By – Buckers
In lieu of a match report for the Knights or Ladies, our roving (or is that raving) laxer Buckers sends this report of his second game down in SEMLA for RAF Marham. This one being against Dave Coldwell’s old club (Welwyn) and more specifically their 3 team.....
Marham arrived at Welwyn, who play in a mud bath formally known as the playing fields of Monk’s Field School with not only a full team but a sub as well, not quite the 16 players that were planned but still a decent turn out. Though called RAF Marham the team actually consisted of 2 personnel from Marham, then two from High Wycombe and the rest Americans of varying standard (for one of them this was his second ever game) from RAF Lakenheath/Mildenhall. With a 1330 face off Marham managed zero warm up, but that’s what 1st quarters are for right?
The first face off (taken about 10 yards from the centre of the pitch due to mud) was won fairly easily by Welwyn and they settled into attack. Marham defended this first onslaught well and forced a poor shot collected by the keeper. Some good transition play saw Marham quickly into attack and some individual skill led to the first goal. Marham were off and running. The next few minutes saw the game moving quickly up and down the pitch before one of the Marham defence let a Welwyn attack man shift onto his right hand up top and rip a great shot past our keeper to level the score. This was short lived with a pick up from the face off for Marham and pass into attack and a great leftie shot for our second. With quarter time looming there were some horrid scrappy ground balls, not helped by the conditions, but eventually led to another Welwyn equaliser, after one of our Americans had missed a behind the back attempt when one on one with their keeper.
There was more very poor hockey playing the second quarter with again Marham taking the lead only to be pegged back. Welwyn’s bench of 4 players was starting to prove its usefulness allowing them to break quicker but too no major advantage. There were a number of man down situations for Marham with some inexperience leading to some illegal checks and the clearest moving pick ever observed on the field of Lacrosse. I was settling into the game nicely in attack, unfortunately the passes into our cutters from me at X weren’t as crisp as I’d like and the one time I tried to sneak in at the back door I didn’t give myself enough room to shoot and pinged the ball straight of the goalies helmet out of bounds near the half way line. Half time saw an almost Mark Webb-esque rant from one of the Americans, he had some fair points about our poor ground ball flicks, kicks and calling and it did actually focus the team in to go for it in the second half.
After winning the first face off which we now seemed to be doing better at thanks to mixing up the man taking it and reading the opposition correctly Marham were soon a man up thanks to some Welwyn slashing, a call the ref wasn’t afraid to give against his own team. With the ball up top I again tried the back door sneak and taking the extra step this time received the ball and had time to turn and fire in a low shot for my first SEMLA goal! After waiting a season and a half to mange this in NEMLA I was more than pleased with myself. After another scrappy face off the ball ended up with the Marham Goalie who launched the ball up field where I was waiting deeper than my defender having left him daydreaming near the half way line. He missed the ball over him leaving it rolling towards me. A simple pick up with no pressure gave me a clean run at goal from the left hand side. The goalie thankfully was doing his best impression of a tea pot and with a bent leg on the near side he gave away the perfect gap to fire a shot between his leg and the pipe for my second goal. Welwyn got back into the game with two quick goals of their own, but then a laser of a shot from up top meant that we went into the final quarter one goal to the good.
The fourth quarter saw some tiring legs on both sides but it was Marham’s willingness to settle the ball in attack and take the shots when they were on that meant the lead extended to 3 goals and stayed that way. There was a chance for me to get my hat-trick with a great ball into my stick while I was on the crease only for the defender to be on me in a snap and get a decent check on my shot. Marham finished the match buoyant with 2 wins in 2 after not having one all season and with a good all round team effort they can approach next week away to Royal Holloway with confidence.
Q1 – 2-2
Q2 – 3-3
Q3 – 5-6
Q4 – 7-10
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