Bicester 1st XI 4 - 2 Sonning 2nd XI
The Hockey Games...
Then I hear the legendary announcer, Claudius Templesmith, as his voice booms all around me.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let the third weekly League Hockey Games begin!”
The coin is flipped for pushback and possession is handed to Bicester. We now have sixty seconds to remain in our own half until the sound of the whistle releases us and all hell breaks loose around the Cornucopia. Sixty seconds to take in the twenty two tributes all scattered in formation in the two separate halves. The goalkeepers are the most effectively prepared for combat but their armour will also hinder their movement. All the other tributes will have to move quickly to arm themselves with hockey sticks and prepare for the bloodbath.
The final few seconds pass, the whistle sounds and chaos ensues. The Bicester career tributes move with ruthless precision. They move swiftly and communicate as a pack. Within seconds they have cut a bloody swathe through the gaping hole between the Sonning midfield and their defensive tributes before easily outmanoeuvring floundering Sonning’s floundering goalkeeper from the Northern Districts. His armour counts for nothing and as the Bicester tributes regroup, the arena is littered with fallen bodies of tributes from Sonning’s outlying districts.
Without pausing for breath, the Bicester tributes repeat the same merciless action again and again to devastating effect. The Sonning tributes are matching them in hand to hand combat but once again they carve their way through the midfield tributes and the Sonning’s defensive pack. Once again, Sonning’s goalkeeper is left helplessly lying on the floor as Bicester capitalise.
With the scoreline at 3-0, finally Sonning tributes begin to fight back. Making a bee-line for the Cornucopia, the Sonning tributes use their weapons to lethal effect. As night falls on the arena, the two tribute-packs separate. Bicester are slightly ahead but the competition is looking a lot more open than it did after those first 10 minutes at the Cornucopia.
As the second half drags on however, it becomes clear that Sonning’s tributes are fighting a losing battle. Time and again the fight is taken deep into the Bicester half but time and again the Bicester defence holds firm. As wounded tributes limp from the arena, victory slips away. Bicester strengthen their grip on the competition.
In the aftermath, the feasting and presentations. Sonning’s tributes reflect on the missed opportunity. A third weekly ‘League Hockey Games’ competition had passed with beatable opposition allowed to dominate, the real challenge lies ahead.