semi final stage. A 2-3 thriller with Scott Ramsay and Charles Hamilton combining to seal the win in the dying minutes. Milly’s team just falling short in third place with Jess and her team taking that coveted fourth spot in the next round.
Andy Day on the PA was doing a great job building the atmosphere as we went into two simultaneous semi finals fought across both half pitches on the water.
Jenny Hammond and her red team conceded a flick after 8 minutes saved in dramatic fashion on the line by sweeper Rory Willmott who emanating a mighty cheer for himself in the process. His joy didn’t last long when after he gave away a second flick it was promptly converted in the bottom right sending Team Jess to the interval at 1-0 up.
Over on the other pitch it was end to end with tired legs on display as Leo Garner put Bens team ahead only to have the lead quashed by an equaliser from for SOFIA and her pinks. Another goal at the stroke of half time by Captain Ben took his team to the interval just ahead at 2-1.
Captain Jenny took an unfortunate blow and had to take some time off the pitch- despite a gallant display from super sub Sajiv Saha, Jess’ team simply had more fuel in the tank and took the game away from the reds in the second half the game ending 3-0 with Jess’ troops taking the first ticket to the grand finale.
Next door it was a closer affair with Sofia’s team running the blues hard to the wire with another equaliser sending the game to 2-2 and the organisers scrabbling to work out how on earth to decide the game without goalkeepers. Yet Leo Garner came to the rescue and scored a blinder in the final minute to send Sofia and her team to the bar to recover and Ben’s team to collapse exhausted to prepare for the final.
The final itself was another stormer with Leo Garner once again on the score sheet early doors. Charles Hamilton playing deep and charging forward at irregular intervals setting up some lovely cross D balls to his pitsretched attackers. Cameron Clayton Smith finding his way to one such ball and sending Jess’ Pinks onto equal terms. The game flew back and forth with increasing exhaustion as Captain Ben took a blow to the head and was consoled off field by Charles in a moment of true hockey chivalry .
That was however soon forgotten when Ben returned and smashed home the winner with yet more goals from Leo Garner and Oscar Prior meaning the game finished as close as close could be a 3-2 win to the almost collapsing teams.
The presentation was an august affair held on the hallowed turf of the water pitch with President Dick Beechener handing over umpires medals to Nigel Dixon, Paul Creeley, RBL, Neil Prior, Mark Langley and Justin Edwards. Top goalscorer went predictably to the amazing Leo Garner who won the Tankards Tankard (something he may grow into) and Jess Hurley took home player of the tournament. Winning Captain Ben Millson took the prize trophy and raised it aloft to cheers and applause from the assembled masses.
There followed a rather splendid social with music from James Findlay and his band including the acoustic stylings of Chris Rouse and some vocals from Alastair. But they were soon outdone by the entire remnants of the tournament cracking on with some truly memorable karaoke which simply brought the marquee down.
So much so we were forced inside where singing went on in crying degrees of tunefulness into the early hours.
A great club day to be remembered.
Thanks to everyone who made this happen, Kim BL, Kathy Hammond, Liz, Sara, The Centre Staff, the umpires, Milly BC, Charles Hamilton, Stroller, Lucca Bilyard and Michelle Joubert and all the players and supporters.