Cheltenham v Bath 2nds
Cotswold League D2
Date: 13 October 2018
Final score Cheltenham 15:0 Bath
New team showed huge potential
The new league structure sees Bath 2nds in the newly formed Cotswold League Division 2. A small division with Cheltenham Cougars, Bristol Bombers 2nd and Oxford Owls.
The new format (the team is also in SEMLA West-North and the Intermediate Flags) reduces travelling significantly and should, certainly in the long run, improve lacrosse in the West just by games actually being played.
The seconds are always going to be a squad of mixed ability and experience and this season is no exception, 11 brand new lacrosse players from the University of Bath joined the club and found themselves in at the deep end, playing probably the strongest team in the division. For all of them, this was their first ever game, all of them had been playing Lacrosse for about 3 hours. The pre-game talk was more about the Offside rule and how to substitute than tactics.
The link with the University is very strong this year, and the students are determined to develop this crop of freshers into a force to be reckoned with, to that end, Oliver Walker and Billy Rawlins, both University 1st team players have decided to play for the Bath 2nds to help bring the players on.
The rest of the squad is packed with experience, so much so that the combined age of an attack consisting of Mark Lovett, Tom Jacques and Nik Roberts (Sum total 164) wasn’t far off the combined age off all the freshers. In Goals Will Tilsen, now a ripe old 17 yr old, had Paul Bown, Oliver Walker and Richard Bowen Ashwin to manage, again, a good blend of experience and youth.
Bath did well, transition was always going to be difficult, but the guys stuck at it, and but for a couple of good saves from the Cheltenham Keeper the boys in red might have registered a goal or two.
A few of the new players tried their hand at face off, and all did well, often winning the ball but losing on the secondary phase.
It took Cheltenham 10 minutes to get their first goal, and Bath were pleased to go in at quarter time only a goal down, however the second quarter saw a more organised and patient Cheltenham, looking for the weak links and taking advantage, the goals came steadily, and the home team put down a commanding lead.
By the second half the new players were looking a lot more comfortable with the pace of the game, learning fast, particularly when in defence and going for the ground ball. Cheltenham had to work reasonably hard for their goals, and Bath kept the boys in blue to respectable 4 and 3 goal quarters. Towards the end of the game Bath held the ball in attack for a good period of time, just unable to convert the pressure.
The result was not unexpected, the boys would have liked to have scored, the return match, with a lot more lacrosse under their respective belts, might not be as cut and dry. Captain Joe Stone can look forward to a fast-improving group of players.
Choosing the MVP for the game was difficult, Will Tilsen in goal came up with some fine saves, and Billy Rawlins ran his socks off in Midfield, but Oliver Walker got the vote with a good display of long stick defence and clearing.
A special thanks goes to Matt Wellings, once a Bath player but now retired, having Matt run the bench helped the team organisation hugely, and there were very few technical rules broken as a consequence.
1st quarter Cheltenham 1:0 Bath
2nd quarter Cheltenham 7:0 Bath
3rd quarter Cheltenham 4:0 Bath
4th quarter Cheltenham 3:0 Bath
Final Score Cheltenham 15:0 Bath