We aren’t due to fire up the City tour bus again until our next summer tournament, in Milton Keynes on 12th July. But, if you’re feeling starved of tourno action, fear not. Here are Dan’s round-ups (lightly edited!) of the first two legs of City’s summer tour:
Saturday 31st May: Leicester tournament
Our trip to Leicester was a great success. We had a number of players making their tournament debuts and our pre-season fitness coach Karl Sieber playing alongside us, highlighting in person the benefits of being able to leap like a salmon.
The highlight was a 9-1 victory against Milton Keynes Lakers, probably one of our highest ever scorelines in a 20-minute game. Our next game was an 8-2 loss against a very strong national league team with three England internationals. A result that at first felt disappointing was put into perspective when they went on to win the tournament extremely convincingly, and beat a fellow national side in the semi finals 10-0. And Mike certainly left an impression on them!
We were scoring for fun at times, with Dan bagging five in one match and, if you counted the goals she scored while playing for Abingdon, Ruth probably did too. Special mention to Andy for scoring two great long shots during the tournament.
After our morning results, we entered the ‘middle eight’ section of the draw in the afternoon, and went on to achieve a very respectable 12th position. The Australian party in the evening was good fun, though Jo may have regretted her vegemite sandwich costume when she heard the lyric: “Give me a vegemite sandwich."
Saturday 14th July: Bristol tournament
A City 1 side with a mix of the very experienced (Karl) and very inexperienced (Niall), started the day with a flyer, winning 6-0 against Exeter. Next up were Horfield 2, and we came away with a 2-1 win in a tight match where our shots didn’t seem to quite drop. Next up were Cardiff Raptors, and another tight match was in store. The end score was 3-3, and a draw was probably a fair result on the balance of play.
A quick tactical switch later, with Niall and Dan pairing up, and Dave W switching into the other division with Karl, paid dividends, with a great 4-3 win against the hosts, Bristol City. And our final match in the morning was against super-team Mauritians, which was made up of ex-Nottingham, England and Wales players. They were very talented, and we were cruelly denied in the last minute. The 3-4 loss left us second in our group, and put us through to the Top 8 for the afternoon.
The quarter final was against Manchester Warriors, who topped their group. Inspired by the poor refereeing in the previous game, we ran our socks off and defended well, with Niall in particular standing out with excellent interceptions. Indeed, from what I could see in my division, as the tournament went on Niall and Fi in particular were getting stronger and stronger in both attack and defence, against quality opposition.
The semi-final was against our old foes Mauritians. Having run them so close in the group stage we were feeling confident, and put simply, we were awesome. In a game that summed up our all-action defence and rapidly improving attack, we ran out 5-1 winners thanks to a cheeky double from Niall, and goals from Dan (2) and Karl (1).
OXFORD CITY FINALISTS!!!!! We went on to lose to a truly excellent Bristol Thunder side, with all of their first team playing and a number of current internationals on show. Yes, it was one-sided, but we didn’t care as we’d got to the final — and we got the biggest cheer of the day when we scored! City 1 player of the day was Niall, who had so many stand-out moments in defence, and it was awesome seeing him on the scoresheet so often.
City 2 found things tough going in the morning, losing all five of their matches despite playing well at times. The main problem was shots not quite dropping and coming up against high quality opposition in the shape of Bristol Thunder, Horfield 1 and hosts Bristol City. This meant we ended up in the bottom eight division in the afternoon.
After a close 1-0 loss to start the afternoon, the result of the day was a close fought 3-2 win against Exeter Uni, a match that featured a great debut competitive goal for Becca (despite her head injury!). Despite finishing with a defeat to Horsham, the win against Exeter meant City 2 finished 18th out of 22 teams. City 2 player of the day was Mike, with his four goals in all competitions, and all-round enthusiasm. Though he did lose kudos for coming off worse (bleeding knee) in a one-on-one situation with a lady half his size.
Dan Hibbs, chairman