26 May POZNAN REUNION – BRIDGEND HOCKEY CLUB
Bridgend Hockey Club Men’s Section recently held a reunion of their visit to Poznan, Poland, where they represented Wales in the European Winners Cup Competition held in April 1994, 20 years ago. This represententation resulted in the Club reaching the Final of the Welsh Knockout Cup Competition in April 1993, the previous year, and so bestowed the great honour on the club and town to represent their country in this competition.
A party of twenty three players and supporters travelled the thousand miles by coach to Poznan, enabling the group to see the expanses of west and east Germany, and to have time to wander around Berlin on the return journey. This was a great experience for the whole party.
The Club played three games against strong European sides, acquitting themselves with pride, and were thoroughly deserved winners in the playoff game against Marathon from Croatia with a 2 – 0 victory. This meant the Club enabled Wales to hold their position at this level of competition, a great feat in its own right.
Now that twenty years have passed since that memorable trip, it was decided to hold a reunion of the travelling party, together with other senior members of the men’s hockey club.
Eleven members of the original squad are still members of the Club, but contact points were established for those who had moved away. Invitations were sent out to everyone to come together for a reunion.
Unfortunately a few were unable to return, but for those that did a game of hockey was arranged and constituted one team from the original travelling party against a similarly experienced side from the rest of Bridgend Hockey Club. An excellent game was played, ending in a deserved five all draw.
It was particularly pleasing to welcome returning past members, being Steve McIntosh from the north of Scotland, Chris Lea from Swindon, Alun Arthur from Cardiff, and Steve Price, Clive Acton and Glen Hughes from the more local locality. These past members had not played hockey for a number of years, and so the Club was particularly grateful for them to turn out on this auspicious occasion. Many thanks to them – hope they have recovered from their runaround! Perhaps they will rejoin this ambitious club.
The game was followed by a social evening at the Haywain Public House, which Bridgend Hockey Club uses as its social base. An excellent evening was had, enabling reminisces to take place, and catch up with the gossip revolving around old friends. Besides damping the beer with a superb buffet, a slide show of photographs was put together by (now ‘ex’) President Charles Thorp, aided by Jack Steer, Jane Price and Steve McIntosh; this promoted much chat and comment and was very much appreciated.
During the visit to Poznan, a video of the games and and other gatherings was taken, and with thanks to Roger Franks for some selective editing, this was shown and reminded the party of the games and how they were played. It received huge welcome applause, and will remain in the Club Archives forever as a great credit to the Club. The Club and the Welsh Hockey Union have a unique experience here – no other club will have such an accurate memory of any similar occasion.
Captain at the time twenty years ago, and now Club President, Steve Murphy, gave a welcoming address, during which he thanked everyone for making the great effort to attend the event, allowing reminisceses to take place, and renewing friendships.
A great evening was had by all.