Preparation for Ely started late on Thursday night at the Perse Art Dept (thanks to Georgie (Jaw) Howling), who knew it would take so long to print names on t-shirts?! By Friday evening cars were packed, tutus were purchased and everyone was tucked in bed early ready for a big weekend of hockey fun!
We arrived on Saturday morning to a bright and very breezy Ely. T-shirts were handed out and the rabble divided into 2 teams with names to match the tournament theme of Around the World: Cambridge South Navigators and Gulliver's Southerners.
Saturday's 6 matches were to determine rankings for Sunday's cup and plate competitions but in true Ely style we had put the sole bottle opener to good use by the start of the second match. Turns out we play better with a little liquid courage! Pitching tents (and especially gazebos) proved difficult in the windy conditions but eventually The Palace was erected in the middle of the Cambridge South village!
The matches were played between 2 pitches, one at Ely Hockey Club and the other at a nearby school which was only a short tractor ride away!
The hockey was of a high standard across all the teams. The captain of Gulliver's Southerners Chris (Tractor McTractorface) Pearson led is team to several victories over the course of the day resulting in a place in the cup draw for Sunday. The Cambridge Navigators played well, Harriet (Harri Potter) Walker proving indestructible and Douglas (Douglas) Gibson was a force to be reckoned with in defence, but the oranges found themselves in the plate draw for Sunday. After a busy but dry day day of hockey, the rain came just as the matches finished, but thanks to Emma (Default Fairlie) Fairlie's gazebo (now flying at half mast thanks to the wind) we all managed to stay dry enough to enjoy the paella and churros on offer. Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to a few team members who were unavailable to stay, special thanks from the pink team to Lou (I don't need a t-shirt) G for her great efforts in goal and to Louisa (Louser) Cantwell for using her limbs to stop goals from being scored despite a lack of padding and also thanks from the orange team to Shin (Too cool for camping) Kim for his amazing aerial over the fence behind him and of course to Matt (Saint Gower) Saint Gower for being amazing in goal for any team that would have him!
Thoughts went ahead to the fancy dress party in the clubhouse that evening. The Palace became the hub for drinking games (up my you-know-what please) and unveiling of the costumes. Kim (Solid 8.5) Cooil proved that the world really does revolve around her, Ali (Engine) Edge was ready for anything in a penguin poncho and Laura (Zoo keeper) Edge was all wrapped up for an early Christmas. Highlights from the party included witnessing the courting ritual of lemurs thanks to Matt (King Julien) Kern and also the rare sight of a turkey quite literally shaking it's tail feathers in the form of Tom (Rosselini) Rosselli! After we drank the bar dry of green apple cactus jacks, we crawled back to our Cambridge south village, still not sure how Wilco (Bydd Cydweithredu) Dijkstra managed to fit in his wee tent!!
After a night of raving and chatting til the small hours (and in my case being squished by Naomi (Cheeky Upstart) Penfold and Emma...cuddly sleepers) We woke to a warm and sunny Sunday! Bacon baps and lots of coffee revived the hungover rabble and we were ready to kick ass in the cup and plate competitions!
Despite their best efforts, Gulliver's Southerners didn't manage to make it to the final of the cup but they put up a strong fight with great attacking from Liz (Dunsby) Dunsby and James (Bury Me) Matthews and defended well thanks to Julie (Dark Horse) Sadler and Laurie (Lil Ms Chatterbox) McKenzie.
The Cambridge Navigators won 2 out of their 4 games thanks to goals from Colin (Trill) Troll and Sophie (Queenie) McComish which meant we made to to the final of the plate against the Ely beach bums! The game ended a draw after 20 minutes and it decided 10 minutes of golden goal would be played. This is where I must hang my head in shame...quite possibly my miss of the season resulted in the match going to penalty flicks! Despite Jason Mann's best efforts and Felicity (Castaway) Rennys smooth technique (maybe she can show Graham (Pretty Fly For a Short Guy) McCulloch where the goal is) we lost the game.
Cue the sentimental music...Even though neither of our teams managed to take home any silverware, in the end it wasn't about the hockey, it was about having fun with your friends and team mates, drinking warm beer, dressing up like a massive turkey and singing along to 90s boy bands. Thanks to everyone who played, I personally had a great holiday.
Though maybe in future we should cool down or something???