Sunday, 22 November 2015

Match Report: City Secures One Win In Bristol Double

Oxford City vs Bristol Thunder 1 - 21.11.15
11-17 Loss

The thing I remember most about this match was the tension in those first five minutes. It was fast and we were prepared to give it all. We looked amazing with our full squad and coach. This was the most positive I have ever felt before/during a match against Thunder 1, who didn't provided the pantomime villain, and we knew that we could provide real competition on their home turf.

In the first half, Ruth and Catherine both blamed shots, and Alice got the goal we are all aiming for off the back. We timed out Thunder's attack several times with fierce defending, and Dave Ewing got a sweet long shot from the side of the court.

Tied 6-6 at half time but getting tired, the second half wasn't as beautiful. It was just a bit odd in places and our passing didn't quite match up with our ambition.

Dave Ewing had a free pass called against him which strangely stopped a Thunder goal counting. Dan's quick and lovely runner was disallowed because the shot clock had not been correctly primed. Thunder got ahead in the last quarter and slowed down their passing out of defense to a near standstill. Also, they very nearly scored an own goal with a defensive pass over the post. We lost in the end by six goals but had been in contention for the majority of the match.

So we will just have to wait until next year to beat Thunder 1! It is good to still have some aims still to conquer. MVP was Ruth for a great all round match. She took lots of nice long shots from the sides which didn't all drop today but often reset the shot clock leading to the next goal having time to be scored. Well played Ruth.

MVP - Ruth
Scorers - James (4), Dave Ewing (2), Dan (2), Alice, Amy, Ruth

Oxford City 1 vs Bristol City - 21.11.5
15 - 14 Win

After Dave Ewing had been consoled about the earlier loss, we knew we needed to be calm and in control to beat a fresh squad of players some of whom seemed much taller than is strictly necessary. Frank was definitely not having us heading home without a victory, and he got almost the same workout as the players on pitch with some intense pacing and coaching. 

No one would want to let Frank down and there were great defensive moves from Becca, Ruth and Gaz which saved us conceding at least three sunk shots form Bristol City. Gaz even went so far chasing a ball down that he almost leapt the separating wall between pitches. Niall also used his speed to recover balls which would otherwise have been lost to those pesky sidelines.

David Sinclair had his first taste of regionals and provided some great feeds while adjusting well to the tempo of the match. Most importantly in this match Gaz started scoring again - how we have been missing it! After being fouled on a runner and personally sinking the penalty, it seemed whatever had been lacking was now all better. He scored another five during the match to end up with a Dave-Ewing-trademark five.

James injured his ankle late in the first half but recovered enough to rejoin play in the dying minutes. The Bristol City boys did comment, "They must have something magic in those ice packs" but, as I imagine Dan would say, it is just "something magic about Oxford City". It was great to see that determination to come back on and help secure the win. 

The second half included a period of play when we went five goals up. Bristol City then crept back reducing our margin to just one goal. It took real discipline and control to change tactics to prolong passing out and attacks to secure victory. It was incredibly tense but in the end we did enough for that victory. Hopefully next time on our home turf, without having already played a match beforehand, we will make it look a much easier win.

Despite not scoring, Frank awarded Jo MVP for consistency (I do hope that was not about the scoresheet). He had stressed it was about making those opportunities for the team so lets say that's what I did.

Thanks to everyone for travelling and putting everything into the matches. Huge thanks to Frank who keeps us working that little bit harder. Great to see an excellent squad at an away fixture. Go Oxford City!

MVP - Jo
Scorers - Gaz (5), Dave Ewing (2), James (2), Alice (2), Dan, Niall, Ruth, Amy

- Match reports by Jo

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Rich's Blog: City Spirit Shows In Important Victories

The autumn chills may have set in but the hot streaks of City’s top teams have continued.

In the regional league, we have followed up a valiant 22-17 opening day defeat against last year’s champions, Bristol Thunder 1, with two wins. 

On 24 November, we got one of our best results in recent memory with a narrow 12-11 win against last season’s runners-up, Southampton Spartans. And, on Saturday, we secured a 19-10 victory in our match-up with Bristol Thunder 2 which, though technically a second team, is still packed full of height and talent. A special mention to James who came from a night shift to make his City regional debut in the latter match — and promptly scored seven goals!

In OKA league 1, we continued our strong start with a dominant 24-5 win against Oxford Uni. Our next OKA league 1 match, against Abingdon 1, is shaping up to be a huge one.

And in OKA league 2, City 2 also bagged two more wins — 14-4 against Isis 2 and 20-6 against Uni 2 — to set up a huge top-of-the-table clash against Isis 1. Isis 1 and City 2 are both gunning for a spot in league 1 next season, and the chance to beat our local rivals always adds extra spice! 

The match itself was a nip and tuck affair, with City taking and holding the lead, but never really accelerating away. However, City 2 held firm and came through with a 15-11 win. That’s now five wins from five and two of the toughest matches, against the newly-relegated Didcot 1 and Isis 1, out of the way as well. Next on the fixture list for City 2 is Team Tiger aka City 3.

After a strong start to the season, City 3 has faced a few tough matches, including losses of 5-10 and 7-17 against Isis 1 and Didcot 1 respectively. The goals have been dropping, though not in the numbers the Tigers would have liked, but there are some good battles coming up to put that right.

And finally, in the last month we have seen the first two matches for our newly-formed City 4, which followed up a 2-6 loss against Abingdon 3 in their first match with an 8-3 win against Reading Uni. 

So, all in all, it has been another strong month and we have been seeing great things from all our teams. Let’s keep this up for another month and go into 2016 on a high.

- Rich Heap, web editor

Match Report: James Bags Seven In Thunder 2 Win

Oxford City vs Bristol Thunder 2 - 14.11.15
19-10 Win

The plan was simple: defend tight and do what we trained on Thursday. This was a game we needed and expected to win, but that expectation was only because we have come so far from where we were last year. 

And, as it turned out, we all played brilliantly and as a team scored some beautiful goals, which were normally the result of some great teamwork. The height of the Thunder boys didn't even seem to be any issue and we kept a fast pace throughout the game. 

On the downside we were timed out in attack (but only once) and there was a period around half time where Thunder scored four or five goals in a row, although this was not really an issue in the game as a whole. We kept playing our game and, even with the divisions greatly changed by substitutions, we found ways to make it work.

We had a regional debut from James. As Amy said, if this is what he can do after a night shift just wait until next time. Seven goals is excellent and Frank was right to highlight the defensive work James put in. 

Gaz also deserves a special mention for a first half sliding ball intercept. Even hitting the wall is not enough to stop him going to get that ball back for us!

Becca scored her first regional goal of the season and generally showed off fine play to the crowd of supporters she had brought. 

Nick (or number 61 as the ref enjoyed telling him off with) had another solid performance and did not knock over any girls. He reached excellent heights on dynamic collecting jumps to ensure the ball belongs to City.

Ruth in the second half proved she is all over this shot clock thing with a lovely reset shot from just under the post.

Niall chased down numerous loose balls and used his quick turn of pace for a lovely runner.

Dan seemed to be persona-non-grata on the defended calls today despite being pretty damn close. A good come back game from numerous hip, ankle, shoulder injuries - here is hoping your new tongue injury won't affect your play to much next match.

There were many more moments during the game but it was too fast-paced for me to remember everything. To summarise the team was awesome!

There is one more key point in the game that I will mention, it happened towards the end of the first half. Unfortunately, Thunder went down to seven players and it took us a while to readjust to playing four against three. It has historically been very rare for Oxford City to be on the side with the plethora of players and how to best use the extra player is not an easy decision. On this occasion Catherine did us proud, making space and controlling the post in the face of confusing but oddly effective marking. This high work rate and finding the best way to support the division is why she is the MVP for this game. Well done!

MVP - Catherine

Scorers - James (7), Nick (4), Niall (2), Dave (2), Becca, Ruth, Amy, Jo

- Match report by Jo