The British Army Blades v The Southampton Vikings

August the 23rd 2008




British Army Blades: Dave Jeenes (Goaltender), Rob Taylor, Russ Martin, Craig Pinder, Taffos O’Hagen, Jim Howard, Chris Pfleiderer, Baz Clarke, Jas Draper, Danny Panter, Gary Placido, Al Robins. 

Southampton Vikings: Tom Hickman (Goaltender), Martin Clayton (Goaltender), Nicky Drew, Matt Paynter, Gordon Murray, Simon Coleman, Martin Jeneway, Paul White, Simon Tipper, Karl Kitcher, John Hopkins, Paul Hedges, Richard Herbert, Curtis McKenzie, Adrian Haigh, Steve Gannaway


Match Report

On Saturday night at the Planet Ice Basingstoke ice arena the Southampton Vikings Ice Hockey team demonstrated why they are the best ‘year for year’ team who will never be forgotten. The game was arranged to commemorate the closure and demolition of the city’s Top Rank ice rink 20 years ago and the call went out for the ex-players to come out of retirement and play just one more time together.  

The Vikings were playing a much younger and fitter team from the British Army, The Blades who have a bit of a reputation. One comment left on the Southampton Vikings online message book warned the Vikings:

Good luck against the Blades Boys, We played them. They smashed us 6 – 2 and we  practice 3 times a week.”

However, it didn’t dampen the Vikings spirit and they comprehensively took the Blades apart ending the game with a score of Southampton Vikings 7 whilst the British Army Blades could only put 3 past the Vikings two goaltenders whose duties were shared by Martin Clayton in the first two periods and Tom Hickman in the third. 

The first 20 minute period started slowly while the teams sized each other up and at 10.12 on the clock the Vikings struck first putting the puck past a surprised Blades goaltender. This early lead obviously lifted the spirits of the Vikings and the incentive became one of a scramble to get onto the score sheet. The atmosphere was electric on the Vikings bench and the team really had a great sense of camaraderie with each and every line shift. 

The Vikings supporters went wild at this too, but by the end of the period the Blades had levelled the score with a powerplay goal at 18.23. 

With the scores level at the start of the second, the Vikings were on the hunt again and the Army Blades, stunned by the opposition could not find the finishing touch. Southampton managed to put another 5 goals past them, and as much as the Blades tried to mount offensive charges, they could not get through the solid Vikings defence. So the period ended 5-0 to the visitors, the mighty Southampton Vikings. 

Team talk in the Vikings dressing room at the 2nd period interval was that of physical worry, as it was obvious that the Army team had younger players and their physical fitness could overcome the lack of any prior training by the Vikings team in the final period. 

However, the Vikings went out onto the ice for the 3rd  and final period with their heads held high and aching muscles, and with the support from the adorning crowd, the Southampton Vikings kept ahead with good passing and dominant skills still evident from years gone by. 

Coach, Mark Wallace gave the Southampton players much needed game play advice and his words of wisdom helped the Vikings team with strategy and a structure for keeping possession of the puck in order to give them more chances of keeping up the offensive against the Army Blades. 

The third period saw the return to the ice of one of Southampton Vikings best known goaltenders, Tom Hickman and a reinvigorated Blades who were determined to avenge the second period drubbing. From the start the Blades threw all they had at the Vikings defence and goals at 2.12 and again at 3.20 created a worried atmosphere.  

Naturally, by this time the Vikings were beginning to feel the pressure the younger and fitter Blades could impose and the energy was draining from the older Vikings, but even so another goal slipped through the legs of the Blades goaltender and victory for the mighty Southampton Vikings was assured. 

Congratulations and relief was expressed by all at the final whistle, but the Vikings came to Basingstoke viewed as the under-dogs by the British Army Blades and they had to concede that a formidable team had come to show their dedication and determination and the renowned Southampton Vikings came out as clear winners! 

The Army Blades gave all they could and had to admit that they were beaten by a better team on the night and have requested a return match to try and even up the scores. The likelihood of that is in the balance at the moment and we hope that this demonstration of Viking power will help the ice rink campaign to convince the doubters of the need to re-establish an ice rink in Southampton. 

Our thanks goes to the British Army Blades and their officials and supporters who agreed to play the Vikings at fairly short notice and we look forward to a rematch if and when that maybe possible. Whatever the score, the Blades with their skill and determination inspired and drove the Vikings on to their deserved victory.   

Goal Scorers

British Army Blades

9. Gary Placido
22. Rob Taylor
24. Russ Martin

Southampton Vikings

4. Martin Jeneway
5. Paul Hedges
10. Simon Coleman
12. Gordon Murray (2 Goals)
14. Matt Paynter
27. Steve Gannaway 

Referee – Dave Cloutman (EIHA)

Man of the Match 

British Army Blades – Dave Jeenes

Southampton Vikings – Gordon Murray 

Match Announcer – Andrew Murphy