Late recovery not enough for lax Blues

Sam Spurrell 6 November 2009

Lacrosse: Cambridge 5 Northampton 6

Cambridge were expecting a tough game from the very start after injuries and drop outs left them with just 8 men on the night before. Fortunately a team was eventually thrown together through last minute additions and drafting in of new team members, including Captain of the Mixed Lacrosse team. Cambridge showed up with 12 men against a confident Northampton side ready for the game of their lives.

The game started well with Cambridge dominating face offs throughout thanks to Phil Hall and the team looked to be holding the ball well despite the relative inexperience in the squad. Unfortunately it was Northampton who took the first goal with a well finished shot. Despite this, Cambridge attack stayed focused and a great finish from Dan Montgomery in a man up situation soon gave the Blues some momentum. Overall the first quarter was played well by both sides and it was clear that this was going to be a tough game to win. Northampton led 2-1 going into the second quarter and Cambridge were ready to step up their game accordingly.

However, a further two goals from Northampton, who made good use of a setting sun soon put Cambridge on the back foot. With only one goal in response, the score at half time stood at 4-2 and there was a lot of work still to be done. The inexperience in the Cambridge side was evident and sloppy passes and poor decisions were letting the team down. Still, the Blues stayed optimistic, they weren’t out of it, but knew that they had to work hard to recover from this game.

Cambridge misery continued in the third quarter as there was a lack of fundamental stick skills and they were punished with another goal put past them. The score stood at 5-2 going into the final period of the game and it was certainly in the hands of the home team to decide whether they won or lost. This fact seemed to finally sink in to the Cambridge attack who made better decisions and worked harder in the final quarter in order to stage a dramatic comeback. In the final 15 minutes of the game two great goals from Dave Knowles and one from Phil Hall put Cambridge right back into the game. Captain Sam Spurrell made a number of saves to shut out the Northampton attack and they now struggled to cope with the newfound intensity and team work that had been so lacking for the rest of the game. The last five minutes were tense to say the least. This game had gone from lost cause to potential victory in a short amount of time, and Cambridge had the momentum going forward now.

Sadly, it was not to be. Poor decision making and a return to sloppy stick skills led to a Northampton goal in the last 40 seconds that could have been avoided. Nevertheless, considering how bleak things had seemed at the start of the game, the Cambridge boys should be proud of their performance.

It was a heartbreaking loss and there are lessons to be learnt, and fast, but we played a competitive game against a good side. We look forward to next week as we have Brighton on Saturday and East Anglia the following Wednesday.

Sam Spurrell