Report Author: Alex Wilmshurst
Game: SUWPC Men’s 1s vs Bristol 2s
Location: Bristol Student’s Union
As we have transitioned into the new year and gotten exams out of the way, more fixtures can begin to come the way of Southampton’s biggest of boys. The fixture ahead of the boys this time was an away trip to Bristol to play their second team. This was to be the first league away trip for the boys this academic year. As such, the numbers available were diminished compared to our usual standards from the home games at the start of the season. However, 12 valiant young men piled into cars and made their way along the M3 and M4. (Apart from 3 of the boys who took the scenic route).
The majority of the boys made it to Bristol with good time to spare. Those who took the scenic route, just minutes. A spell in the pool to warm up and discuss the plans for the game were taken before a nail inspection and an admittance that off the ball fouling will not be spotted from the referee. This proved to influence the game quite drastically.
The game got underway and Southampton took a quick lead to start the quarter, going two goals up courtesy of Sam Dalton and Miroslav Georgiev, however, Bristol responded with 4 goals of their own. Ending the quarter 4-2. The first time in the league that Southampton have been down in the first quarter.
As the boys regrouped after the first quarter, a better assessment of the playing style had been acknowledged. The boys modified as a result, understanding that the positioning needed to be higher up the pool to allow for shots from the post and better passes into the pit and tighter marking to counteract the counter-style Bristol were trying to enforce. It was also established that substitutions were going to be key this game, ensuring that fatigue did not get the better of the biggest of boys.
The second quarter got underway and the boys started to put in a more dominant performance. Goals coming from Finn, Dan, and Alex gave the boys a 3-1 win for the quarter and dragged the game back to level pegging at 5-5. Bristol really started to employ some physicality to the game as well, with reports of multiple punches to the head, hat pulling, and a double-teamed drowning coming back at halftime. I’m sure the words of the referee had no influence on this before the game.
At half time, it was clear that the boys needed to keep up the performance shown in the second quarter – keep Bristol’s attacking chances limited and make the most of ours. This worked perfectly in the third quarter, with SUWPC winning 4-0, taking the score to 9-5. This scoreline was hugely thanks to the heroics in goal from Nimrod. It seemed everything that came his way was palmed onto the woodwork. Nothing could get past the man. Following the first of two lame man-ups from Bristol, the ball was worked up to the other end of the pitch and a shot was fired towards the goalkeeper. This was palmed to his side, for Luke Bennalick to mop up the spillage and dink the ball nicely over the keeper’s head.
Going into the final quarter, fatigue was starting to rear it’s ugly head. Cramp was starting to set in for some of our boys, but there was a job to be done. The 4 goal lead we held needed to be protected. A message of running down the time was spread around the camp. Bristol, fortunate to have shot clocks, were to have this used against them. The quarter started nervy, with Bristol scoring two early goals, one coming from a dubious penalty conceded by Nimrod and another just under 30 seconds later. Bristol were shortly after awarded a man up which, were they to score, would have brought them within one goal of SUWPC. A time out was called from the Bristol coach before this, however, after only two passes, a weak shot was placed into the ever-reliable hands of Nimrod, who played a short pass to Sam Dalton and he proceeded to throw the ball the length of the pitch and over the goalkeeper who had roamed half-way up the pitch following the time out. 10-7 with 5 minutes to play. In the final 5 minutes, the importance of winding down the clock became more and more evident. Bristol managed to get a goal with just under 4 minutes to go, bringing them within 2. However, just over a minute later, Sam D responded with another fine goal to stretch back the lead again, giving the biggest of boys a 3 goal lead with just over 3 minutes to play. At this point Bristol’s bread was buttered. If SUWPC were to be smart with their time, the win was confirmed, and smart the boys were. Two man-ups for SUWPC were conceded, which were only used to drain time. After the second had been awarded, a time-out was called just to ensure that the boys stuck to the plan and wound down the clock. No sloppy passes, only release the ball with seconds left on the clock. With 22 seconds to spare, a Bristol counter-attack was halted with a precise tactical foul from Finn T, handing Bristol a penalty with seconds to spare. However, Bristol’s shot was tame and close to SUWPC’s cat between the sticks and insult was just added to injury for Bristol. 20 seconds to go and a three-goal lead. The game was well and truly over. Bristol may have realised this and decided to vent their frustration, as the following Southampton possession saw a myriad of fouls being committed across the pool. Sporting.
SUWPC had come out victorious. A fine feat for a team that was depleted and had to call on three debuts for the club. Yoav Abramovich, younger brother of Nimrod, being led by example from a fine display from his older brother; Adam Draper, putting in a fine performance in keeping Bristol’s wing players quiet; and finally, Nathan Dimond, making his long-awaited debut after three years, following a global pandemic and a broken nose in the first training session of the 2021/22 season made a superb outing.
The journey back to Southampton was long and joyous. A stoppage in Salisbury to watch England play Scotland in the 6 nations whilst the boys rewarded themselves with food and drink. An extra stop was made for a light blue Corsa, as it’s exhaust decided to live up to the reputation of the car and resemble a rally car. Fortunately, the kit sec’s father was able to answer the phone and re-assure that the car was not going to explode and will make it back to Soton.
Overall, a well-fought and thoroughly deserved win for the gents. This takes the boys to 4 league wins out of 4 and second in the table, with one game in hand over top. The push for the league title is well and truly on for the boys.
Man of the Match
Nimrod Abramovich – his cat like reflexes saved our bacon this game. His parents watching in the stands must have been immensely proud. I know I was.
This could have comfortably gone to just about anyone in the pool after what appeared to be every player having their game of the season.
Mug of the Match
Everyone had a superb game and it would be unfair to give this to anyone. Therefore, it goes to my car’s exhaust.
Nimrod Abramovich – 1 – 0
Yoav Abramovich – 0 – 0
Finn Thomas – 1 – 1
Miroslav Georgiev – 1 – 2
Luke Bennalick – 0 – 1
Nathan Dimond – 1 – 0
Alex Wilmshurst – 0 – 1
Sam Dalton – 1 – 5
James Popple – 0 – 1
Adam Draper – 0 – 0
Michael Scott – 0 – 0