By – Sour
The Battle of the Bulge was brought on by a German counter offensive through the Ardennes in the winter of 1944/45, and was the scene of some of the worst conditions of WW2 in the European theatre. Now I’m not trying to belittle or trivialise the actual event, but it was pretty cold in Nottingham on Saturday and some of us were looking a bit heavy after the Christmas break….
More after the jump…
The day dawned bright and cold in Newcastle as our 8 (from Newcastle including Higginbottom as the away ref) set out at 0900. A car from Durham, one from Aylesbury and of course Maitland the Hutt from Tadcaster completed a decent line-up for the Knights.
Michael anchored the team in the cage, supported by the returning Pigeon, Webbé, debutante Hoskins and Stewart running LSM. Maitland was joined by Bryant, Suddaby, Hanappel, and Johnstone in the midfield, with Woodrow, Wheeldon and increasingly enigmatic Buckley in attack.
After what can only be described as a bit of a faff regarding playability at the intended venue and a quick transfer to Highfields the game got underway in bright conditions with a three man crew of zebras and 14 (!) players for Notts.
A day of intriguing battles all over the field started with the most intriguing of all the faceoff. With Maitland and Hanappel splitting time against Nottingham stalwart Andy Whilde, it looked like it would be a ding dong battle from the start – and so it proved, with the superior number of Knights at the X telling toward the end of the game.
After a back and forth first 10 minutes where neither keeper was really tested, Nottingham ‘s LDO Harrison Rogers opened the scoring followed by a tally by Tom Britland taking them 2 up before Bryant powered down the alley to stick a doozy to end the quarter at 2-1.
The second quarter was a different ball game figuratively speaking at least. Wheeldon was first on the score card to even it up before the Knights took their first lead of the game on another Bryant tally. Nottingham Captain James Pilkington then brought us back even at 3 a piece. Maitland then picked up his one for the day on a tasty rip to leave us at 3-4 going into half time.
You’d have to assume that all the usual clichés were rolled out at half time, and if third quarters were as crucial as has been made out the Knights would have been in trouble...
Notts came out firing and with two goals each from Matt Twose and Rogers to a tally each for Bryant and Wheeldon who finished off a delightful tick-tack-toe move to leave the “Silver Bullets” trailing 7-6 at three quarters.
The fourth quarter saw the Knights coming from behind again, with Webbé scoring his one for the year as he snagged a clear from Michael upped the pace again and got to 12 yards with no pressure and as he shot through the slide the goalie had no chance. As a counterpoint to this excellent goal his “Tebow” celebration was dire.
Goals from Suddaby and Hanappel took the Knights into a 9-7 lead before Notts struck back through Twose, and Rogers before Wheeldon took us back to 9-10 before James Aspinall tied it up at 10.
That’s how your 80 minutes finished, but with it being a cup game – even a group one – a result was required, so we went to overtime.
The first four minute period was cagey, with both defences dialling up the pressure and offences struggling to hit the target. And so it finished all square at 10-10.
The second period saw Maitland take the ball and the Knights pile on the pressure. A few wayward shots lead to a pass that was lost in the sinking sun heading out of bounds for a turnover. Nottingham cleared comfortably due to a slip in midfield. A shot was sharply saved by Michael who hit Maitland on the break who cruised into attack.
The Knights worked possession until about 45 seconds to play when a shot caused a turnover due to a lack of back-up much to the chagrin of Bryant.
However....a solid ride left the home GK to throw an awful pass which was intercepted at the second attempt by Suddaby who stuck the ball into a mostly open goal with 12 seconds left.
Those last 12 seconds were smashed in by Maitland who played spoiler on the face
Woodrow picked up Bag for his morning that was filled with at least a month’s worth of grumbling. Hanappel picked up goon for thinking he was voting for goon when he was voting for bag, and somewhat predictably Suddaby picked up the Mandallion for his overtime exploits combined with an energy filled performance.
Other notable performances came from Maitland who had his best game in S&B, and Bryant who as always was a bit of a tank. Wheeldon seemed to have rediscovered his shooting boots and Stewart put in a performance at LSM that was full of venom. Hoskins showed he is absolutely cut out for this level of lacrosse with an athletic performance that is hopefully a sign of things to come, and as ever Michael was imperious in the cage.
As a whole it was one of the better team performances this year, but it was smattered with those mistakes that come from an extended time away from the game.
It was, I suppose, the ideal run out to lead up to the huge game coming up this weekend against Stops. Hoo Rah!
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