On many years the club goes on tour, including Holland (Easter 2003, 1997 and 1995), Guernsey (Easter 1996), Penzance (Easter 2000, 1999, and 1998), and Barnstaple (Summer 1998, 1997 and 1996). The Club went on tour to Barbados in the summer of 1999, and won the International Hockey Tournament. The Club also won an Easter tour at the Strawberries tournament in Holland in 2003.
The Barbados Tour 1999Group Matches
Yate produced a series of battling performances to secure top position in their group and progress to the semi-finals. They had a tremendous start when a goal by Nick Ashley secured a narrow victory over the 1997 champions, All Stars, who were one of the pre-tournament favourites. Yate then followed that up with another narrow victory over Imperial College, Chris Roach putting a short corner into the roof of the net.
In the match against Combermere, Yate conceded an early goal and missed a series of chances to draw level until Simon Pearce hit a first time shot passed a startled goalkeeper with ten minutes remaining. Yate pressurised the Combermere goal and were rewarded when Pearce notched his second, following good approach play by Roach.
Roach scored a controversial goal against the Trinidad & Tobago Police Force and Yate managed to hold on, in what was the most physical game of the tournament. Having already secured their spot in the next stage, Yate played attractive hockey against Old Gold Roosters with Roach, Steve Francis, Mark Davies and Phil March all scoring. For March, it was particularly sweet, as it was his first ever goal in a competitive match.
Yate were the underdogs going into the match as the Trinidad & Tobago Defence Force team had swept all before them in Trinidad during 1998 and contained 9 internationals, as well as comfortably winning their group.
Trinidad started off at a cracking pace and the Yate defence were soon under intense pressure. In the first 10 minutes, Yate conceded penalty corners and there were numerous goal-mouth scrambles but, gradually, Yate became used to their opponents' fitness and began to pass the ball around, and centre-half Simon Gray began to have more influence. Mid-way through the first period, Matt Leney opened the scoring with a deflected shot and Yate subsequently enjoyed their best period of the match, failing to convert 2 penalty corners.
After the interval, Trinidad intensified their efforts and goalkeeper Darren Ashley produced a string of superb saves to thwart the opposition. One triple save following a short corner was outstanding and was described by a senior Barbados Hockey official as "the best save that I have seen in the 14 years that this festival has been held". Ashley was helped by the efforts of all the team in front of him, particularly Adam Shackleford and Chris Roach.
Trinidad seemed to be running out of ideas when a suicidal pass by Andy Bethell was intercepted and the centre forward clipped the ball over the advancing Ashley. This inspired Trinidad to throw everyone forward in search of the winner but they were caught on the break by Yate. Adam Shackleford, under pressure at left-back, released the ball to Bethell who moved it Gray and eventually the ball worked its way to Simon Pearce whose shot was deflected past a wrong footed goalkeeper. Despite further pressure, Yate managed to hold on to gain a rather fortunate win.
On a hot and humid evening, Yate defeated the defending champions, A Badd Connection ("ABC"), to win the 14th Annual Banks International Festival and, in doing so, became only the second British winners ever, following Madhatters victory in 1988.
The atmosphere at the newly built astro pitch was electric, with the Barbadian side heavily supported by the local population and the Sharks supported by members of their own group and – most notably – a number of rum-fuelled Aston University students!
The pattern of the match followed that of the semi-final with Yate coming under severe pressure, but managing to stay on level terms thanks to a mixture of luck, the brilliance of goalkeeper Darren Ashley and brave defending, most notably by Adam Shackleford. Against the run of play, Yate took the lead when a hit outside the D by Andy Bethell found its way to Nick Ashley whose reverse stick shot eluded the ABC goalkeeper. Yate stepped up their efforts but were still defending like demons and were lucky that ABC failed to convert one of many penalty corners that they were awarded.
Following the interval, ABC changed tactics and pushed another player further forward and Yate were forced to play on the counter-attack. This helped Yate and – following another squandered ABC corner – Chris Roach quickly passed to 17 year old Martin Ashley on the half way line. His pace and skill took him past 2 defenders to the back line, where he slipped the ball under the advancing goalkeeper to Trevor Willcocks who netted from all of 2 yards.
For a short spell, ABC lost their shape and started to panic but they managed to convert a penalty corner with 7 minutes remaining. With the crowd urging them on, ABC surged forward, but were constantly thwarted by man-of-the-match Ashley and his defence. ABC were awarded about 5 penalty corners in the last 2 minutes but failed to convert any of them and it was a great relief to the Sharks when the final whistle arrived.
This was, undoubtedly, the greatest and proudest moment in the history of Yate Men's Hockey Club and the memory of the tournament (and particularly the semi and final) will live long in the memory of all who were there to witness the most unlikely of victories.
|Yate Sharks||1||0||All Stars||(Shark Scorer: N Ashley)|
|Yate Sharks||1||0||Imperial College||(Shark Scorer: Roach)|
|Yate Sharks||2||1||Combermere||(Shark Scorer: Pearce (2))|
|Yate Sharks||1||0||Trinidad & Tobago Police Force||(Shark Scorer: Roach)|
|Yate Sharks||4||1||Old Gold Roosters||(Shark Scorers: Francis, March, Davies, Roach)|
|Yate Sharks||2||1||Trinidad & Tobago Defence Force||(Shark Scorers: Leney, Pearce)|
|Yate Sharks||2||1||A Badd Connection||(Shark Scorers: N Ashley, Willcocks)|
Simon Gray (Captain), Ian Ford, Simon Pearce, Andrew Bethell, Barry Fletcher, Tony Baldwin, Matthew Leney, Trevor Willcocks, Mark Davies, Nicholas Ashley, Adam Shackleford, Phillip March, Darren Ashley, Christopher Roach, Martin Ashley, Steve Francis
The Holland Tour 2003Tour Report
The touring team ("The Purple Nasties"), made up of a few Yate players, a few ex-Yate players and some others who had never seen a hockey stick before, left Cardiff "International" on Good Friday hoping for a weekend of beer and sun, and a little bit of hockey. We met up on Friday evening at the Clubhouse, erected our tents and headed straight for the bar. First order for the drinking social - 100 beers! The night passed without anybody really knowing what went on (much the same for the rest of the nights).
Anyway to the hockey - we managed to win the majority of our group matches (except for when Bleeper went in goal) and easily got through to the semi's. A convincing win in the semi's saw the team get through to the final on the Sunday afternoon (most of the team were pretty drunk by now) and facing a team who clearly hadn't had much to drink. After leading 1-0 through a goal from Tonka, the opposition drew level. With seconds to go, The Purple Nasties grabbed a winner through Maniac. I would have like to say that the crowd went wild, but unfortunately, most of them were in the bar, along with some of our team who would rather drink than play / watch!! As you would expect the team celebrated into the early hours of the morning (except Rivers who had to go home early again).
Simon Gray (Pecker), Ian Ford (Fat Eric), Barry Fletcher (Edna), Trevor Willcocks (Bambi), Nick Ashley (Rivers), Gareth Slater (Maniac), Graham Baker (Bleeper), Mike Chaney (Tonka), Steve Day (Giggsy), Matt Chilcott (Bloke), Howard Jackson (Raj), Keith Mizen (Mr Mizen), Mike Hilder (Josh) and Carlos.