Amid much creaking of old legs, the Diamonds and Hearts started proceedings, goals from Jason Hewitt and Steve Ellams giving the Diamonds the win despite a late reply from Brian Worrall. Stephen Elliott gave the Spades a lead that was equalized by the Clubs' Colin McHaffie before Andy Legg got the Spades' winner.
The Clubs and Hearts had a well contested draw, Brian Jokat put the Hearts ahead to be levelled by Billy Price. Brian's second goal was 11 assisted by 11 (Lol Paul). Jeff Epps got the late equalizer. The two winners in the first round faced off and the Spades blew away the Diamonds 5-0 with Paul Fleury and Ged Smith in great form victimising Nick Howarth in the Diamonds goal. Spades scorers were Fleury (2), Smith, Tim Dempsey and Duncan Moss. Two interesting sidelines were the tussle between Pete Broadhurst and Don Jamieson with Zorro showing he's lost none of those famous stick skills and Paul Fleury dumping Jason Hewitt over the boards.
The third round of games saw the Hearts overcome an early two goal deficit from two Fleury goals with strikes from Brian Jokat, Nick Crawley and Arran Richardson. Diamonds v Clubs was the Jason Hewitt show with Jay grabbing four goals working well with Don Jamieson. Russ Richardson was the Diamonds' other scorer, Andy Bennett and Pete Winstanley the Clubs' scorers in this 5-2 defeat.
The third place playoff saw Brian Worrall give the Hearts an early lead over the Clubs. That was equalized by Colin McHaffie (who strangely didn't reacquaint himself with the home penalty box during the night!). Brian Jokat edged the Hearts back in the lead for Chris Mills to tie the game up again. Penalty shots decided it with misses from Jeff Epps and Bernie Snagg amongst others before Karel Stanek kept his cool and skill to score past Kris Beaumont.
That left a serious final between the Diamonds and Hearts. Jason Hewitt equalized an early Paul Fleury goal before Paul sent another shot past Diamonds netminder, Phil Verstappen. Captain Bayliss wasn't amused. With much line matching going on, Jason Hewitt equalized but with Jason going off on a line change but not Don Jamieson, Spades defencemen Simon Mills and Tim Dempsey took a break too but Don Jamieson popped up to score a close range winner and the last ever goal at the Devonshire Road rink.
This was a great event enjoyed by a large crowd. Hearts captain, Paul Bayliss, was typically generous in victory " I thought it went great especially because our team won, well only because our team won! The turn out was super with lots of friends having a good laugh about the old times. Comment was made that it took the rink to close for everyone to get together for a reunion, something else should have been organised before. Jeff Epps who played over here 20 years ago was astounded how much the English players had improved. The event was extremely well organized and the time and effort put in by Keith Purvis, myself and everyone else involved was well appreciated by everyone."
over to Keith Purvis: "I thought the day was superb. I saw people
that had been following the Aces since they started and many that I
hadn't seen in years. Everyone I talked to - whether involved, playing
or simply watching really enjoyed it and all the players were so grateful
of the opportunity to see off the rink in such a way. I am personally
devasted that the building is gone, not for me but for the hundreds
of kids that will now not have the chance to learn and play a great
team game. A number of the older players came to me afterwards and they
all said the same thing, that had the rink not been there they would
have ended up on street corners or wasting their time in pointless and
unrewarding pursuits. I can only hope that someone out there realises
the value of a facility and despite any egotistic or political obstacles
just gets it together and builds another rink very quickly."