Men's 2nds - Saturday 17th February 2018 - SEMLA East 3 - Canterbury Away
Ciaran's eyelids fluttered open. After a long and restful evening fuelled by cranberry juice and green tea his six hours sleep had been filled by dreams of a small furry mammal. Was it a cat or a fox, or perhaps a badger? He could no longer be sure. Drawing his curtains sunlight beamed into his bedroom, perhaps this year's cold, wet and dark winter was finally over. Rushing down a quick breakfast of fruit loops and OJ, practicing his team-talk as he showered. After a few more formalities, he was ready, leaving the house at exactly 9:06am he left his house and left for fortress Iffley, ready for the journey ahead. Arriving early and eager with anticipation he led six keen teammates to warm up before the long journey ahead, this was going to be a big day he could feel it.
Meanwhile, just down the road at St Hilda's young Affie Otunla was similarly excited for the game. After a week of practicing shooting he could feel today was the day of his big goal. After a quick snapchat and a review of the nights Tinder matches, he was ready, although admittedly very nervous. Unfortunately his bowels felt the same, stopping for a not-so-quick toilet break, browsing the Facebook profile of his favourite on the Brookes lacrosse girls, he bounded down to Iffley, ready for the trip to Canterbury.
Four hours later the Oxford II's (accompanied by their four legged mascot) were ready standing on the pristine 3g pitch in the Kent countryside finally ready to play.
The game kicked off to a rapid start with co-captain and midfield engine Rob Smillie feeding a rapid cut from Oli Browne to coolly slot a finish past the experienced Canterbury keeper (1-0). The game was hotly contested as both teams battled for midfield control in the scotching February sunshine. Strong midfield running from Bas and Affie ensured possession was maintained by Oxford whilst physical attack dodges from Rhodes resulted in a few close shots on cage. A Canterbury send-off provided Oxford the perfect opportunity for Oxford to double their lead. Composed attacking plays soon resulted in Oli feeding Ben Fleenor to score Oxford's second goal with a clinical finish from the wing. Oxford continued in this vein for the remainder of the quarter with third goal being scored from a powerful midfield dodge from Alex F-P.
However, as one man (Ciaran) famously said; 'Attack score goals, defenders win games'. And so true this turned out to be. Charlie Wall, Will McKenzie and birthday boy, Alistair Garfoot proved an impenetrable wall in the first quarter and ceaseless midfield running from LSM Tom Munro dominated the Canterbury attack. However, it was our co-captain, Leader, Legend Ciaran Gilbride that provided the real inspiration. Ciaran decided to lead from the front and select the fastest attackman on the Canterbury team. Boldly going where no pole had ventured before, he followed his man to the fabled half way line, ready to smoke his man in the 6-second sprint to crease. The first quarter clean sheet proved one clear winner.
The second quarter followed a similar groove, James 'doesn't want to pass' Rhodes dodging from X leaving his pole in a tangled heap and the ball slotted in the back of the net. A lightning fast break from Andrew Bithell offloading to Rhodes and feeding Fleenor giving Oxford their fifth and leaving Canterbury short of ideas. Bithell was a constant thorn in the Canterbury defence on the break but the final ball let Oxford down. Finally, after much deliberation the opposition scored their first goal against a stingy Oxford defence. This would not do for Tom Munro. Having recently stripped down to a poor excuse for a vest, exposing his bulging biceps. He let rip a cannon of a pole goal to retain the Oxford lead. Half time (6-1).
In the second half more lacrosse was played, more clothing was removed and more goals were scored, all by Ben Fleenor. Great hustle by Ben M-W and Josh Yeoman and a rallying team talk by captains Rob Smille and Ciaran saw Oxford finish the game in control. The score finished a resounding win for Oxford. Sipping on an ice-cold cranberry juice Ciaran looked forward to next week. Ready for a US-import #bootwatch shoeing of a small village in the depth of the East-Anglian
Oxford 8 - 4 Canterbury
MOTM - Tom Munro
DOTD - James Rhodes