Plymouth City v Bath 17 Jan 2017

Plymouth City v Bath 1sts

West D1 

Final Score: Plymouth 9:17 Bath

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Bath travel short of numbers and grind out win

 

Victorious Bath squad

Bath travel light to Plymouth

January is turning out to be a difficult month for the club, student exams and ski holiday season meant that the availability for this top of WD1 clash was very low.

Captain Luke Wilmot managed to muster only 11 players in total available to play, so it was that the squad travelled the three hours or so to the South coast with Will Tilson, a willing but inexperienced 15 yr old keeper at one end and Nik Roberts, a willing but certainly not 15 yr old in attack.

Although low in numbers the team was Solid; alongside Roberts, Si Griffiths and Craig Morey have a good understanding in attack, Griffiths, always a threat with drives from behind the cage and Morey bringing well timed cuts and a decent outside shot to the game.

The job of protecting Tilson fell to Wilmot backed up by experienced D poles Sam White and Paul Bown, plenty of physicality and know how.

With small squads it’s always the midfield that suffer, lack of subs drains the legs. Ken Murray, always a threat at face and the energy of a Duracell Bunny was joined by Sam King and Alex George, all runners and threats in front of any defence. Last but not least of the 11 was Ben King, not yet 17 and handling the position of LSM with great skill, he even went to short pole in the 4th quarter.

The game plan before face-off was simple, get the ball, retain the ball, use the ball well, try not to get drawn into a running game. Luckily for Bath, Plymouth, despite being at home, were down to only 12 players, same field, same problems.

Bath started well, scrappy but effective face off from Murray resulting in Bath maintaining the all-important possession, but combinations of good defending, good keeping and silly passes kept giving the ball back to the hosts. At the back the defence soon had the measure of Plymouth, sliding well and snuffing out the threats, a couple of good saves from Tilson settled the nerves between the pipes.

Ken Murray shoots

 

Bath opened the score through a nice trademark step, roll and shoot from Murray, only for Plymouth to draw level with a solo effort within a minute. Murray wasn’t having it all his own way at face either, but the Bath wings were quick to the ball, more possession, more settled play, more opportunities. A brace from Morey punctuated by a left hand shot from S King quickly put Bath 3 goals in the clear, Plymouth started to get physical, gained some control only to have Alex George break through and shoot low for Bath’s 5th before the quarter.

The second quarter carried on in the same vein, Bath moving the ball well, albeit in front of the goal, not using Griffiths enough. The visitors first goal in the quarter by Sam King was the result of a missed feed on the crease which sailed through the whole defence and into the net; lucky, but Bath were making their own luck. The threats of outside shots now meant that the home defence needed to push out to protect the keeper, leaving Roberts to sneak on the crease and grab his first.  Plymouth then went through a period of uncertainty in defence, deal with long shots up front or crease?  The result was late slides and fouls. Bath capitalised on the man up situations, putting Ben King back into straight D and moving Wilmot up to the front of the attack, the keeper didn’t see the first shot, one of 3 Wilmot goals all from the sam position, Murray bagged another with the same move before Wilmot’s second. Bath seemed to relax, and allowed Plymouth to get a couple of moral boosting goals from individual drives before the half.

 

Sam King drives on goal

 

The half time talk was “more of the same” but legs were tiring, the midfield had worked pretty hard and every ground ball had been contested physically.

Plymouth opened the half with a nice fast break goal only to let themselves down by conceding another penalty, up stepped Wilmot, quick pass, wind up, boom, not a twitch from the keeper.

The game then got scrappy, Plymouth’s LSM started to face with the long pole and get some good ground ball, the game seemed to start swinging in the home sides favour, Bath started to struggle to clear the ball, even a back door sneak from Roberts to the crease didn’t lower Plymouth moral. Bath had to work hard to maintain the status quo and managed to go into the third break having won the dreaded 3rd quarter 2:1 but looking tired.

 

Plymouth score

Plymouth came out of the blocks in the last quarter with pride at stake, they were determined to make up the gap, 3 unanswered goals just added to Bath’s growing nerves. A time out was called, “keep the ball and move it behind goal, make them come and get the ball”. Bath started to play again, although the clear from defence struggled from tired legs in midfield. Ben King took up a short pole to ease the burden and giving more options for the poles and keeper.

Once cleared the attack always looked as if they could convert any possession, Morey stepped up with a nice cut to crease and Murray added his third with what looked like a mirror of the other two goals. Plymouth scored on the break then promptly fell asleep when the ball came in from the side line on the next Bath attack, leaving Morey up top in acres of space, quick pass from Roberts and a good shot into the top corner.

By moving the ball behind Bath started to see more of Griffiths and he became an increasing threat driving around the crease, Plymouth had so far dealt with this threat, getting last ditch knock downs, two of which were converted on fast breaks, the pressure told however, and Griffiths got his first, shooting over and through the defence from a tight angle and while being double teamed. With 15 seconds on the clock Bath finished the game with an excellent fast break from King to Roberts to Griffiths to goal, the icing on the cake, tying the quarter 5 all.

An excellent win but this was hard work for Bath, and it need not have been; Plymouth are a capable team on their day, especially in their own back yard. If the club wants to challenge for promotion to the premiership, the senior first team players need to make a commitment to play, Bath cannot rely on old hands forever. That’s said Will Tilson and Ben King are going to be the bedrock of the side in years to come.

Plymouth and Bath Squads

 

Quarter Scrores

1st quarter Plymouth 1:5 Bath

Murray, Morey, King, Morey, George

2nd quarter Plymouth 2:5 Bath

King, Roberts, Wiimot, Murray, Wilmot

3rd quarter Plymouth 1:2 Bath

Wilmot, Roberts

4th quarter Plymouth 5:5 Bath

Morey, Murray, Morey, Griffiths, Griffiths

Final Score Plymouth 9:17 Bath

 

Scorers

Ken Murray 3

Craig Morey 4

Sam King 2

Alex George 1

Nik Roberts 2

Luke Wilmot 3

Simon Griffiths 2

 

Referee:

Plymouth

 

Top Score tables

Name   Goals No Games Average
Lloyd Butler 24 8 3.00
Craig Morey 21 10 2.10
Nik Roberts 20 8 2.50
Sam King 13 7 1.86
Simon Griffiths 10 7 1.43
Doug Mackay 8 4 2.00
Ken Murray 8 8 1.00
Alex Hustler 6 3 2.00
Luke Wilmot 6 9 0.67
Tom Jacques 5 4 1.25
James Smith 5 6 0.83
Tom Naughton 4 3 1.33
Jacob Stapleton 4 3 1.33
Dale Armstrong 4 7 0.57
Alex Foster-Powell 3 3 1.00
Akito Jacques 3 5 0.60
Joe Stone 3 5 0.60
Alex George 3 7 0.43
Seb Morgan 2 2 1.00
Rory Crouch 2 5 0.40
Matt King 1 1 1.00
Jason He 1 3 0.33
Laurence Dawson-Smith 1 4 0.25
Matt Stamp 1 4 0.25
Mike Carey 1 5 0.20
Richard Bowen-Ashwin 1 6 0.17
Total   160    
Attack 91 Defence 6 Midfield 63   Goal 0