After putting Exeter away comfortably a week ago, Bristol came up against second placed Bath. Bath were full of confidence that they could cause an upset after winning away at Exeter and a strong win against Oxford. Bath were put back in there place by a strong first half performance by Bristol. With goals coming at a steady rate from Freddie Atkins, Will Stallibrass and one of the twins (honestly have no idea which one it was), Bristol were 4-0 at half time, thanks to some truly outrageous saves from Tom Stephens, rumour has it Hollywood soon got in touch to get him to star in a sequel to The Matrix. The second half soon got under way after everyone was delayed waiting for Freddie Atkins to come back from the toilet! Bath managed to get one quick goal back and their tails were up applying pressure to Bristol defence, but no sooner had those tails gone up, were they beaten back down by some strong defence by Hans Paulsson, Aidan Hood and Alfie Butler. Even though there was a steady stream of goals for Bristol, not all was going to plan for Charles Stewart-Syme, he was struggling to win at the face offs and ultimately ran and begged George Petrie to save him. Boys on the sideline say they saw Charles shed a tear! However George Petrie showed everyone that he brings more than just his excellent defensive midi skills to the team, by winning some crucial face offs, although his ability to pick up the ball still needs work. Bristol defence suffered a minor blip, letting in two goals, but the lead was brought back by a first goal for Callum Lavelle! The game finished with Bristol emerging triumphant, winning 11-3. The title is one step closer for Bristol, there is no let up though with a tough return fixture against Cardiff on the horizon.
As night fell and the lights of Coombe were set ablaze, the scene was set for the mighty Bristol Men’s 1st team to put their rivals Exeter to the sword. As the crowd accumulated and the boys jogged out onto the pitch, with words from coach Pete Wilson still ringing in their ears the players knew tonight was going to be electric. After a minute silence in remembrance of Ottie Ulden, Charles Stewart-Syme set himself for the first face off of the match. The whistle blew and Charles pounced, winning the face off, a reoccurring event of the night with Exeter failing to win a single face. Bristol took an early lead through goals from Cameron Stewart-Syme, Freddie Atkins and Sebastian Wooff. Exeter gallantly fought back to bring the score to a tense 5-3 to Bristol at the end of the second quarter. As the players huddled around to listen to their coach the crowd began to truly get behind the team. In the third quarter Bristol came into their own, and the score began to run away from Exeter. The sound of the ball hitting the net and cheers from the crowd became common place, Will Stallibrass and Matthew Giudici both adding their names to the score sheet with a cannon of an outside shot from Stallibrass and a pitch length run from Giudici that started with a sublime one handed catch off a feed from Keeper Tom Stephens left the crowd in uproar. Exeter’s defence began to crumble in on itself as the dominating Bristol side kept up their relentless barrage of goals. Tempers flared and Exeter tried to hold on yet Bristol showed no mercy, Atkins, Stallibrass and Stewart Syme all added to the tally with Stephens defiantly keeping out any further attempts and the final whistle came at great relief to Exeter. Freddie Atkins must be noted for his outstanding 6 goals. The players thanked the opposition as well as the officials for the game before celebrating wildly with the crowd who had shown incredible support for the cause. At the halfway point in the season the Mens 1st team remains undefeated continuing their current 2 and a half year streak of being undefeated in league fixtures.
Final score: Bristol 14 - 5 Exeter
On a surprisingly warm October afternoon, Bristol took to the field to play local rivals Bath. Keen to show a performance as good as the new helmet decals, Bristol started strong with a quick goal from golden boy Freddie Atkins. This quick start was halted as Bath found their feet and starting to test Bristol’s defence. Bristol were able to weather the worst of Baths attack. With a special clear coming from defence man Hans Paulsson, selling a fake to a Bath player so well, Hans printed a receipt for him. Poor bloke. End of 1st quarter Bristol 2-1 Bath. The second quarter started bright with goals from Charles SS, but sloppy play from all team members, resulted in Bath hanging on at half time with the score 4-3 to Bristol. With Bristol re grouped at half time, the third quarter saw them stretch their lead to 3 goals, with goals from impressive debutant Will Stallibrass and Cameron SS. Fourth quarter proved to be a tense 20 minutes, with Bath fighting back despite the precise checks of the defence men Aidan Hood and Alfie Butler and controlled aggression showed by Goalkeeper Tom Stephens. With a tactical time out called by coach Kyle McHugh, who by this stage was more sun cream than man, Bristol were able to calm down and capitalise with a few late goals from Harry Patchett and Charles SS. Bristol closed out the game to win 10-5 and showed a promising start to the season.
This report takes the form of an interview with midfield captain Freddie Atkins.
How were the team feeling ahead of this game Freddie?
“ Hi, yeah I was feeling pretty confident after last week’s triumph, with a bit of swagger walking out onto the field. I was however, a bit concerned about a potential dip to my goals tally, as I had a bit of a sore hip picked up from a super intense game of Frisbee over the weekend”
Nice, and the team?
“Yeah the lads were up for it, a bit nervous of the pitch however, it was a very slippy astro-turf which made both dodging and our usual trademark pressured defence hard to execute. We just wanted to turn up and do the job really, just business-like. Head in the freezer heart in the fire as I always say.
And can you tell me a bit about the game itself?
“ As I said it was a tricky one unaccustomed to the surface, and frightfully cold, quite end to end stuff and a bit scrappy by the end. I got really cold so was a DNF. But the boys ground out a win, though not quite in the fashion we were used to, we will be looking forward to the return fixture on good old Coombe Dingle’s 3G next week.”
Man of the Match and Dick of the Day?
“ Honestly this one hurts me to my core. I don't want to get personal but Nadin definitely deserved DOTD cos he’s gone veggie and got a chicken burger at Maccies’ after (Don't worry Guy, I’m performance so I didn’t), among other stuff. Sadly my mentor Harry Parker was wrongfully awarded it because of Nadin’s Stalin like grip over Hans’s vote.. MOTM went to the whole team.”
 Freddie later admitted he got this phrase out of a bathroom quote book.
The game on the 22nd of November was a true clash of the Southern titans. The effective title decider, Bristol went into the game having won their away fixture at Exeter 7-5. This home game vs Exeter was an inaugural exhibition event with many members, alumni and friends down to watch the heavyweight fight.
The game started a rather cagey affair, both teams’ defensive units dominating, and the goals slowly racked up, Bristol leading at each stage by a goal or two at most. It helped for sure that one Bristol’s infamous twins, Charles Stewart-Syme, had re-found his mojo and dominated the face, having struggled in the away fixture. He was also key in breaking the goal deadlock with some outside shots.
In the second half things began to open up, with Exeter having to chase the game and effectively the title, and their defence applied more pressure, consequently creating space for Bristol’s offence to operate. Tensions started to rise, with the fight for every ground ball intensifying. Special mention for Club Captain and Vice MOTM Harry Parker for ensuring a spectator spectacle, and putting the fear into Exeter with some crunching hits.
With this new space Bristol took themselves a few goals clear and began to look more comfortable. However then, in nail-biting action, Bristol drew a flag and via the following man up, Exeter then brought the game back to 6-6, led by attackman Diego with a frankly dirty bounce pass assist.
Hence it was 6-6 in the last quarter, and here the Bristol Support were key, cheering their team on in the fight, giving those extra legs. Buoyed by this support, the Bristol offence moved into 6th gear, and in a dominant last stint Bristol pulled away, partially via MOTM Charles Stewart-Symes’s over the shoulder crease dive, to a final score of 10-6.
A fantastic day for the club as a whole, with over 150 spectators down for the event, and over £600 was raised for The St. John’s Radcliffe ICU unit, who took excellent care of a much missed friend of the club Ottie. Particular mention to Seb Wooff who organised an excellent event. The club also recently collected a whooping £1086 for Movember, so were looking particularly dashing both on and off field.
Gale force winds may have been raging through Coombe Dingle but this did not prevent Bristol 2s from smashing a heavily stacked UWE 2s 13-3. As our undefeated season continues, there appears to be no brakes on the promotion train.
The tried and tested 2-3-1 structure in offence proved too much for the UWE D, with relentless dodges and feeds to crease resulting in goal after goal, even if it took Patchett 4 attempted shots in a row to find his target. Dhru Patel played his first game for the 2s in goal, and earned himself man of the match with his exceptional performance. Debutant Louis Smith scored with his very first touch of the ball as well as winning several face offs for the side. Tom Pothalingham also made his 2s debut, impressing captains and coaches alike with his lightning step.
Although we rarely allowed UWE into our half, we defended well when required too, preventing our opponents from scoring many goals that a less organised defence would not have stopped. Captain of defence, Aidan Hood scored his second goal of the season, maintaining a 100% conversion rate, while Alfie Butler put in a huge shift as our LSM, a position not used yet this season.
Overall, a great performance from the Bristol 2s and a special thanks to Jason Parkash for providing coaching tips from the sideline.
Goals: Sebastian Wooff 4, Harry Patchett 4, Rupert Liddell 2, Aidan Hood 1, Louis Smith 1, Will Stallibrass 1.
The team gathered and set off from Clifton Down to typical English sights- delayed trains and below average weather. However, not being put off by the bad start we picked up the rest of the squad at Temple Meads and gathered for a cheeky group photo on the platform; a picture only slightly mired by the illusive Stalli’s subtle hand gestures. The team got their pregame nutrition in on the fairly lengthy train ride to Cathays, and once we arrived we waited for a couple of slightly delayed reps from the Cardiff team while the newly appointed social media sec himself filmed an impromptu pre-match interview from Mark, the newly appointed keeper. We all kitted up and got into our match colours; an experience only slightly muted by having to change behind a parked car in the middle of a halls as there were no changing rooms. We had a quick 15 minute warmup to the tune of DMX through the giant portable speaker we brought (thanks Antara) and then headed back and got the pitch ready for the game.
The game time had to be slightly altered to 40 mins with 2 x 20-minute halves because of time pressure, but we set up and cracked on for the first half. It was a pretty odd start to the game, with the Bristol squad warmed up and cracking on compared to the Cardiff squad who were not so organised. It was a hotly contested and pretty chaotic start due to the removal of the offside rule, and Cardiff were able to squeeze in a point despite the masterful Mark Irvine playing in goal. Possession changed regularly, and it was in all an exciting match despite the odd conditions, and due to some masterful play in the offensive, both Nikki and Eliza scored fantastic goals before the 20 minutes were up.
At half time the score sat at 2-2 and we were determined to put the Welsh down and prove who the better country was. Bristol gathered for a heartening team talk while Cardiff milled around. After a chat between the two refs, Bristol being reffed by Toni due to an injury from a tragic hair-straightener accident, we decided that checks would be more closely monitored and more penalties would be called. We switched ends and kicked off the second half. The change was immediate- the whistle was blown frequently to the distaste of the Cardiff team, and soon the game tidied up and some great play went on from both sides. Hannah expertly ran and cradled her way through the Welsh defence and scored a cracking goal, giving us hope of a victory. With the new tighter reffing in play, the infamous Will Stallibrass got the best play of the game, acting as a pick so that Jess could shake off a scrappy Welshman. On the other end of the spectrum, Gregor took so long to pick up a groundball that Stalli had to give up and lay facedown on the astro. Unfortunately, despite the excellent play from Bristol, Cardiff were able to equalize and then score in the last minute, bringing the final score to 4-3 to them.
Overall it was a really solid first game- the fact that it was the first time on the pitch with a mixed stick for more than one player makes our performance all the more impressive. Cardiff were a fun team to play against- if not a bit scrappy- and it was a grand start to the season; good job everyone.
The 2s promotion train pulled out of the station at high speed, with an 18-0 win at Swansea. Regarded by many as a classic fixture, it was made all the more classic by the grey skies and omnipresent drizzle. The four freshers, Ed Owen, Will Stallibrass, Freddie Fitzgerald and James Clemetson, had earned a call up after impressing for the 3s and looked to grasp their chance with both hands. They fitted seamlessly into a line up which featured many returners from the previous season, with heretic Clarence Avena tending the goal, having replaced the acclaimed Tom Stephens.
Clemetson particularly impressed with his dominance at the X winning Man of the Match for his efforts, whilst Stallibrass and Owen treated themselves to 2 goals each and Fitzgerald looked dangerous driving from up top capping a his performance off with a goal. Stallibrass beating the keeper whilst lying on the floor was a great moment for the debutant.
Bristol started fast and never slowed down, with Swansea never looking as if they could put the brakes on their destructive opposition. Attacking duo Harry Patchett and Rupert Liddell opened their accounts with a prolific display scoring 9 goals between them. The highlight of this partnership was an audacious underhand laser feed from Liddell which found Patchett on crease who placed it past the keeper. Alex Dobrashian scored a hat trick whilst Aidan Hood somehow smashed through the opposition's defences to score in a rare short stick cameo for the pole. Patient but aggressive defence in the rare Swansea attacks meant that Avena only had to make a sprinkling of saves, whilst structured attacking play and measured dodges resulted in a high scoring offence. All in all, a strong performance with signs pointing to a good season for the championship candidates.
The day started with a quiet warm up from Bristol, with their Coach arriving minutes before faceoff. However, with Charles Stewart-Syme easily winning the first face followed by a goal swiftly after showed Bristol to be in firing on all cylinders. For the rest of the half this clinical pace was continued with possession being retained by the boys in white showing excellent patience and composure. Some excellent team defence shut down any threats Oxford had in attack. With an exemplary display body defence from Harry Parker proving he means business this season.
Bristol appeared complacent going into the second half giving away numerous penalties resulting in well worked goals for Oxford. With their head coach stepping in the help referee, the team rallied around the walking wounded Coach John’s wise words and speedily regained their composure, and began to show their true form once more lighting up the Oxford cage like the 4th of July.
Heading into the final quarter midfield captain Freddie Atkins led the charge to dispatch a frustrated Oxford side, at times dodging through 4 men to finish on crease. The team continued their display of patience and possession up to the final whistle ending with a score of 14-4. Happy with their progression the team is now looking forward to their Exeter game next week in what is sure to be a game of top quality lacrosse.