Back 2 Hockey ‘Clash of the Titans revisited’
By Roger Hitch
Dark Destroyers 1 – 2 Light Savers
Written from the view of a Dark Destroyer from the battle on 15th May 2021
It was an overcast day with a chance of thunder that set the scene for another fight to the death between the giants of B2H on the field of battle. Meeting for the fourth time where the 'Dark Destroyers' were determined to throw the 'Light Savers' onto their swords and turn around the rolling 3-1 games deficit.
The battle began, overseen by Wendy and colleague stationed away from the taunting between the two sides as they squared up to each other in anticipation of the forthcoming charge. The first blood went to the Destroyers Pilot (re-designated from Captain, by Cuddy) who, with a savage shout of 'Heads' (the "will roll" was lost in the cry of the wind) had won the toss and chose ends.
To increase the chance of battle damage and in order to excite the few chanting onlookers, tactics planner Tracey had chosen to put non kicking backs in goal and Hayley took that honour for the Darks and Liam for the Lights.
The armies were evenly matched and as the 'fog of war' lifted, the battle raged for the first ten minutes. The casualty figures stayed low at that stage but would change dramatically later on – so keep on reading. Soon the action moved to the forward part of the Destroyers right flank where Pilot Roger, cruising past the Lights’ left flank rear guard (Steve), dashed to the edge of the board subsequently firing a hard shot left to the top of the Lights unmanned 'ring of defence' where Dark's forward scouting column (of one) had mustered. Running Point was Apur (the only one) who deflected the incoming shot to the target causing a big explosion – of joy – from all the Dark Destroyers soldiers. Co Pilot, Cuddy (Katie), controlling the Destroyers midfield, was soon to rally the troops as this was the first time the Destroyers had been ahead in any of the three mighty clashes of the past (I think). Would this be the beginning of the comeback or would it be just a flash in the pan?
To cut a short debrief even shorter, the battle raged on with ground being taken and re-taken many times without much overall advance by either side. The casualty list started to rise when a Destroyers foot soldier Karen, running to get to a better cover position to attack, tripped over what was later thought to be an imaginary dangerous obstacle, and she reported to the attending medic that she thought her hip had dislocated. As the Destroyers medical platoon was a well-trained unit, it was decided that this had not happened and the injured soldier rose up again and was ordered to take on the role of forward observer only, issuing instructions and support from behind the lines.
During one attack, Destroyers Pilot (by now flagging and gasping for breath, having been on the go for at least 35 minutes!) was seen to attempt a new approach to the battle by just running the enemy over and knocking them to the ground. Although very effective, it seems it was not according to the English Hockey Convention and he was directed to give up ground and retreat five yards. Not wishing to lose once again to the enemy, the same thing happed twice more by Pilot with the Destroyers having to give up even more ground that had been hard won. Pilot was eventually sent back for rehabilitation for seven and a half minutes before rejoining the battle, which had taken a turn for the worse when a Destroyers rear guard sentry (Blank), thinking that the enemy could not possibly be in the vicinity decided to clear the area at the top of his 'ring of defence' by passing a live shell across the top of it rather than out to the edge of the board. This resulted in the enemy popping out from behind a camouflaged obstruction and deflecting the shell towards the target, which unfortunately for the Destroyers caused a direct hit. The battle was now even.
The Destroyers point man, Apur, doubled his efforts, put Nitro fuel in his battle tank, stocked up with fire power and made a number of very good one man attacks at the open target but with no positive result as the fins on the shells must have been bent on loading as all shots went wide. Such a shame but a hugely good effort and as a result got a verbal commendation from his battle commander once the battle had ended.
Towards the end the two army commanders of Roger and Liam were made to take part in a duel (pistols at dawn type) after a Light Saver's soldier broke the rules by preventing a Destroyer from shooting at the target inside the 'ring of defence'. Point was initially instructed to take aim but claimed his gun had jammed and passed the task back to Pilot. As the sun arose over the horizon it was Pilot who was to take the first and only shot of the duel (unusual I know, but this is an unusual debrief) from the edge of the 'ring of defence'. Looking through his binoculars at the target and aiming low, the powder in the chamber must have been damp as a dismal result was achieved, the target only just being reached let alone breached. Head hanging low and muttering, "It was never ever going to get there", Pilot returned to the dugout to look again at the "How to shoot" training manual.
The Light Savers sheer determination, overwhelming force towards the dying minutes of the battle, with their 'loud speaker instructions' platoon commander on high alert action and as the sand in the egg timer had nearly run down, were just too much for the Destroyers and the Light Savers' last attack was successful, their target being completely destroyed with their last shot meaning that once again the Destroyers had to retreat back to the tea tent and work on their tactics. The words, in a deep voice, of, "I'll be back" were heard from one soldier, limping off to find medical attention in the form of a pint of beer.
It should be noted that a Medal of Honour was awarded to the only left handed soldier of the battle, Denis (no one knows how he can shoot that way – but he does) who was awarded the "MVP" medal (whatever that is!). For his rather over enthusiastic way in playing this board game, Roger is awarding himself the 'Dolt of the Day' for the Destroyers side.
Even though the battle raged on for 65 minutes and casualties were indeed taken (but no prisoners), the two enemies made up over tea, superbly provided once again by Ann and her body of helpers from their field kitchen and decided that a rematch should be arranged at some time in the future.
For this to happen, we have to thank the two Generals who organise this, General Sean and Major General Tracey for without them we would not be able to set the pieces out on the board, choose our sides, place our soldiers in position for the start, shake the dice and see how it falls.
The following were mentioned in Dispatches – Gavin and Jeremy (both promoted to Corporal for their tireless work), Chris C (promoted to Sergeant for his brazen command of the centre), and Karen (awarded a Purple Heart for her injury and staying on the field of battle rather taking an early shower).
This report has been brought to you by the WW2 board game "Memoire '44" by Days of Wonder – a great game for all the family. If you want a game, call me!
Dark Destroyers Battle debrief report filed by Veteran Commander (and feels it sometimes) – Pilot (Roger Hitch)
- Dark Destroyers: Roger (Pilot), Katie C (Co Pilot), Will, Rashied, Gavin, Hayley, Jeremy, Karen, Charlie, Leah, Apur, Katie J, Chris C
- Light Savers: Liam (Capt #1), Denis, Steve, Major General, Rachel, Tom H, Jerry, Damon, Thais, General (Capt #2), Rosie, Maya, Oli (13)
- Medical Centre: Helen, Sophie