Missing some key players due to their notoriously-studious schedules, Bristol began without face-off extraordinaire, Charles Stewart-Syme, who has been pinnacle in gaining momentum for the team this season. His absence in the centre of the field was filled by Sam Hockenhull and Ben Whitman, who did well to sport an impressive 66% success rate, despite the length of his shaft.
The game began with some early passages of attack from the visitors, prompting some impressive saves from Bristol veteran, Jamie Caldwell. The Bristol attack responded well with the first, second and third goals of the game from Sam, Tom and Freddie inside the opening 10 minutes. Despite the score line, Oxford managed to catch Bristol off guard, sneaking in a goal to make it 4-1 at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter proved far more challenging for the home team. With the attack struggling to hold the ball for long periods, the defence were tested on a number of occasions, prompting a strong display from defensive captain and self-proclaimed ‘Gandalf of lacrosse’, Harry Morton Smith.
After yet another Oxford goal and a number of minutes without the ball in attack, Freddie Atkin’s split dodge from up top carved open the Oxford defence like a thanksgiving Turkey, allowing for a feed and easy slot-in from crease. The remainder of the quarter featured a series of fouls and confusions in the Bristol defence, leaving Bristol looking vulnerable for one of the first times this season. The score finished 5-4 at half time.
Having visited Bristol aquarium earlier in the week, coach Pete was keen to use his newfound knowledge of the great blue to inspire the team with an aquatic-themed team talk at half time. The newly named Bristol dolphins took to the field for the second half with a new sense of energy and urgency propagating throughout the squad.
The second half showed a far more composed Bristol team work the ball well scoring a number of good team goals. With a solid defensive performance for the majority, a few interspersed moments of madness allowed Oxford to stay within a few goals keeping the pressure on both player and coaches until the final whistle.
In an attempt to emulate Jose Mourinho’s mid-week FA ban, Coach Guy tried to test the patience of the infamous Miles after another of his dubious calls. In a game with alarmingly few crease violations, the ref was eager to take the bait and punish the Bristol squad for questioning his omnipotence.
The game ended 11-7 providing a number of moments that after analysis will be beneficial for the Bristol teams’ progress towards their penultimate league game against Bath next week. In a fixture in which many players failed to shine, diamond in the rough Harry Morton Smith earned a well-deserved man of the match. Credit to players, coaches and camera man, Charlie Head for their performances.
Sam Hockenhall 3
Freddie Atkins 2
Tom Jackson 2
Charlie De La Pasture 1
Cameron Stewart-Syme 1
Pip Buckingham Arnold 1
Sam Hobbs 1