Men's Blues - Saturday 11th November 2017 - SEMLA Intermediate Flags R16 - Welwyn Warriors 2 Home

The Chronicles of William Felix Sinclair Barrie, Entry no. 982, 11th November 2017

Will’s Whacky Weekend in Oxford

Dear Diary,

I woke very excited this morning - big weekend ahead and I finally get to get out of Cambridge (still regretting choosing to live in this hellhole for 3 years). It was also my debut of the season for the Oxford University Men’s Lacrosse team. Hopefully I would get to play a full game for them this time: the last time I’d played for the Dark Blues has since been referred to as the bloodbath that was Dom Hewitt Vs Reading player’s knee of 2015, an event that cut the match about 40 minutes short. I ran through my normal routine: 330ml Earl grey tea with a bowl of Country Crisp cereal with Waitrose full fat milk (still bulking, gotta look bigger than Gabe on the pitch). I then checked to see how my Instagram post with David Attenborough was doing: 143 likes and counting. Excellent. One of those was even from the fabled oulcmen account. I must have hit the big league.

**[For those unaware, dear readers, Cameron Montgomery & Theo Hayes are in charge of the oulcmen IG account and really are incredibly stingy with likes and definitely never use the oulcmen account to like their own photos. William knew this and so was truly honoured to have the oulcmen account honour him with a like]**

After scrolling through the IG news feed, I gave the most recent 3_BNOCs_1_NARP post a like (I’m their biggest fan). I went to labs as usual then grabbed my bag which I had prepacked the night before, just like Mummy always told me to do before school. I always do this as it means I don’t forget anything. Helmet, check. Stick, check. Arm pads, check. Gloves – don’t need them, I’m sure Gabe can get some for me. I left Clare College for the X5 stop. I made sure to bring plenty of literature with me – I’d heard stories of how horrendous the journey could be. I even saved the latest Blue Planet episode to rewatch as a treat if I finished all my work (NatSci is, obviously, the hardest degree on the planet, and I have to work so much harder than those cretins that study Humanities subjects, like Classics)

My journey on the X5 was rather unremarkable. I looked around at my fellow hostages in this National Express mobile prison. One girl was wearing Robinson College stash. Why would you be proud to be at that college?! The mind boggles. A quick recheck on the IG post shows the likes have hit 165. Fantastic.

After 4 hours of hellish roundabouts, I arrived at Gloucester Green and was greeted by my older twin brother, Gabriel. Despite the fact I told him I could definitely navigate Oxford on my own, he remained adamant that he was going to sack off seeing Issy Warner to come meet me. Given that he hadn’t seen Issy, who he had previously lived with, I was pleasantly surprised that he was so excited to see me. That evening was spent with some of the Oxford Lacrosse boys (GDBO) in various bars, playing various contorted games: George “Georgie Shore” Dury was there, and even put drinks in his left hand, which surprised me. [Dear Readers, in case you didn’t know, George is 186% Right handed]. A night out in an Oxford club followed: in nightlife Cambridge pales in comparison. It turns out the Oxford clubs actually have a license to play more than 30seconds of each song.

Saturday morning. I woke with a rather unpleasant headache. Luckily, Gabe keeps an almost endless supply of painkillers so I gobbled some of them. We headed to the pitch. Despite all the fun I'd had the previous night, I couldn't forget my primary purpose of being in Oxford: to scout out their players and report back to Cambridge on who the danger men and who the gammers were.

After I was supplied with a pair of gloves, thanks to Gabe posting on the team Whatsapp, I was given a Dark Blue shirt to don. I felt repulsed. It reeked of 6 Varsity trophy retentions in a row, a feat that I and many of my Cambridge teammates would kill for. Once I’d gotten over how much of a traitor I felt, I realised how small the shirt I’d been given was and pointed this out to my temporary teammates.

“Well yeah, it’s Cob’s shirt. It’s obviously gonna be Cob sized” my brother commented. Chuckles rippled through the team before everyone agreed this was an entirely fair and valid point.

“It’s an old mixed jersey”; Cob tried to justify the size of the shirt.

I didn’t think it possible but I felt even more repulsed. Not only was I going to play in Dark Blue (obviously I look a lot better in white, light blue or Spencer burgundy), I was going to play in a faceoffing mixed shirt?! This would never happen at Cambridge. Fortunately, I was saved by the fact that Welwyn played in black and the Oxford captains had learnt from pinny-gate of last Saturday, so we decided to play in white. I threw the despicable shirt on the ground, pausing briefly after to consider spitting on and/or burning it
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After some brief introductions, a rather relaxed warm up and a minute’s silence for Remembrance Day, the match began. I quickly found myself hoovering up the ball on from the face off, giving the Dark Blues possession. In offence, the Dark Blues moved the ball well; my fellow Tabs will have to work hard in defence come Varsity no doubt. The offence began to rip into the Welwyn defence, with cuts and feeds to crease working well. It was a feed from Barrie Senior to Cob Ronway that resulted in the first Oxford goal. When I was playing in defence, I was well aware of the fact that most Oxford defenders had at east 10kilos on me – Tim “Dutch” Sweere was giving guys twice his age some impressive bruises, despite his militant enforcing of drinking rules the night before and Cameron Montgomery took time out from trying to impress girls with his “bagpiping” (apparently that’s what the Oxford kids are calling it nowadays) to give the other Welwyn attackers grief. More admirable play followed in attack and it was Rishi “no goal” Goel that scored next with an impressive outside rip (Nota bene: remember to tell the Cambridge guys about this one). The Dark Blues closed out the first quarter 3-1.

After some inspirational words from the Oxford co-captains (although I’d say I did a better job at giving inspirational speeches as Cambridge VC last year), Oxford entered the second half, with the attackmen determined to get “100 goals”. More excellent wing play from myself gave Oxford further opportunities in attack. Cutting and feeding seemed to be working well for the attack, with Rishi putting in more goals and Gabe dancing around his defender before hitting some top cheddar. After watching my older brother score, I was determined to get a pole goal this match, even if it was for the Dark Blues (let’s hope no Cambridge players read this, could be a permanent DotD nom there if so…). In midfield Oxford ran lots of dodges, with Alex F-P running past his defender with a 100% success rate (NB, he is also one to watch/attempt to injure before Varsity). Theo Hayes and Bithell heroically drew about 4 guys, sustaining some heavy casualties to their arms, before dumping the ball off to free attackmen.

The match continued with Oxford showing dominance – despite losing many of their Varsity players from last year, the team seemed to be doing well. Unnervingly so. After watching many of their players score, I decided it was my time to shine. I also had to make up for the 2 minutes of penalties I’d incurred from tapping one of their midfielders on his arm (something I grilled match referee and "Coach of the Year" nominee Brucie Morris for after the match). Finding myself wide open on the crease, as poles often do, I received a feed from Cob and dumped it in the net. Nice One England Academy. There was a pang of jealously from the other end of the pitch – for months Cameron Schmontgomery had dreamed of a pole goal. Now that I’ve shown him how it’s done, maybe he’ll find himself on the scoresheet.

The Oxford defence unit worked well – James Kershaw did well in clearing the ball, as did Josh “Let me play Shorty” Yeoman, who then got slightly too hungry for goals than for his own good. Their new poached-from-hockey goalkeeper Ben Reeves made some impressive saves and directed his defence well, despite barely having a voice. My fears for how tightly the Oxford defence looked subsided however, when I saw Monty restart the play from the sideline. Once play had restarted, he put the ball on the floor, realised what he had done, picked up the ground ball (I empathise – you’ve gotta pad those GB stats) then proceeded to fall over for no apparent reason. This amusing memory was replayed in my head over and over again on my perilous journey back to Cambridge on the Sunday (on a 2 day hangover, #legend). My LSM goal clearly motivated the midfield to get themselves on the score sheet, with cuts from Matt Stamp and others resulting in more good looks for Oxford and consequent goals.

The final whistle blew and the score stood at 13-4 in Oxford’s favour. Although Gabe had scored more points than myself, I took comfort in knowing that I’d scored more than him in a BUCS game a couple of weeks ago. Most importantly, I’d successfully scouted many of their players and was ready to report back to Cambridge, even if I had scored a goal for Oxford.

We’ll only have to wait 104 days to see if my scouting efforts paid off.

MotM:Rishi Goel & Alex F-P

Cob (1, 3)
Rishi (6, 1)
Gabe I (4, 7)
Gabe II (1, 0)
Matt Stamp (1, 0)