Men's Blues - Saturday 17th February 2018 - SEMLA East 1 - Hillcroft A Home

3am, 17th February 2018, West of Oxford. The man formerly known as David awoke suddenly to the now familiar sound of his smartphone. “Just another tinder match” he thought as he rolled back over and tried to sleep. 

Just a couple of weeks ago even the thought of a tinder match would have doubled young Brucie’s heart rate. But as you are about to hear dear reader, in recent weeks he has experienced a change in fortunes. For Bernie - the tactical Puppy Purchase™ just two weeks before Valentines Day - had proved to be very popular with the local ladies and ensured that date calendar is now packed full for the next fortnight. 

Luckily for the men of Oxford’s lacrosse team “just another tinder match” didn’t disturb the precious sleep of the now highly desirable Brucie Morris and for good reason, he was refereeing their game against Hillcroft A:

Ryan began the game with the first of many dominant face off victories. Popping the ball out to Alistair Berven, Oxford went on to score a very early goal with a solo effort from Gabriel Barrie. Sustained Oxford pressure in Q1 led to another goal from Rishi Goel whilst keeping the potent Hillcroft attack at bay. Coach Peter Barry (of Helium discovery fame) felt so confident in the Blues’ offensive play that he decided to call a time out approximately 2 seconds before Gabriel slotted in another. Goal disallowed. 

In Q2 Oxford continued to control the game, Rob Conway found the net with a low shot to the keepers right but with many other great opportunities to score failing to come to fruition, it allowed Hillcroft’s first goal of the game came against the run of play. 
Oxford continued their strong start to the game in Q3 but as Hillcroft upped the pressure the Oxford team were bought back to level at four goals apiece and agonisingly went 5-4 down as the third quarter came to a close. 

Captains Montgomery and Conway brought the team together for some words of encouragement- just two weeks ago the Blues found themselves in a similar position vs. Spencer 3s and they knew what was required to secure the victory. With renewed focus Oxford started Q4 with real desire to secure the win and Gabriel Barrie completed his hattrick with a signature dodge from behind goal. 

At 5-5 the stage was set. It was the most unlikely of heroes who was to score the big goal to put Oxford ahead. Reminiscent of a certain goal by Oxford Alumnus Matthew Jamshed it is worth revisiting this delicious match report from the OULC archives:

8th February 2017: 
“One goal that the editor will expand upon however, is that of midfield player Matthew Jamshed (89). With Gabriel Barrie (7) making a dodge down the right alley and successfully drawing a slide he sees an open channel to pass to Jamshed. He looks away, hoping for a sideways offload, to George, to Toby, to Max, to anyone. Gabriel is isolated with poles on each side of his vision. He turns again to Jamshed, sighs deeply, and lazily pops a pass through the channel, hoping for its interception by one of the Cardiff poles. His worst fears are realised, the Cardiff poles have missed the easy knock down and the ball is now loosely rooted and rattling around in the moist mesh of Jamshed's stick. Fortunately the midfielder has been spotted practising his shooting away from the eyes of the prying captains. After poring over hours of Rabil shooting clinics on YouTube the plucky midfielder knows exactly what to do. He shuts his eyes. He grips his stick as firmly as possible and he yanks the bugger firmly and sharply in the direction of the net. Gabriel is already at the halfway line, ready to play defence just as he realises that Cardiff's keeper was awoken by the rustling of the ball in the back of the onion bag. A hip bump with George Dury (25). Fist bumps from Robert Conway (18), Max Howells (77), Shamus Birch (37) and Tim Sweere (22). A shake of the head from Gabriel Barrie (7) and number 89 triumphantly returned to the sideline and began reheating the bench to its appropriate temperature. “ 

Inspired by this fairy tale ending and reminiscent of a “Young John Grant JR”, Alex Harbord caught a crisp feed to crease from Rishi Goel and whilst spinning onto his left sent the ball into the top corner of the Hillcroft goal, sending all two of the home fans wild and the Oxford Blues into the lofty heights of 4th place in SEMLA’s East Division One.

Oxford 6 - 5 Hillcroft A

MOTM: Gabe Barrie 
DOTD: (Shockingly) Alex Harbord

Gabe Barrie (3, 0)
Rishi Goel (1, 1)
Rob Conway (1, 0)
Alex Harbord (1, 0)​