Tournament 3 Report - Sunday 30th November at Westonbirt School
The Women’s South West league returned to Westonbirt School for the last tournament of 2014. 10 teams were greeted by mist-covered pitches, which although extremely beautiful did limit the visibility somewhat. Thankfully this mist lifted just before the first game leaving the tournament to play in glorious sunshine!
As with the previous tournament, teams were allocated into 2 pools depending on their current league position for their morning matches. West Midlands made their first league appearance of the season this weekend and started their tournament campaign with impressive displays of skill and teamwork, winning all of their group 1 matches. SCOs Taryn Abassian and Lauren Goerz linked up in the midfield beautifully, creating clinical fast breaks that proved extremely influential in some of their tougher games.
This group was particularly tough with strong teams from WM, South Coast Seagulls and Bristol Bombers producing some highly competitive lacrosse from the outset. Bristol Bombers again had a good start their tournament, maintaining composure and capitalizing on a weakened Birmingham side in their first game. This put their confidence on a high and the Bombers went on to win 3 out of their 4 matches, placing them second in the group.
The Seagulls returned this week with some key players back in the team and up for a fight. They produced very convincing wins over the weakened Birmingham team and Aberystwyth, losing to Bristol and WM putting them 3rd in the group. The ever-improving Aberystwyth team had a competitive match against Birmingham losing by just 1 goal. However, despite putting in a fantastic defensive effort they were unable to create many attacking opportunities against the stronger teams in the group, placing them 5th in the group behind Birmingham.
The second group saw the strong Cirencester team return to the league after their notable absence at the previous tournament, top of the table Exeter Uni, along with Cardiff LC and the two Bath teams. Criencester stamped their authority on this group with huge wins over Cardiff and Bath and an impressive goal difference of +18 over their 4 games. Current table toppers, Exeter Uni, were missing some of their key goal scorers but this didn’t seem to faze them. With consistent talent all over the field, Exeter eased to second place in the group with 3 wins and a close loss to Cirencester.
Bath Ladies and Cardiff LC were both teams with some of their stronger players absent this month and unfortunately didn’t perform to their full strength potential, finishing 3rd and 4th in the group respectively. Bath LC had a particularly tough morning and were unable to achieve a single match point, finishing 5th in the group. Although still a very novice group of lacrosse players, this Bath team is starting to show some real developments and under the captaincy of Fenella Pinney is continuing to improve at each tournament.
As this was the Christmas tournament, the lunch break was filled with a bit of frivolity in the form of “lacrosse golf”. Up for grabs were a dozen neon green balls, kindly donated to the league by Northern Soul at the previous tournament in Cheltenham. Most teams participated in the competition and the tension in the air was palatable! Aberystwyth took the title of “Christmas Lacrosse Golf Champions 2014” taking home the green balls.
The afternoon’s matches saw possibly the most competitive group of teams of the season so far. Current top 3 in the table, Exeter Uni, South Coast Seagulls and Bristol Bombers, were joined by the formidable and on form Cirencester and West Mids teams. The strength of these teams was reflected in the scores with three games resulting in a tie and nearly all other games having just 1 or 2 goals in it. Other than the West Midlands team, there didn’t seem to be any consistent or predictable outcomes in this group and every game was wide open for all teams involved.
A huge effort from the South Coast Seagulls saw them hold WM to a draw in the closest game of the afternoon for West Mids who eased to victory against Exeter Uni and Bristol Bombers. Cirencester were keen to continue their morning’s success and performed well against Exeter and the Seagulls. An extremely close fought game between Cirencester and Bristol Bombers ended in a draw and put Cirencester and WM equal on points going into the final game of the day. This Cirencester /WM game was set to be one of the most competitive of the day, and after quick goals from both sides looked like it could go either way. As the game progressed, WM proved to have a depth of talent and fitness that Cirencester could not keep up with and the game ended 3-1 to the West Mids, seeing WM take the overall tournament title and Cirencester finish 2nd.
Bristol seemed to once again suffer from the nature of tournaments and after a good performance in the morning, started to struggle a little in the afternoon. Their first game against WM saw Bristol take an early lead, however they couldn’t stop the impressive fast breaks from the WM and quickly slipped behind, losing the game 6-2. Some superb individual attacking skills from Helena Brett and Steph Davis saw Bristol clinch a win against the Seagulls and a draw against Cirencester, but they were unable to achieve a similar result a fiercely fought, physical game against Exeter Uni.
The Seagulls had a similar afternoon to Bristol with a mix of wins, draws and closely fought losses. Their score lines were particularly close and they ended on a zero goal difference despite only winning 1 game. It was their close losses that saw the Seagulls gain an extra point to nudge Bristol out of the way finishing 3rd and 4th respectively.
Unfortunately both the Birmingham and Bath Ladies teams were suffering from a lack of numbers for the afternoon, so they decided to forfeit their afternoon games, and team up to compete together. The rest of the group was made up of Cardiff LC, Bath LC and Aberystwyth. As with the top group, this group’s afternoon games saw some very competitive and close matches, with all but one game having 1 goal in it. Cardiff LC were looking strong in this group and finished 6th overall with 2 wins and 1 loss. Bath LC and Aberystwyth are two teams that are continuing to improve, and this is reflected in their competitive scores in the afternoon. Aberystwyth, who were yet to achieve more than a loss in the league so far, truly excelled themselves with a win and a draw in the afternoon. They are looking increasingly promising as a team in the league and they thoroughly deserve their highest placing at a tournament to date, finishing 7th overall.
The standard of lacrosse at this month’s league tournament was exceptional, at all levels and seems to only be going upwards! Huge congratulations to all involved, particularly to the tournament champions West Mids, and the Christmas lacrosse Golf winners Abersystwyth!
The next tournament will be indoors on Saturday 24th January 2015 at City Academy Bristol. Teams for this tournament will be invited to participate in either a morning or afternoon session by the league secretary in the coming weeks.