SEMLA 6’s Tournament 2015

The men’s section was again able to enter the annual Southern League end-of-season 6-a-side tournament, hosted by the Reading Lacrosse Club. This year saw a new format for the tournament. Out went pre-defined Senior, Intermediate and Minor Divisions, in comes a semi-random draw for round robin games, followed by Senior, Intermediate and Minor Divisions based on round robin results. We travelled with a mostly novice squad, knowing we’d probably be one of the weaker teams, but also knowing that playing against top opposition is a great way to learn lacrosse. Games were played over a single period of 10 minutes, which is plenty long enough when it’s non-stop running, throwing, catching and hitting action.

SEMLA 6' 2015 Squad
Top Row: Brett, Simon, Rob & Aaron
Bottom Row: Kyle, James, Ben & George

Joining us for the day were Ben Brookes (MK resident before going to university) and George Widdowson, both players at the University of Chester. Our 8-man squad was therefore;

#1 Kyle Pim
#2 Rob Gooch
#3 James Gardener
#4 Aaron Day
#5 Simon Nicholson
#6 Ben Brookes
#7 George Widdowson
#12 Brett Satchell

The round robin phase gave us three games.

MK 0 – 6 Hitchin A

First up were the 2nd team from Hitchin. For Aaron and Brett it was their first competitive lacrosse so they started on the subs bench, but soon got into the action as lacrosse is always played with rolling substitutions. The scoreline does not reflect how we battled in this game. We had numerous chances to score but too often missed the final catch to get the shot off onto goal.

MK 0 – 7 Cardiff

Next up were Cardiff who a week earlier won the promotion play-off game to join the top Southern Premier division for next season. So this was going to be a tough game. Cardiff played this smart. They knew man-for-man they were better so played a 4-man zone defence, leaving someone up near our goal. We attacked with all five players so as soon as the ball was turned over,  a long pass to their man standing all by himself led to a one-on-one against our goalie, Kyle. Now Kyle made some amazing saves during this game but we were not switched on to their tactic until too late in the game.

MK 2 – 6 East Grinstead

Oh joy, another Southern Premier team, but the EG squad did include many from their 2nd team so we did get a look-in during the game, scoring two goals. Rob had picked up a knock in the previous game so stepped into goal, unleashing Kyle, who was like a coiled spring. Alas, EG’s shooting was very accurate, finding the far corners of the goal leaving Rob with little chance to make lucky saves so their goal tally soon racked up. Our team defence was improving all the time so to keep them at 6 goals was a pleasing result.

Three defeats put us into the Minor division for the second phase of the tournament. This was not unexpected and meant our remaining games should be closer affairs with the chance to score more goals and pick up some wins. First up was a re-match against Hitchin A.

MK 1 – 2 Hitchin A

Revenge time against Hitchin A and we came so close to either the draw or the win. We hit the goal pipes or crossbar three times. Kyle, back in goal, made numerous saves, and everyone was getting into more of a lacrosse rhythm.

MK 1 – 3 Reading 2’s

We had seen Reading’s 2nd team play earlier and were confident we could grab a win. However it was not to be as we somehow started the game at 50% and gave Reading way too much freedom to pass and run with the ball. Some basic errors gifted Reading a couple of their goals but we were not disheartened as we were playing better lacrosse than earlier in the day.

MK 0 – 7 Oxford Iroquois

Our final Minor division pool match was against the Oxford University 2nd team, the Iroquois. They ended up winning the Minor division and were in control for much of this game. We had chances, again hitting pipework, or forcing the goalie to make decent saves.

The final game for each team was to decide overall placings. We were placed 18th (last) and faced Reading 2’s again to fight for 17th and avoid the wooden spoon.

MK 2 – 1 Reading 2’s

Yes, we won it. We had the more fight and desire during this game and whilst our winning goal was not pretty, off the boot of James, it still counts and we were very satisfied to pick up the win, enjoy a beer and watch the Senior final between Hitchin and Croydon.

Divisional Finals

Senior Final: Hitchin beat Croydon
Intermediate Final: Hillcroft 7 – 3 Spencer
Minor Final: Oxford Iroquois 6 – 5 Cambridge

Final Placings

— Senior —
1. Hitchin
2. Croydon
3. Purley
4. Walcountain Blues
5. Cardiff
6. Reading
— Intermediate —
7. Hillcroft
8. Spencer
9. Oxford
10. Brighton
11. East Grinstead
12. Welwyn
— Minor —
13. Oxford Iroquois
14. Cambridge
15. Hitchin A
16. Eagles
17. Milton Keynes
18. Reading 2