18th February 2023
This was the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season. Bristol had won the three previous meetings this season by an average difference of 13 goals.
Bath have been notoriously slow starters this season, but came out full of energy against a complacent Bristol team. Bath got the first goal of the game when Mike Carey fed from X to George to float one in. The roles were then reversed when George assisted Carey to roll around from X to score himself. Bath kept the intensity up ansd Toke Akinseye put Bath 3-0 up with an assist from Alex Taylor.
With Bath rampant, Bristol called a time-out to regroup. They did this to good effect as after the restart they quickly hit Bath with three quick goals on fast breaks to level up the scorecard. After Bath then called a time-out of their own, the quarter stayed cagey and scoreless.
1st Quarter 3:3 (Goals: George, Carey, Akinseye; Assists: Carey, George, Taylor)
The second quarter began with a Bristol goal. Then followed a bizarre period of play. Ben King called for a gumshield check on his older brother Matt, prompting a lengthy stoppage as both sides rooted around the bottom of kitbags for said equipment. Bristol briefly played with a man down, though this wasn’t too much of a disadvantage as it confused Bath as much as anyone.
After play restarted, the game was as close as before. Both sides briefly took the lead at different points in the quarter as each side scored twice. Luke Wilmot got both of Bath’s goals. The first assisted by Toke Akinseye, the second after a shot from Carey had deflected back out off the post.
2nd Quarter 5:5 (G: Wilmot, Wilmot; A: Akinseye, n/a)
After half-time, Bristol moved two goals clear in the game for the first time after Bath failed to clear out their crease. Akinseye added two solo goals in the quarter though. The first was made from hustling to recover the ball near the halfway line (see pic below) before taking a speculative outside shot. The second was after intercepting a Bristol clear and finishing quickly.
3rd Quarter 7:9 (G: Akinseye, Akinseye; A: n/a, n/a)
Having routinely put in big final quarters this season, Bath knew the game was still within reach. Goals from George and Carey kept them in touch, but each time Bristol hit back with a fast break goal. Bath’s played was fluid and measured and another goal from Wilmot put them back within one goal of Bristol. Bristol kept pushing and though Bath’s defence held strong, a good save from Neil Anthony unfortunately looped up and spun back into Bath’s goal.
Now chasing the game, Bath conceded three more goals on fast breaks to put the game out of reach. There was time for a late consolation as, with Bristol keeper Lane out of his goal, a long pass from Wilmot fround Si Griffiths unmarked in front of an empty net.
4th Quarter 11:14 (G: George, Carey, Wilmot, Griffiths; A: Akinseye, Wilmot, Carey, Wilmot)
The final result was disappointing for Bath and did not reflect the quality of their play. They more than matched a previously dominant Bristol side and arguably played the better lacrosse. It was certainly the best that Bath has played this season, both in attack (with movement and creativity) and defence (both man-to-man and organisationally).