League: Milton Keynes 8 – 6 Reading Wildcats 2’s
MK held on after a fourth quarter fightback from Reading to win by two goals. The visitors won the final quarter 4-1 but MK’s strong start to the game meant they always had the lead and didn’t panic too much late on when the game got tight.
The win was a bit of a surprise today. MK had been struggling to find players all week. If last week was tricky with 19 players unavailable, this week it was 20 players! As of Friday lunchtime, MK only had 8 confirmed players (we needed at least 10). The saviour was in the form of new league rules introduced this season to allow up to two “pool” players to play if a team does not have 10+ players. A “pool” player is anyone registered with the ELA who’s regular club does not have a fixture. The call went out on the SEMLA Facebook group and two players made contact; Rob Nichols and Adam Russell. As both normally play in a higher division than MK the rules state both captains must agree to their participation, which they did. Adam, normally a midfield player, played most of the game with a short stick in defence with Rob joining the MK midfield line.
MK played with only two defensive long sticks (instead of the normal 4), only one recognised defender, Aaron Day, and a lot of running ahead for the midfield when matched up against the 15-man Reading team. However right from the first whistle, MK played great lacrosse. It was wonderful to have co-captains Nathan Villiers and Andy Kenyon back on the field after both missing a few games. Nathan was a rock in goal, stopping numerous Reading shots. He certainly was the main reason Reading did not score until the 3rd quarter. Andy controlled the midfield with power and pace. His ability to run the ball from defence into attack negated the extra numbers from Reading as MK easily moved the ball up-field, allowing everyone to take those few seconds to recover and regain composure after the hard graft of defending.
Andy scored twice in the first quarter, together with a cracking goal from rookie Corey Jamieson – putting into practice lots of hard work at training last week. The second quarter was scoreless so MK went into half-time with a slim 3-0 lead.
The 3rd quarter was key for MK. The attack trio of Jack, Rhys and Brett had their collective best game this season by a mile. Nothing fancy was required, just sensible lacrosse and these three kept mistakes down to a minimum, working the ball behind the goal and back up to the midfield trio. When they got a chance, they were quickest to the ball and got in the shot. Brett ended up with two goals and Jack with one. Jack’s day will probably be best remembered by his assist for Corey’s second goal. Corey cut towards goal from a high midfield position, getting a step ahead of his defender. At the same time Jack was moving around the back of the goal with the ball. Jack found the pass, which was just a little low, but Corey caught it low down and in one motion shot low-to-high. As the net bulged, MK celebrated their 6th goal.
With a 7-2 lead going into the fourth quarter, it was time not to panic. But of course we did, a little. Reading also finally found their game and scored three quick goals so make the score 7-5. A timeout was called by the home team to stop the rot, with just over 10 minutes left to play. Andy said the right things to the team. Ben Amos won the next face-off and MK re-took control of the game. Brett scored MK’s 8th which finally settled any nerves and although Reading did get one back, the final two minutes provided little drama, much to the delight of the home team.
Both game awards went to Corey Jamieson. Man-of-the-match for his two great goals and all-around solid work in midfield. But for all the good he was also D-of-the-day. He’s still learning lacrosse and took a penalty for playing the ball without his stick (it had been knocked away following a check). He also took a unsportsmanlike penalty for back-chat to the referee after getting fouled by a Reading player. So instead of having 1 minute man-up advantage, MK had to play 5 v 5 for 1 minute with both players taking 1 minute penalties. Lacrosse is not football, and that’s why we like it.
8:6 (3:0, 3:0, 7:2, 8:6)
#47 Andy Kenyon (2)
#35 Brett Satchell (2)
#12 Corey Jamieson (2)
#24 Rob Nichols
#88 Jack Gambrill