MMU Comprehensive win over Glasgow

Adam Costello

With the strap line “The fastest game on two legs”, and a history stretching as far back as the 1600’s when the game was practiced by Native Americans as a prelude to battle, it is perhaps surprising that the sport of Lacrosse does not receive the national acclaim that most other sports do here in the UK. Testimony to this is the fact that the FIL World Lacrosse Championships took place in Manchester only last year. Something that myself, a Manchester native, am ashamed to say had no idea about.

The truth is that the International Lacrosse federation features over 25 full member nations stretching from Canada to Hong Kong and everywhere in between. The sport is huge and growing in numbers daily. In 2010 it officially became the fastest growing sport in the USA for children aged between eight and sixteen, boasting participation figures of 625,000 in American alone.

It is fair to say that for most people, including myself, the only real exposure to the sport is from what they have seen on American Pie. However, take the time out, take a ride to Didsbury to watch the MMU mens side in action and you will get a completely different perception on the sport. The sheer speed and ferocity of the game is something that has to be seen to be believed.

The MMU side went into the first round of the National Cup against Glasgow University unbeaten in their previous 3 league games, looking to keep their 100% record intact. The game began with the usual hockey style “face off” in the middle of the pitch, and the remaining 20 minutes of the first period were filled with the same speed, aggression and confrontation as the opening sequence.

In truth, the MMU side dominated the early exchanges, going 2-0 up after 7 minutes with two quick fire goals catching Glasgow napping. The 217 mile journey had clearly gotten the better of the visiting sides captain who proceeded to give his defence, who were at sixes and sevens all afternoon, a real tongue- lashing. The mood in the Glasgow camp was significantly worsened as MMU continued to dominate in all areas of the field. In particular the midfield, which remained virtually impenetrable throughout the entire 20 minute period.

The home side’s superiority soon showed through firing in another three goals. “Shoot on sight” seemed to be the mantra and this was summed up as number 74 Sam Parky fired a fierce shot from distance that bounced past the hapless goalie, making it 6-0 at the break. Looking at the respective huddles you could be forgiven for believing this was just a practice match, such was the calmness and serenity of the MMU side, whereas for our visitors it was a look of despair and desolation.

The second period ensued and MMU soon made it 7-0 with a well worked goal which included over 9 passes. From here on out the game was never really in doubt, and you could be forgiven for believing MMU would reproduce the 13-0 mauling that they dished out the previous week. However, Glasgow showed admirable spirit to take advantage of niggling penalties by pulling back a goal of their own whilst the home side were down to 9 men, ruining the clean sheet of Captain Pete Walker.

This seemed to wake up a by now largely unchallenged Blues side who produced an immediate response  waltzing through the opposition defence before crashing the ball into the net to end any faint hopes of a comeback, with the score now a remarkable 8-1 at half time.

After a few choice words from Captain Walker, MMU set about defending their advantage with speed and aggression supporting fantastic defensive organisation, not giving the Glasgow attack a sniff at goal. Not content with merely shutting the opposition out a further 2 goals were added to a now unassailable lead, with the blues number 20 adding yet another goal to his impressive haul for the day. There were lapses of concentration evident, as Glasgow fought hard in tough circumstances, reducing the deficit yet again, making it 10-2.

Perhaps the effort of the day was produced by MMU’s number 10 who rounded off a terrific individual all action display with a neat pick up, showing swiftness of mind and body to race away from the defence and firing home, restoring the 9 goal advantage at the end of the third period.

The final 20 minutes of the match was in truth a non-contest with Glasgow not surprisingly looking physically and mentally beaten, and MMU looking happy, and rightly so, with their terrificly dominant performance. There was also time for MMU to round off the game in style with a flowing counter attacking move to make the final score line an emphatic 12-2.

After the game Pete Walker sought to herald the home sides performance stating, “We are very happy to keep up our 100% record, It was a great performance all round, Solid defensive work and some great attacking plays”. In particular, Ben Latimer, who Walker revealed, “Had a great game, and showed some great facing”. However, he was keen to stress how MMU were not about to rest on their laurels as thoughts turned to the next round of the National Cup. “Were definitely going to put our all into it, it’s a competition we want to win. Were at Birmingham away, so we are definitely going to give it our best shot and show them what MMU are made of”.

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