Firstly, congratulations on a good season as 4th Team Captain, just missing out on Promotion?
We’ve had a really good run since Christmas. But …Well I’m absolutely gutted – it’s gone down to the very last match of the season – we’ve won 9-2 and Fixtures Live has just shown Deeside have won too (we need them not to win!) so they get the second promotion slot. We even scored the most goals in our league.
When did you first take up Hockey?
At the age of 14 I went down to a pre season practice match at Stourport Hockey Club with my Dad who had been a regular hockey player for years - I got selected for the 4th Team and my Dad the 6ths! In my first match the following week we played against local rivals Worcester. As a pacey Left Winger I scored my first goal – a sign of things to come!! A year later I was playing for Wales under 16 – things were different in those days! I then progressed to under 19s as captain. The highlight was playing in the European Championships in Dublin but the Welsh Hockey was nothing to write home about!!
What positions have you played?
I started off a left wing but quickly shifted to midfield – usually right or centre. Now I play centre mid as long as I have young fit legs either side of me. I am like the conductor of the orchestra and pull the strings around me. An alternative view is that I just get in the way of the opposition!
What are you reading at the moment?
Bill Bryson’s “The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid”. I’m a bit of a Bill Bryson fan as they’re an easy read for someone who can’t remember what they’ve just read!
What is your favourite film?
Apart from “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Sound of Music” which must be everyone’s favourite I haven’t got a clue…. Probably Spartacus as I clearly identify with the character. Others have suggested I’m more like the rat in “Muppet Christmas Carol” – which is very unfair!
Young Tom is a star in the making, what were you like at his age?
He gets his good looks and intelligence from me. I was a little less well built then than I am now and had slightly more hair. I also didn’t collapse on the sofa and fall asleep for hours after a match like I do now. Of course I was the model student and son!
Philosophy of life?
Where e’er you be let the wind blow free!
Have a padlock on your wallet (the Yorkshire blood coming out here)
Always have a bigger, faster and newer car than Sam!
Best player you have played with or against?
An old GB player I met at Cardiff when I was about 17 …. But a senior moment means I can’t recall his name! However, he was the first player who while being a great player with great skill made the players around him really shine. Other than that it has to be Imran Sherwani who I played against and with! He was an extremely skilful player who was a nightmare to mark or catch.
However, it must be said that when I first started playing for Neston in about 1994 I played in the 3rds (the bottom team at that time) - playing in the team alongside Eddie Byrnes opened my eyes to what high quality playing was all about!
While you are playing hockey, what does Sam get up to?
I haven’t got a clue! Women’s work?! Or spending money (see philosophy of life!)
Top tip, for Hockey?
I have a few top tips:
Use the flat side of the stick – I think someone has already used this one!
Pass and move – however, for me this is now Pass and pass and pass and pass and Mooove!
And finally a really great player makes the players around him great also (a bit sensible - sorry!!)
What are you listening to, music wise at the moment?
Whatever radio 2 or radio 5 is playing! I do have a Meatloaf CD in the car but I get nagged by Thomas to play Razorlight or Snow Patrol or by Lucy to play High School Musical or something similar. However I do get my own back with the Now CDs by singing and doing the actions to “This is the way to Amarillo” and forcing them to join in as we drive along! The embarrassment factor for them is essential!
Best advice given to you?
Always wear clean underpants just in case you get run over!!
What next for NSWHC?
A new Astroturf would be great and really enable the club move from strength to strength. The work Tony and others have done with developing the youngsters has been excellent and meant that there has been more competition for places which is to the benefit of the club.
Who would you have on your side who is a present member of NSWHC in a full kicking scrapping fight and why?
Tony Bush would be great as he could distract them with a magic trick while I sneaked off!
Tim Brooker would negotiate us out of the situation.
If both these failed I would then involve Lee Robinson who would grunt at them just before he hit them!
Your ideal weekend?
Not having to sort out the team last minute on a Saturday morning because someone has cried off or not got back to me, winning the match, a snooze, lots of food, a trip to the cinema and a glass or two of wine.
Thank you Kevin and best of luck over the summer with The Thunderbolt Kid!.