Olympian Jason’s the star turn for Laslett gathering
THERE will be the traditional Laslett gathering once again on Boxing Day. For their 35th straight fixture, the family hockey team will have 20 Lasletts available for selection against a club side from Canterbury HC. This fixture started on Boxing Day in 1982, with star turn Jason Laslett also playing and captaining Great Britain at the Barcelona and Atlanta Games.
Jason may be 47 now but the fixture shows no signs of waning, with cousin Jim admitting there will six players this year who have played at National League level. “There will be one or two Lasletts unavailable, which is generally frowned upon,” he told In the D. “We always seem to have a close, but high scoring game. I believe with the younger crop of Lasletts coming through we can reach 50 years.”
OUR report in last week’s edition on the annual freshman shenanigans at Exeter University’s Edinburgh Fives sparked other proud institutions into recalling their own heroic student stories. Notably at Southampton University during, we are led to believe, the late 1970s.
The hockey students on the south coast back then got so fed up of waiting for traffic to clear on the London Road so they could enter the club, that they took matters into their own hands and painted a zebra crossing late one night.
It has managed to stay in place and the council have readily given it the green light ever since.
THE Australian press took pleasure in stating that of the 24 teams competing at the Rio Olympics, ten had an Aussie coach on their staff. In the end, the Australian-born coaches couldn’t deliver a medal at the helm of either Kookaburras or Hockeyroos side.
So will Colin Batch and Paul Gaudoin – appointed as men’s and women’s head coach respectively – force a changing of the tide? For once, there is catching up to do against rival nation England. With 16 months before the Commonwealth Games, Gaudion started the road to the Gold Coast by making a live Facebook appearance with fans able to ask questions.
Twelve hours later and several thousand miles away, England Hockey were hosting their own live Facebook segment on the GB Hockey Ball red carpet. We can only guess which was the most watched.
BEFORE ex-Hearts boss Robbie Neilson joined Football League outfit MK Dons this month, one Scottish tabloid recalled the era when ‘Franchise FC’ were being lambasted for moving from London and playing in a “shambolic” converted hockey stadium “in front of a new breed of local fans who munched popcorn at games instead of pies and Bovril”. Popcorn watching hockey? Now that’s entertainment!
FORMER Australian great Liam deYoung has been heavily involved in the design of a new ball that could change junior hockey.
The softer, safer ‘Joey Ball’ will be rolled out in a major launch event in NSW in April with the aim of helping youngsters retain possession for longer to hone their skills.
The Hockey Paper has been promised an early opportunity to trial these balls developed by the experienced team at Kookaburra and will bring you our findings early in the New Year well ahead of their availability on general sale.