Report Author: Alex Wilmshurst
Game: Southampton Men vs Essex Men
Location: Colchester Leisure World
On a wet and windy Saturday on Bonfire Night, 12 of SUWPCs biggest boys and 4 loyal supporters piled themselves into two luxury, but tiresome to collect and return, minibuses to make the longest trip of their season – the 300 mile round trip to play Essex. This was the first time the big boys had locked horns with Essex, despite being familiar foes for the women of SUWPC. There was a small understanding of what would be ahead of us for this game, but a great deal of anticipation of the quality of the opposition.
The team arrived with an hour to spare before the kick off, enough time for a team meeting to talk through the tactics and areas of the game the team needed to work on, as well as some pre-match caffeine intakes and pre-match bathroom breaks. The main focuses would be offensive positioning, defensive pressue, and moving the ball around the arc to find space for the pit-man. Or at least, that was the plan.
After a rather lengthy warm up whilst the pool was set up, the match got underway. It only took 4 seconds for SUWPC to win their first man-up, and only 6 seconds more for their first penalty after the ejected Essaxon did not vacate the pool. Having won the kick-out and the subsequent penalty, Sam Dalton tucked the penalty away – his first of many goals. 2 goals from captain Daniel Ammon, and 1 for Michael Scott. The score continued to rise as Ed Wilkes scored his first competitive goal for SUWPC. Essex has no response for the 7 SUWPC goals scored in the first quarter, finishing 7-0.
It appeared that Michael had caught the bug for scoring goals, tucking away 4 more in the next quarter – his Dad watched proudly from the sidelines. Mr Scott Jr was closely rivalled by 3 goals from Sam Dalton. Essex managed to score one goal of their own – a hail Mary from inside their own half that took captain Dan (taking his turn in goal for this quarter) by surprise, as it slipped in to the top left-hand corner. No complaints on that one as it was an impressive goal. Quarter 2 ended 14-1.
During the halftime break, with the game comfortably in hand, the boys spoke about going back to the basics and remembering the previously discussed aims for the game – to take this opportunity to develop skills for tougher games ahead. The third quarter got off to a rushed start with 2 ejections to each side (ours from President Alex Wilmshurst) and a penalty won for SUWPC won TJ, Ed Wilkes. Ed stepped up to take it, but it appeared the stature of the Essex goalkeeper proved too much for him as he smacked it against the right-hand post. The quarter continued in the same chaotic fashion of the previous half. There were a bountiful amount of ejections (Matt Smith secured his first ever BUCS major) and perhaps a few wrappings for some Essaxons. However, none of us are particularly sure about when these occurred due to some dubious communication from the referees and some apparent misunderstanding of the rules from the home side. SUWPC stretched their lead, scoring 6 more goals (Sam Dalton x 4, Dan Ammon x 1, Nathan Dimond x 1). Essex managed a consolation themselves. The quarter ended 20-2.
Coming into the final quarter, it had been much accepted that this was a very sloppy game. The lack of experience from Essex had provoked SUWPC to play at a standard far below what is expected from them. It was decided that this quarter would be slowed down to focus on the fundamentals, which was marginally reflected in the score line as ‘only’ 4 goals were scored by Soton. However, the more experienced players took the hint and allowed some newer players to apply some good tactics. This led to goals from Sam Dalton, Daniel Ammon, Alex Wilmshurst, and Matt Smith – an excellent goal in his competitive debut for SUWPC. Essex managed a goal too. To prevent this happening again, Alex gave away a tactical penalty by swimming over and somewhat drowning an Essex man who had brought the ball too close to comfort towards the goals. Michael Scott had returned to his home in goal just in time to save a penalty in the final moments of the match.
With that, SUWPC came away with a well needed win and a healthy boost to the goal difference. A special mention for the boys who made their competitive debuts – Fabrizio Pisani, Sam Ellis, and Matt Smith. It was certainly an explosive match, mirrored by the exploding fireworks outside. The long trip had been worth it and was celebrated with a “win-do’s” (the regular McWin was replaced with a more substantial Nando’s). The long drive, with sleepy heads, saw the boys and supports return to Soton in the early hours of the morning and exhausted cries of “See you at training today!” As if they weren’t tired enough, the wonderful minibus drivers attempted to return their vehicles at 2am, but eventually discovered that there was nowhere to drop-off the keys so instead painfully dragged themselves back out of bed at 8am to try again. What a day.
Man of the Match
Matt Smith – He played an excellent game and applied the fundamentals to earn himself a place on the match sheet with his first goal in his competitive debut for SUWPC (and his first major – because you may as well get it out the way early).
Dick of the Day
Sam Dalton – For enjoying the limelight slightly too much instead of utilising the opportunity to develop the team’s fundamentals.
Names – Goals/Majors
Michael Scott – 5/1
Ed Wilkes – 1/ 0
Sam Ellis – 0/0
James Popple – 0/0
Fabrizio Pisani – 0 /1
Dan Ammon – 4/ 0
Sam Dalton – 11/2
Alex Wilmshurst – 1/2
Woody Cho – 0 /0
Adam Draper – 0 /1
Matt Smith – 1/1
Nathan Dimond – 1/0