A brisk Wednesday afternoon at Metchley was the scene for the University of Birmingham Men’s Lacrosse 2nds debut performance of the season. Coventry had a score to settle in coming to Birmingham’s end of the West Midlands, given the 3-1 defeat they suffered at the 2s hands earlier in 2015. And they showed this with a highly motivated side who were keen to assert their dominance from the start. They encountered a side made of many players new to University Lacrosse, and even lacrosse in general, as many had joined the development team in September and were keen to cement their place in the side.
The first quarter was not a happy one to watch as a Birmingham supporter. Scrappy was the word – sustained pressure showed as Coventry finished the quarter 1-0 up. The ball found itself on the floor an awful lot this quarter, perhaps due to the nerves of the new players, with game play often hockey-esque as both teams struggled for supremacy. The second quarter was much better for the home side, with excellent fast play down the right wing paying off to equalise and bring the score line back to 1-1. The spectators attention was held as an end-to-end ensued, and both teams’ defences put in resilient efforts. But on the stroke of half time Coventry took the upper hand, going into the second half 2-1 up.
Birmingham really stepped up their game in the third corner, dominating play and possession. Some impressive long passes and some quick play, gave the side an equaliser very early on, and shortly after one goal they followed it up with another – meaning UoB took the lead for the first time in the match leaving the game at 3-2. Coventry were not so easily put down however, and they struck back quickly with a goal from a counter attack, despite Birmingham dominating play. Another surprising strike from Coventry left the game at 3-3 going into the final quarter, leaving it all to play for. The Birmingham Boys seemed to tire as the game got into its closing moments, compared to their determined vigour throughout the third quarter, and they rapidly found themselves 5-3 down. A wonderstrike from about 15 yards out was more of a consolation goal as the game came to a close – Coventry were victorious with the score ending at 5-4.
On the surface, a 5-4 loss in the first game of the season may seem a disappointing result for Birmingham, yet it in fact leaves the team with a great deal of optimism for what is to come. Many areas could be improved upon, particularly goalkeeping and finishing when around the goal, but if the bold performance in the third quarter is anything to be believed then a very positive season lies ahead of this squad. Great pace, runs, passes and, sporadically, shots were all seen by Birmingham throughout the game and they should see this narrow defeat to the Coventry 1sts as a step in building their confidence, and I have no doubt they will produce similarly strong performances in the future.