Top of table clash a classic
Top of table clash not a disappointment
Cheltenham Cougars v Bath 2
West Div 2
Cheltenham 7:6 Bath
Bath travelled with a reasonably strong squad, well aware that Cheltenham are an organised squad with a very similar balance of wise heads and new players on the field.
From the start the game was tight, both attacks making chances and both keepers pulling of comfortable saves, the only main difference being the Cheltenham ride, causing the Bath Keeper Mark Lane to go for long passes more than he would normally have liked, the short length of the pitch adding to the perception of little space to clear into. Bath scored first, midway through the quarter, with the home side equalising just before the whistle, grinding stuff.
In the second quarter Bath’s midfield, which looked the more mobile capitalised on good breaks out of defence, plus the long stick were beginning to make their presence felt. A good cut by Simon Evans from a pin point feed by Nik Roberts put the visitors ahead, followed by a well worked fast break off Hector Smethurst (the Man of the Match) to Roberts to go into the half up 3 to 1
Cheltenham made a couple of vital half time changes in their line up, moving their experienced defender up into attack and bringing in a new keeper (not that the first one was doing badly). Bath meanwhile saw captain Paddy Peacock start to struggle with a pulled muscle (although the jury is out as to whether he actually has a muscle), he also lent his stick to Tom Jacques who had broken his just before the whistle, and D pole Phil Jervis retire due to illness (several boundy’s and shots the night before apparently). For a period of 6 or 7 minutes Bath looked totally disorganised, Cheltenham capitalised, scoring 3 goals in quick succession to take the lead. Bath then pulled themselves together collectively and got back into the game, through a couple of great individual drives off the back post by Smethurst.
The last quarter saw Bath give the home defence a torrid time, the ball being flicked, kicked thrown anywhere by the D men only to have the visiting attack come straight back at them, Bath finally scored to draw level, and commenced to go for the winner, credit to the Cheltenham Defence, they did what it takes, throwing bodies at anything that moved, with less than 90 seconds on the clock Midfield “Maestro” Joe “Donkey” Perkins for Cheltenham gets hold of the ball in front of his own goal, rides several checks to run the ball up the pitch, the resulting fast break gave Cheltenham the lead with 50 seconds on the clock. Despite a late flurry the home side came up with the goods.
This was a great game of lacrosse, physical but clean, some great skill and heart from both sides. The return leg should be a cracker.
Quote of the day – “I’ll mark the bloke with the Civil war helmet on” Cheltenham Defender referring to Tom Jacques – it’s a classic Bacharach Resin circa 1979
Nik Roberts 2 (2)
Joe Brickell 1 (1)
Simon Evans 1
Tom Jacques 1
Hector Smethurst 2 (1)