Oxford City vs Bristol Thunder 1 - 21.11.15
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