By – Sour
Those of you of a similar age to me (i.e. 19!!) may well remember an old TV advert for Cadbury’s Fudge with a catchy little ditty that went “A finger of Fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat”. Saturday’s performance by NuTLC followed that kind of logic as the Knights did “just enough to” secure their promotion to NEMLA Premier 2 for next season (Hoo Rah).
After a terrifying rain shower at about 0900 (yes I was awake!), a bright and blustery day found its way to Broadway West in time for a football team from Carlisle to get confused and try to change in our pavilion. Having negotiated this slight hurdle, decked out the “second pitch” in magnolia, and done a poop-patrol (to another strangely catchy tune provided by M Webb), the Knights looked like this: McIlwee returned to the cage to finally play against someone other than Liverpool, the back line was missing Ellwood, but gained another Standiford in the guise of Bennet, Kyle’s twin brother. Davenport , Warwick and Standiford (K) rounded out the big sticks. Webbé pushed up into Midfield with his shortstick, to join the returning Ridgeway, Stewart, Higginbottom and Suddaby, and the usual suspects (Ford, Wheeldon and Webb) rounded out the squad in attack.
Following a surprisingly sharp warm-up (later cited as a cause of poor first quarter performance) the Knights took to the field in high spirits and jovial attitude. This light-hearted demeanour didn’t help the Novocastrians as they toiled through the first quarter to a 2-1 lead on goals from Webb and Wheeldon to one from Stamford. Although never really being under the cosh, there was a lack of spark in the play from the silver and black, and a niggly undercurrent reminiscent of occasions where Webbé has ended up “just trying to calm things down”. Hull’s push out style of defence seemed to put the home attackers off their game a little, and errors were forced as the visitors’ off ball work rate was better.
The second followed a similar pattern, but a greater degree of cohesion and accuracy from Newcastle saw them edge further ahead by half time to 5-3 (Ford, Wheeldon and Webb).
It was a somewhat shell-shocked group in silver that huddled at the half. The physicalitly brought to the table by a fired-up Hull side had put the Knights off their games. However with double the usual number of platitudes from Webbé (or the same number repeated) seemed to give the men from Broadway West hit the third quarter with a renewed energy and an increased physicality to match that of the orange and black visitors.
Those of you reading this that have been in a half-time huddle for NuTLC in the past couple of years will remember a phrase that is trotted out with alarming regularity:
“Third quarters win or lose games”
Almost disappointingly this again proved to be the case, as the Knights pulled out a quarter of lacrosse so dominating that after it was done everyone was a little shocked. A 5-3 half time score was transformed into a 12-3 three-quarter score.
Seven goals in 20 minutes from Webbé (2), Suddaby (2), Wheeldon (2) and Ford wrapped this game up in fine style for the Home side. The slick ball movement accurate finishing was back, and the tempo between the restrainers was upped to level not seen in this game, as the Knights put a marker down and showed how they can play when they really do put their minds to it.
Fair play to Hull however who came back to take the final quarter 3-2 (Ford, Standiford K) to leave the final score at 14-6.
I always seem to sum up Hull the same way – bags of endeavour and commitment on the field, with a good pinch of naivety that is often their undoing. This was however the best performance I think I’ve seen from Hull (including when they beat us last season), and credit has to go to Gaz and Jack who’ve installed a lot of discipline in the side. If they can retain the backbone of this squad they’ll continue to improve, and should get some better results next season.
This season’s run-in has been a bit bizarre from Newcastle, and wins such as this one are becoming unsatisfactory. Let’s not sugar coat it, 14-6 is a good score line, but without that dominating third quarter the score line sits at 7-6.
Despite the final score, there were big gaps in the performance, Hull adapted quicker to the underfoot conditions (mossy and spongy) and left the Geordies behind in the GB stakes for much of the game. Finishing and composure in attack were early issues that although resolved during the game will be big problems next season. The after game assessment in the changing rooms showed a disappointment that shouldn’t be present after a big win. This speaks of the standards this squad have set themselves, and performed to during the season.
Big shout to Bennet who belied his 9 months out of the game to put in a solid shift, shame the York game was off or else he might have been able to time some of his big checks....Also big thanks to Poppa Standiford for blessing us all with two such outstanding young gentlemen with such dubious facial hair!
Warwick picked up the Mandallion (tm) for another imperious performance at the back, Kyle picked up the Goon award as Webbé probably counted Bennet’s vote 3 times, and Webb scored the bag, for being well Webb.
Oldham’s inability to get a side to Leeds on Saturday means that Newcastle will be playing Premier 2 lacrosse next season against some teams down from Premier 1...at their best the Knights will be competitive, but in their current inconsistent form could be picking up some fairly comprehensive beatings.
As ever player retention and recruitment will be vital this summer with 9 of the current squad possibly moving away from the area. I encourage everyone to get on the phone/ email/ facebook/ twitter to friends, family and acquaintances and drum up some new players.
Oldham will be the last visitors to Broadway West this season on 16 April, faceoff at 1400.
G: Standiford K
Standiford K 1G
Wheeldon J 4G
Webb M 2G
Season Scorers to date
Andy Ford 29
John Wheeldon 28
Mark Webb 20
Nick Lacey 18
Dave Bryant 9
Kyle Standiford 9
Andy Higginbottom 6
Chris Suddaby 6
Robin Webb 4
Pete Happanel 2
Steve Warwick 1
Sam Ridgeway 1
Liam Thomas 1
Ben Beattie 1
Ian Stewart 1
Previews, match reports and general musings from the Toon and beyond.