Big win for the Spencer 3’s on a dry and sunny afternoon in South London.
The 3’s are deep in the relegation fight for East Division 2 survival and although still in the bottom two after this result, the next two games are against those just above us in the table; Oxford Uni and Cambridge Uni, so we can win our way to safety.
However after saying that the spectre of division restructuring rears it’s head again as East Division Three may only have 6 teams next season so the league may vote to even out the division numbers and put 8 teams in East Div 1, 2 and 3, which will be harsh for any teams relegated outside the bottom two, but probably best in the long run to improve the standard in the lowest division.
Anyway, back to the Hitchin ‘A’ game. The visitors arrived with a 12 man squad. We saw familiar faces and knew our old boys were fitter than theirs, and our teenagers plus our larger 16 man squad should in theory be able to run them into the ground. And so it proved.
Spencer bossed the first half but did not make this count with enough goals. Both Andy and Ben were available this week so had a much stronger offence than verses London Uni. This gave more control, longer periods of possession and some nice interplay from all those on offence. Still lots of room from improvement offensively, mostly with decisions and being more patient, but pleasing.
We were able to host this game on the grass pitch at Spencer, rather than the lumpy King George’s Park. This meant ground balls were now down to skill and commitment, rather than shear luck. Both teams benefited from the excellent playing surface and the Spencer 3’s had their best performance on ground balls this season.
We pressured the Hitchin defence on the clear, especially young Nathan who caused at least 3 turn-overs on the ride. The quartet of long sticks made some key checks at the back. Colin in goal was not overly busy but saved all that he should. Jude and Ewan were great in midfield. Their young legs, ever growing confidence and lacrosse know-how from coach Compton’s junior programme was on show. Their efforts knackered Hitchin who at times looked dead on their feet.
Why only a 3 goal game I hear you ask? Simple, as a group, the 3’s still make basic errors. That’s expected from a group of old, young and inexperienced. Hitchin got within two goals and for a 10 minute period in the third quarter, their tails were up and some signs of nerves appeared from those in the Spencer maroon.
Goals always calm such nerves and Ben delivered early in the 4th quarter to extend the lead, which was then held with relative ease. Ben was joined on a single goal with Will, Rob, Jude, Ewan and Andy. David grabbed two, both from the crease. One was a nice catch, turn and shot from close range, the other a lucky shaft deflection from an outside shot – but they all count.