Men's 2nds - Saturday 4th November 2017 - SEMLA East 3 - Canterbury Home

David Richardson awoke bleary eyed after attending an excellent 21st birthday party. David thought it was shame his first choice of entertainment, a big 6’4” blond who could work wonders with a pole, was unavailable. However, the alternative has been adequate, albeit with a heavy resemblance to James Rhodes removing all his numerous pads, both in time taken, and gracefulness of performance. Thinking back to the levels of inebriation the night before, David couldn’t be quite certain that James Rhodes hadn’t been the evening’s entertainment. His thoughts turning back to his lacrosse club, David leapt out of bed, ready to face up to his second-choice arch nemesis, Canterbury 47. David’s arch nemesis, a 63-year-old man, wouldn’t be to visit for a while, so he would have to make do with second choice
Rocking up to the pitch David quickly kitted up for, pumped for fast-break drills, an exercise for which his enthusiasm was second only to Matthew Jamshed. The warm up finished David stepped up to his nemesis and waited for face. And waited and waited.

Oxford started brightly again, quickly going a goal up, through returning vice-captain DSJ, with the defence holding firm. A quick dodge on the halfway line, led to a Canterbury goal, their rapid ex-BUCS Unis attacker leaving Oxford lumbering defence for dust, a theme that repeated itself time and time again. Against the rest of the attack, Oxford positive and aggressive, forcing turnovers left, right and centre, against a strong attack. Good work in transition and attack led to a second Oxford goal for Theo Hayes, playing his second match back to back. In the dying seconds of the half, Canterbury got free and ready to rip a shot before Ciaran Gilbride heroically smothered the shot, blocking it with a potential sacrifice to his chances of biological children.

In the second quarter Oxford started brightly again, scoring again before some quickfire play by Canterbury pulled the game back level. As the momentum appeared to swing away from Oxford, cometh the hour, cometh the Petch. As the ball popped up from a scrum on face Henry hoovered up the ground ball, initiating a fast break and alley dodge before an excellent cross shot found the back of the net. In defence Will Mckenzie took apart his man systematically, stripping him in almost every position. On debut Alistair Garfoot performed a magnificent body check on crease, taking the games smallest man and depositing him a few yards from crease, with the ball picked up easily by Charlie Wall, who made some excellent saves to keep Oxford in the lead.

After some inspirational words from Alex Harbord at half-time, Oxford came out with the intensity that typifies their third quarter performances. Excellent hustle ensued, with Rob Smillie winning faces and LSM Tom Munro picking up the pieces in midfield and feeding the attack. This translated into attack with both Alex Harbord and Theo Hayes picking up goals, ably assisted by James Rhodes. Excellent dodging work from Rob Hughes drew slides again and again, with the tireless running of Oli Browne in midfield providing a constant threat on the cut. In midfield Ben Jacobs put in a great shift in both attack and defence on debut, tirelessly working for the team. 

With Canterbury in attack David saw his chance to match up his nemesis. With 47 carrying backwards from X, David settled in for a pushing match. As 47 swung his hips, showing a remarkable change of pace, David grabbed his opportunity, reaching up and over, arms coming down he intiated the hug check. 47 looked very surprised, but stepped out of the ineffective hug check to score. 2 minutes later in the same position David got revenge for this unrequited love by pushing 47 over into the crease, much to his nemesis’ dismay. Still, in the back of his mind, David wondered whether he should be booking 47 for his next party. 

The fourth quarter started where the third left off with captain Harbord completing his hat-trick to put Oxford 8-5 up. At the other end, Canterbury 24 ended his reign of terror on Oxfords poles by taking advantage of a defensive mix-up to slot in and take it back to a two-goal game. 

But then a natural disaster struck as the 4 o’clock sun decided to watch the excellent game, at the perfect angle to disrupt Oxfords attack and defence. The speed of ball movement slowed as it became difficult for Oxford to pick it up out of the sun and Canterbury’s defence started to press. James Rhodes was a common victim, but supplied multiple excellent passes to get out of trouble, including an excellent low side arm feed which allowed Theo Hayes to complete his hat-trick. 

Canterbury then decided to execute their tactical masterpiece, called ‘shoot on sight’, taking pot-shots from range at the Oxford goal. On a normal day, these would have been saved with ease, but in this case Charlie wall was blinded to the ball until it rustled in the back of the net. Oxford attempted to hold the ball in O to save the game, but Canterbury claimed first one goal back out of the sun. A mistaken call by Brucie led us to think it was a one-goal game and Canterbury believed the game level having scored again with a tame shot out of the sun. Oxford ramped up intensity to hold the ball succeeding until ten seconds from time when the ball was scooped up by a pole. Lacking time, a shot from halfway was taken but Charlie manged to pick it out an hold it.

The true score was realised after full time, leading to muted celebrations for Oxford, as they finished with two wins from the Canterbury double header.

Score: Oxford 2s 9- Canterbury 8

MOTM: Alex Harbord/Rob Smillie, for tireless running and hustle in attack and defence.
DOTD: David Richardson, for attempting to invent the hug check.