Location – Clifton RFC, Bristol, Final Score Bristol 1:18 Bath
Bristol dealt with bath’s second team in the first round of the Intermediate Flags 11:1, using a possession and patience brand of Lacrosse, stopping the seconds getting hold of the ball and competing, basically wearing them down.
The problem for Bristol in this game was the sheer physicality of Bath, particularly in midfield. Any bystander could see Bath were up for this game, as they actually warmed and stretched before the whistle.
Bath dominated the face off, and therefore the ball, although when in attack, Bath started to fall into the old habit of rushing and dropping, but the desire to get the ball back and to ride the Bristol clear was second to none, so in the end Bristol were subject to wave after wave of Bath attack, and with the possession came the confidence.
All the Bath squad worked hard to gain possession, as the game wore on, the ball was moved well and the shot selection pretty good. As stated Alex Hustler and Ken Murray cleaned up at the face off, assisted by some great wing work from Sam King, Joe Stone, Alex George and Mark Jeffreys, proving that there isn’t always a desperate need to run an LSM.
In Defence Captain Luke Wilmot had a solid, experienced, and somewhat hard-hitting duo of Steve Mooney and Paul Bown on his posts, sheer lacrosse know how and intimidation made up for any lack of pace, timings of hits and interceptions were excellent, all this giving protection to Will Tilson in goal, who nearly got his first clean sheet of the year (I don’t think the defence actually realised that the clean sheet round of drinks would be their responsibility as Will is still only 16).
In attack, Mark Lane, Mike Carey, Nik Roberts and Matt King rotated often, switching fast break emphasis from Left hand to Right at every change. Lane in particular is strating to get the feel for attack after moving out from between the pipes; movement and positioning get better at every outing.
The goals came at regular intervals, as did the hits at midfield and the quality of Bath’s play continued to improve as the game went on, not that Bristol didn’t have some good attempts, Bath were just too good from back to front.
The goals were varied, from feeds to the crease, solo runs (one direct from face from Hustler) fast breaks and broken play. The real highlight of the game from an organisational perspective was the ride, Bath really caused Bristol all sorts of problems when clearing the ball.
Highlights of the game are many, a flying hit from Jeffreys off the bench (took a penalty), fantastic facing from Hustler, a three way crunch on one Bristol player that thought there was a way through to goal via several red shirts and a neat pick up and back flick from Roberts on the crease.
Top scorer on the day for Bath was Matt King, scoring 4, one a nice daisy cutter through a sea of legs and another that bounced into the top corner despite the mud, however, the moment that the whole team will remember would be the excellent stripping of the goal keeper in the middle of the field, the run to an empty goal and the blazing miss over the crossbar from 10 yards, all the goals pale into insignificance.
This Bath squad now has a very solid midfield, with a couple of absent additions to come into the team, there is at least a competitive chance the club may progress further in this competition, next round will be a team from the East League, a whole different prospect for the Men in Red.
1st quarter Bristol 0:4 Bath
Mackay, S King, Carey, Murray
2nd quarter Bristol 0:5 Bath
Carey, M King, Lane, M King, Lane
3rd quarter Bristol 1:5 Bath
Mackay, Hustler, Murray, M King, Roberts
4th quarter Bristol 0:4 Bath
M King, Carey, Mackay, Lane
Final Score Bristol 1:18 Bath
- Doug Mackay 3
- Sam King 1
- Mike Carey 3
- Ken Murray 2
- Matt King 4
- Mark Lane 3
- Alex Hustler 1
- Nik Roberts 1
Miles Whittle (Panel)