Olympian Ja­son’s the star turn for Laslett gath­er­ing

The Hockey Paper - - FEATURE | COMMENT -

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.

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