Men's Blues - Saturday 18th February 2017 - SEMLA East 1 - Purley Home

​As the harsh ray of light streamed through the gap between the curtains, Monty began to stir. He growled a deep yawn and stretched his limbs out from beneath the duvet. Just as Monty was reaching his full wingspan, he felt his left hand nudge into something fleshy and warm. The fleshy and warm thing suddenly began to stir. Monty had been here before, by now he knew the drill. He calculated he had around twenty-seven seconds to remember the name of this specific fleshy and warm thing, or else he would be left to bluff his way through another awkward morning of pillow-talk with a stranger.

More stirring, this time with mumbling, broke out from his left hand side; Monty broke out in sweats. He lay perfectly still in an effort to buy himself more time, but to no avail.

“Cameron!” giggled Monty’s friend, “could you pass me that glass of water, darling.”

Monty, nodded at the young lady and, without looking, knocked the glass clean off the bedside table.

“Oh would you look at that, I’m terribly clumsy in a morning, wait right there and I’ll get a fresh glass.” Monty scuttled into the bathroom and rooted through his jeans until he found his lifeline. This is what it had come to, it was time to phone a friend. Quick as a flash, he opened up the whatsapp and selected the ‘Lax Daddies’ Group Whatsapp.

Panicking and rushing, he typed out his message: “Lads im in a bit of a pickle. Anybody know the name of the young lady I was smooching last night?”

As usual, the whatsapp exploded with misguided enthusiasm.

“Lucy!”

“Sarah?”

“Errr… Becky?”

Big Steven Hayes, the OLC Blues’ ever-stoic keeper piped up: “In truth Monty, there were a few. Did you have a specific person in mind?”

Monty sighed. His fate had been sealed. He trudged back into the room with a tepid glass of water and made light conversation, bumbling his way through discussion about his room, how his night was, what he planned to do with his day, if he was free for coffee on Tuesday.

Monty desperately wanted to be free for coffee on Tuesday. He desperately wanted to feel love’s flames engulf him and to be struck square between the eyes by one of cupid’s arrows. However he couldn’t force or imitate such a real and intense emotion. He wasn’t willing to pretend just for the sake of a few coffee’s and the chance to eat Ben & Jerry’s whilst watching Orange Is The New Black with a potential long-term partner.

Nope. He wouldn’t have it. Monty pulled himself together and quickly resumed his stiff upper lip. Politely and courteously, he managed to eject his overnight lodger and tidied his room. After a shower and a generous helping of Cheerios, Monty packed his kit bag making sure not to pack his essential match kit, for it wouldn’t be a Saturday without the young sports star forgetting his shirt or his shorts or both.

***

A lonely, isolated figure stood on the fresh turf in University Parks. The time was 13:09. Boiling with rage, the figure reached into his bag and retrieved a small plastic vessel. Flipping the lid with his gigantic thumb, the figure pressed the cold plastic rim to his hard lips. With an almighty glug, the figure began to chug down the fibrous and energy-rich beverage.

Huel had, by now, become a way of life for Tim Sweere. Working 20 hours per day in the mass spectrometry basement of Earth Sciences was a demanding and time consuming occupation. It made Tim seethe with anger to see the rest of his team-mates trudging across the field; almost ten minutes late. Gabriel, Tim’s co-captain, could see that his friend was irate and apologised for his lateness. He explained that he had been up late the previous night revising for his upcoming GCSE physics exam and had invited two of the girls from his college to come round for a quick revision session.

Tim retorted, “Gabe, we weten allemaal dat betekent dat je het hebben van een triootje!?”
Gabe smirked and cried out “Right lads, let’s get warming up!”

Fortunately the Blues had enough time to warm up and included the team’s favourite exercise. The fast break drill. The Purley team had similar ideas and were spotted running a very similar setup in their own warm-up.

At 2 O’Clock sharp the whistle blew for the first face of the game and Purley had brought a wrestler of a man. At 120kgs and standing 6ft1in tall the Purley face-off guy fitted in with the rest of the team quite snugly. The OULC Blues were daunted at the size of these hulking men, particularly considering Varsity was now only 7 days away. The first face went Oxford’s way after a heroic battle in the middle of the pitch from Ed Smith, Chief Engineer in OULC’s engine room. With a quick slip pass to Gabe Barrie and a dainty poke shot from Gabe, the ball found itself jangling round inside the onion bag with Oxford 1-0 up after 12 seconds in the game. From the OULC bench, Shamus Birch muttered to his colleague and co-social secretary Matthew Jamshed “it’s textbook fast break drill that, good job we had time for it in the warmup!” Matthew nodded in sincere agreement as the whistle for the next face rang through the air.

For the next 80 minutes, not including time elapsed for stoppages and intervals, the soft white pearl that was the lacrosse ball moved up and down the field in a variety of manners. At times it was in the stick of the Purley players, at other times it was in the stick of the Oxford players. Outside of these constraints the ball was to be found on the floor of the pitch or occasionally outside the boundaries of the pitch. The Oxford team were mercenaries and cared not for the welfare of the ball itself. Should the ball find itself in a sticky situation and irretrievable from the bushes surrounding the pitch, the Oxford Captains would merely shrug at the loss of life of one more lacrosse ball and quickly summon another from the sideline. The replacement ball was invariably treated with similar disdain and disregard of life. Such was the bleak existence of any lacrosse ball that finds itself in the cruel clutches of Gabriel Barrie and Tim Sweere.

The match finished 6-4 in Oxford’s favour and the Purley team unhappily trudged back home, presumably to Purley and the surrounding areas.
The Oxford team celebrated and made their way once more to their local tavern for a few tankards of orange squash and some fierce debate about Monty’s tinder radius.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Blues – 11th February 2017 – Buckhurst Hill Home

George Dury was sweating profusely. It was already quarter to 1, leaving George only fifteen minutes to pack and get to Uni Parks for the Blues’ home match against Buckhurst Hill. Gabriel and Tim, the co-captains of OULC were expecting him and the rest of the team to be prompt after the lateness of most players to the mini-tour.

George was compulsive in his preparation for a game. He would clean the studs of each shoe with a toothbrush, starting at the lower left stud of the right boot and working his way up the sole of the shoe, diagonally between studs and then down the left boot, finishing at the lower right stud. He would do this twice with water, once with Dr Lax’s White’N’Shine Polishing and Cleansing solution and then once again with water. Using, M-Tape White polyester sports grip tape, he would re-tape his stick before each match, beginning at the base and winding in an anti-clockwise fashion, until he reached a point 26.5 centimetres below the point at which the shaft meets the head. Indeed, George’s ablutions were too long to list, however he carried each out meticulously and with precision. Most were of equal importance to George, however one particular pre-match ritual stood out among the rest. George would happily forego all other rituals if completely necessary, however this one was not negotiable.

George’s success on the field depended on a steady and regular emptying of his lower intestinal tract, typically taking place between 20 and 25 minutes prior to any match.

George’s sweating intensified. It was now thirteen minutes before he was expected in Uni Parks and still his colon showed no signs of budging. By this point, George had accepted that he would be late. He decided to take action and inform the rest of the team. Once again, the ‘Lax Daddies’ group whatsapp fired into motion, as George informed them that “howay lads, me pre match dump is fightin’ back like, doing me best but might be 10 late, blaming that Ruby Murray last night!”

Gabriel Barrie’s iPhone erupted with light and vibration upon receipt of this message. Naked, radiant and wrapped in his ‘GB’ monogrammed egyptian wool towel, Gabriel reached for his phone from the bedside cabinet; in doing so he exposed a small portion of the flesh of his bottom. This image was quickly committed to memory by Robert Conway (18) who had just entered the room. “Gabe, I’m setting off now. You know we’re meant to meet in 11 minutes right?” stammered Rob, as he fought to maintain eye contact with Gabe.

“Indeed, it’s fine old boy, I shall convene with you and the other chaps as soon as I am able." said Gabe, in his rich Churchillian voice. In reality, Gabe had not heard a word that Robert had said, and was instead boiling with anger at this latest message from George. He resolved to get down to Uni Parks as quick as a flash and blast George in front of the rest of the team.

Matthew Jamshed (89), was the first to arrive at the pitch and, after making arrangements with the groundsmen and doing a short wall-ball routine, proceeded to don his kit. He was promptly joined by Shamus Birch (37), Sean Hopkins (32), Beau McCarver (1), Toby Hardaker (17), Cameron Montgomery (32) and Tim Sweere (22) - OULC’s other co-captain, alongside Gabriel.

The early arrivers unanimously agreed with Matthew, as he stamped his studs into the ground and noted that “one or two degrees colder and we may have had a frozen pitch on our hands”. Tim seemed particularly impressed with this insightful observation and thanked Matthew for his point by saying "Goed gedacht Shed, dit zal zeker helpen uw zaak!” and making a brief note in a small black notebook that he pulled from his jacket pocket.

One by one, the rest of the team arrived, George looking sheepish and walking in a rather unusual manner. The stragglers had time to kit up and at 20 past the hour, OULC’s Men’s Blues began their warmup. Spirits were high amongst the team after the defeat of both Cardiff and Bath during the mini-tour, earlier in the week. Thankfully, George had at least managed to muster some form of colonic movement as he seemed to be passing and catching the ball well during the line drills and had arrived in enough time for a full warmup.

The fast break drill beckoned, and OULC’s midi’s took to the drill with gusto. Shamus Birch (37) and Jake Langmead-Jones (00) both faking passes and ripping top right corners; an encouraging harbinger for the imminent match.

The major change to the squad was the replacement of goalkeeper and OULC Club Serpent 2016/17, Steve Hayes. Steve had made the rational and sensible decision, two weeks before varsity, to visit his long suffering girlfriend, in a place that OULC is no longer willing to refer to by name. The place, which will hiterto be referred to as “a place just off the A2, with a population of around 55,000 according to the 2011 census and a cathedral”, was a ‘thorn in the side’ of OULC’s Men’s Blues team. The team regularly lost Steve to this particular place, and today was no different. However, fortune was on the mens Blues side. At the start of term a young, bright and unassuming chap name Beau had got in contact with the club. He had the unmistakable whistling accent of a yank, the kind of accent that makes any Blues player gulp as they see their blazer flash before their eyes.

Beau looked healthy during the warmup, scooping, stopping and blocking many a difficult shot. Somewhere, in a place just off the A2, with a population of around 55,000 according to the 2011 census and a cathedral, a grinning and dopey looking goalkeeper was staring lovingly into his girlfriends eyes, knowing nothing of the praise being lauded upon OULC’s newest recruit.

After an extensive warmup, the first face off was at hand. George Dury (25) knocked the ball forwards to Jake Langmead-Jones (00) who made a searing break towards Buckhurst Hill’s goalmouth. Rotating his huge frame, Jake slung the ball into the top left corner of the goal, within the first 4 seconds of the game.

“Good goal.” said Jack Templeman (OULC Photographer).

“It’s 1-0.” said Max Howells (OULC Strength and Conditioning coach).

The cheers of the crowds were quickly silenced by Buckhurst, who retaliated with an almost immediate equaliser.
Oxford appeared nervous in the first quarter, scoring a few more goals, but rarely from settled play.

At half time, Oxford were leading 5-2 and the Buckhurst Hill team were becoming aggravated. The second half resumed with Oxford scoring several more times. Buckhurst Hill made a run for the goal with a shot being made and saved by Beau (1). As the ball bounced onto the crease line, Buckhursts number 10 scooped up the ball and launched it behind the back to score a goal.

Late into the fourth quarter, a fight erupted between Beau and Buckhurst's odd-looking number 10. The eruption was quickly quelled by Oxford’s co-captain Tim Sweere (22) and Jake Langmead-Jones (00), between them weighing over 230 kilgrams, they were absolutely worth listening to.

The match finished peacefully at 11-3 and the Oxford team made for the pub, where they quenched their thirst with tankards of orange juice and thanked the Captains once more, for starting the drinking ban early.