29th October 2022
On an unseasonably warm day in late October, Bath travelled to Oxford City in a regular SEMLA league game. With no regular goalkeeper available, Neil Anthony admirably stepped up to take a place in net.
Bath raced out of the block, scoring three goals without reply in the first few minutes. First, Nik Roberts was found by Gareth Davies to score the opener. With Bath competitive at the face-off thanks to Sam Kettle, Bath added two more quick goals. Both came from Luke Wilmot with assists by James Runge and Simon Griffiths respectively. Normally slow starters, this was the best start that Bath have had all season. The only dampener was an early injury to Wyn Lloyd meant that Bath would have to see out the rest of the game with only one substitute.
Oxford, who had a mix of experienced and new faces, grew in confidence in the quarter. Over the remaining fifteen minutes they added three goals of their own to level up the scores at quarter time.
1st Quarter 3:3 (Goals: Roberts, Wilmot, Wilmot; Assists: Davies, Runge, Griffiths)
Now with the advantage of the downhill slope, Oxford continued to grow into the game. Former Bath player Matt Stamp scored from range to put them ahead. Oxford quickly grabbed fifth soon afterwards. Some good, though unorthodox, saves by new ‘keeper Anthony kept Bath in the game. They then pulled one back to within touching distance of Oxford as Alex George found Davies on crease to score after settled play.
2nd Quarter 5:4 (G: Davies; A: George)
With only a goal the difference between the two teams at the interval, Bath should have been more confident to get back into the game. However, some of the basics of the game deserted them as Oxford added three more goals this quarter to move into a commanding lead. Bath had a few chances but couldn’t find a way past the Oxford ‘keeper.
3rd Quarter 8:4
As the final quarter started, Bath faced an uphill battle. Both in the game and on the sloped pitch. They fell apart as Oxford added five more goals, with the last few coming at quick intervals after the restarts. Despite tiring legs, Bath found a late second wind and added two goals at the very end of the game. Firstly, a long clear from Sam White found George who crossed into Wilmot to finish from range. Then with the final play of the match, Kettle assisted Davies to score
4th Quarter 13:6 (G: Wilmot, Davies; A: George, Kettle)
Bath ended the match disappointed, as much with their performance as with the final result. While credit must go to Oxford for their athleticism, energy and ability to bounce back from a bad start, Bath will feel this was a missed opportunity to put some points on the board. There were positives to take from the game though. The increased ball retention from face-off thanks to Man of the Match Sam Kettle in particular.