December 29, 2015
Hockey prides itself on its appeal to the whole family, across the age groups, so it’s fantastic to see that claim being demonstrated so effectively in a single match. It’s a scene that is repeated across the hockey-playing world as hockey shows again and again the power that sport has for bringing people together.
When the 14 members of the Carter family took on 15 members of the Lankfer family (all pictured above) for a one-off Christmas special, it was a match that contained everything that hockey enthusiasts hold dear.
Nine-year-old Oscar Carter-Delight was playing in his first ever hockey match, but the sheer happiness on the young boy’s face when his cousin – George Minion – who now plays for National League side Belper, passed him a ball that he was able to sweep home into the goal, guaranteed this would not be Oscar’s last hockey match.
The match took place in Norfolk, England, at Pelicans Hockey Club – a men’s and women’s club that dates back to 1920.
Watching on was Neville Carter, former club President and one of the honorary vice-presidents of the club, who in more than 60 years of involvement with the club has been player, captain, club official, umpire and supporter.
Carter’s four daughters were all playing in the match, along with their spouses and their children. At some point in their playing career, every member of the Carter team has worn the black and white strip of the Pelicans, and oldest daughter Pauline and her husband Bob, are still heavily involved in the running of the club.
Equally involved in Pelicans Hockey Club are many of those turning out for the Lankfer family. Charlie Lankfer is club Chairman, his wife Nicola is a member of the ladies first team and among the players were several members of the junior girls and boys squads.
There was an international flavour to the Lankfer family team. Jonathan Lankfer currently plays for the U16 England team and also among those gracing the Lankfer family was Olympian Kath Johnson, who at the age of 48 has still not hung up her international boots – in March she travels to Canberra to play in the International Masters competition.
Speaking after the match, Pauline King (nee Carter) said: “Looking around there are just so many years of Pelicans history here. There are people who have been members for decades, people who have been club chairmen, people who have captained the teams, it has been brilliant to get so many people to turn out today. It is occasions like this that remind you just what a great game hockey is, it just brings people together in the most magical way.”