After defeats to Cheltenham and Bristol in the two opening league games of the season, Bath (City) hosted Bath University in the annual game in memory of Jon ‘Happy’ Harrop, one of the founders of Bath Lacrosse Club in 1983.
Since the trophy was first awarded in 2014, each side has won four times, with the City side victorious over the last two encounters. A pre-season fixture between the sides saw a crushing win for the University making them favourites coming into the game.
With no regular face-off player for the City, they struggled to win the ball from face-off. However, they defended tightly to deprive the University of many good opportunities. This was backed up by some good saves from Dan Weil in goal. The University’s ride was troublesome for City in the preseason game, but some new tactics worked to good effect this time.
Nik Roberts should have opened the scoring after being found by Alex George from a City clear. But it was the University who scored first as number 89 found time on crease to get a shot away after quick ball movement around the goal.
Roberts did get a goal to even up the score at quarter time though. After Mike Carey fired the ball into crease, Roberts got a shot away quickly. An even 20 minutes of lacrosse with plenty of action at both ends.
1st Quarter 1:1 (Goal: Roberts; Assist: Carey)
The University racked up three quick goals early in the second quarter. The play was quick and clinical and it looked like they may run clear in the game.
Despite their lead, as the half ended, the University acquired a number of penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct. At one point going 3-men down, the City capitalised when Luke Wilmot joining the man-up play from defence, moved the ball quickly around the depleted University defenders to give Lloyd Butler space to crack in a shot.
2nd Quarter 2:4 (G: Butler; A: Wilmot)
While the University did tidy up their discipline after the break, the City team also came out much stronger. Butler was found by Carey for his second of the match. Roberts finished again. Akito Jacques then dodged and fired low after sustained City pressure.
While the City would have been content to see the quarter out amid mounting University pressure, there was time for one more goal. After Griffiths hustled back a loose ball from an aimless clear, Butler completed his hat-trick with a low-to-high shot. The lacrosse in this quarter was the best that the City have played all season.
3rd Quarter 6:4 (G: Butler, Roberts, Jacques, Butler; A: Carey, George, Griffiths, Griffiths)
With a slim two-goal lead but tiring legs, the City knew that they had to play sensible lacrosse to see out the game. Cool heads prevailed for the first few minutes as the University were shut out. However, after a goal from 86 closed the gap and 90 levelled the scores, it was all one-way traffic. City struggled to retain the ball from face-off and the University were ruthless on the fast breaks that followed. They took the game by the scruff of the neck and did not let go. They added another five goals before the final whistle.
4th Quarter 6:11
Overall, it was a deserved victory for the University in a game that swung both ways at times. The City did well to close the gap between the teams from preseason. The game was played in good spirits, with both teams mixing at the pub afterwards.
Big thanks to Miles and Dennis for refereeing.
2014 – Bath 9:8
2015 – University 9:8
2016 – University 15:9
2017 – Bath 8:4
2018 – University 22:8 – Match report
2019 – University 16:4
2020 – Bath 15:6 – Match report
2021 – Bath 12:7 – Match report
2022 – University 11:6