Extract from Hurst Johnian Magazine 1982-3
On the 3rd of January a party of boys, sufficiently recovered from New Year’s festivities, departed from Heathrow Airport bound for a week’s enjoyable hockey in Spain. After spending the night in a downtown hotel in Madrid, we caught the early train to Barcelona. This journey took us through Spain’s barren countryside and took around 10 hours. Unfortunately we were separated from Mr. Cooke and Mr. Thomas en route; however, we were pleasantly surprised with the high standard of our hotel on being re-united with the two masters.
The first night in the hotel ‘Expo’ saw the entire team sampling the delights of Spanish hospitality and cuisine. Some of us were less fortunate however in discovering the comparative cheapness of Spanish liquor!, which, though a good quality, was potent' Our first glimpse of the ‘Real Club Polo de Barcelona’ astonished most of us. Reputedly one of the most expensive clubs in the world, its extensive array of floodlit hockey pitches proved to be an excellent setting for the xxxv Torneo Hockey.
Our first match was against a team called ‘Polo 1897’ who we managed to beat 2-0. The match was particularly strenuous because it took us some time to adjust to the heat of the Spanish sun. Mark Johnson proved to be the top scorer of the tournament by claiming 5 out of the 6 goals. Between matches we relaxed within the club grounds in the company of other teams from Belgium, Italy, Ireland and not forgetting the Great Britain International team.
Our second match was played against Seleccion Catalana who, unfortunately, proved a formidable team to contend with beating us 2-1. This proved to be one of our more unusual matches on account of the game being played under floodlights.
The third match took place under the scorching heat of the sun : after taking an early lead against ‘R .C .P0I0’, we went on to concede 3 goals, finally losing 3-1. We felt disappointed with our performance on this occasion as we had far greater potential on our side than the final score showed. After this particular game we were privileged to watch the Spain versus Great Britain match which was played on an Astro Turf pitch in Barcelona. Needless to say we picked up a few useful tactics which proved useful in our final game against ‘C.F.Barcelona’, who were considered to be our most dangerous opposition. With good defensive play from our backs and halves we managed to hold out against strong advances from our opponents. However, equally strong forward play from our front-line men led to a penalty flick which was consequently taken advantage of by J. Graham and which finally led to us winning 2-1.
During our stay at the Club we were honoured to attend a reception dinner which allowed us to meet members of the Great Britain side and the entertaining Aer Lingus team from Ireland with their renowned song!
After a few more days in Barcelona we returned to Madrid on the overnight train travelling in somewhat cramped conditions; but at least Messrs. Cooke and Thomas managed to travel with us on this return journey! On arrival at Madrid we had a short sightseeing tour of this beautiful city before we had to board the return flight to London in the capable hands of Iberia Airlines. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and special thanks must be extended to Mr. Cooke, for coping with us for the week and for supplying us with much needed loans.. . which were much appreciated!, and to Mr. V. Thomas without whose help we would never have experienced such a marvellous time. Both masters showed tremendous enthusiasm and tolerance for which we are all grateful. Out of 4 matches played the team won 2 and lost 2.