Lacrosse: Dragons Slain

Sam Spurrell - Sports Reporter 29 October 2009

Cambridge 8 Ljubljana 3

Cambridge University Lacrosse Club hosted their first international friendly of the year as the Slovenian team Ljubljana Dragons travelled to Cambridge on Saturday.

This was the second time the Dragons have travelled to Cambridge, and it is hoped that it will continue to be a regular fixture in the Cambridge lacrosse calendar.

Last year the Slovenes were the weaker of the two sides, so it was with some surprise that they began the game as the stronger team. They made good use of the ball and played with a desire to win that can only come from travelling from the other side of Europe to get to the game.

They were keen to play a very physical game and this continued throughout as they fought hard for every ground ball. It was soon clear that they were a much improved team from a year earlier so the Cambridge boys needed to switch on and start playing intelligent lacrosse as soon as possible.

Unfortunately they went down 2-0 in the first quarter of the game and certainly looked to be on the back foot. The defence were failing to pick up the free men in front of goal and were punished for the lack of concentration. Ljubljana were better organised from the beginning and their defence were making it tough work for Cambridge to get a decent shot on goal.

In the second quarter, matters improved somewhat for Cambridge. They were able to score two quick goals from experienced attack man Todd Nichols and fresher Josh Findlay to level the score and the defence finally organised themselves to hold out any more Slovenian shots. However, there was still room for improvement in many areas of the field. There was certainly the opportunity to be three or four ahead, but the Slovenians were lucky to be saved by the frame of the goal.

Nevertheless, the pace set by the visiting side never let up. Cambridge were fortunate to have the larger squad and so could make good use of substitutes to avoid tiredness in the later periods of the game. The second half of the match was a vast improvement to the way it started as Cambridge pulled clear in the third quarter to make it 4-2.

This improvement is clearly reflected in the score line as half of the goals scored by Cambridge were in the final quarter including a great bounce shot from Duncan Barrigan and a shot that went in off the post from Jeremy McCarron. The Slovenians were able to reply with a final well deserved goal towards the end of the game to give a final score of 8-3 in favour of the Blues.

Sam Spurrell – Sports Reporter