Monday, 7 December 2015

Match Reports: City Gets Scrappy Double Win In Wales

Oxford City vs Cardiff Raptors 06.12.15
17-14 Win
In the car on the way over we had played the classic pre-match fun guess-the-divisions game (it is a long drive!). There was some debate about what would happen but little did any of us know the Ruth Express had a fun plan to raise Frank's blood pressure. Her car's voice of reason (Claire) was over-ruled and they happily headed to the House of Sport and got kitted up. Thankfully, they realised and hot-footed it to the correct Cardiff Uni Sports Hall moments before the throw-off so we narrowly avoided playing short despite having 12 players in Cardiff.
Anyway, to the match...
We started strongly, quickly scoring the first three goals but the Raptors stayed in the fight. Looking at the other results this first match was supposed to be the easier fixture but you wouldn't have known it. Although we had the lead throughout, we didn't take control of the match as we should have done. The play was scrappy and the game had the most footballs I have ever witnessed.
Frank was clear about his disappointment at our first half. We gifted the Raptors penalties and free passes keeping them in the game. We all had penalties called against us. Dan supposedly contacted his marker with his whole body (impressive) and Claire over-enthusiastically ran down a free player at the post (I think that one was a foul). Two of our ideal goals of the back turned out to be off the court so tactics had to change.
Thankfully, Ruth's amazing long shots and brilliantly-timed runner settled the ship. This along with great defence made her the obvious choice for player of the match. Well done Ruth - you played brilliantly!
James defended a Raptor would-be goal (a leaning back veer that would have been their best goal of the game). Alice took defending to extremes, not afraid to take the fall to demonstrate being run into the feed.
Overall, the match alternated between quality and error. As an example, one moment James won and sunk a penalty, then mere moments later he conceded a penalty the other end. We won but it didn't feel like the solid victory we can produce so we knew had more work to do in the next match.
MVP - Ruth
Scorers - Ruth (5), Nick (4), James (3), Dave (3), Niall, Gaz
Oxford City vs Cardiff University - 06.12.15
14-8 Win
Dave was only on for the first 16 minutes but we had a lot to fix from the previous match and the way he played really did help us to raise our game. We scored the first four goals and kept a three-goal cushion but we had to keep working hard as Uni never gave up. There were crowds looking in from the end of pitch window and I like to believe it was because the game looked so damn good!
In attack we had something approaching shape and in defence we were disruptive to the nippy Uni players plans. It was tough to make good opportunities and Cardiff Uni had brought a giant with them. Nick did a great job keeping him very quiet on the scoring front. 
There were some poor passes/catches but we chased and pressured, often flicking it back in to play. Dan 'the bullet' was back to his glorious intercepting ways and Amy had several narrowly-denied goals. Jo got an assist from defence on a lovely runner from Gaz "25 seconds is 24 seconds too long" Clarke. Niall provided some great feeds and was unlucky on some defended calls. Becca as usual owned the post as the needed and Claire used her experience to out-match Dutch opposition.
So it was fast and we worked hard for each other. Great work everyone! A deserved victory and hopefully winning the double makes the long journey worthwhile. Thanks to Frank for the epic commitment today (and always) plus for making us raise our game.
MVP - Dave
Scorers - James (3), Nick (3), Dan (3), Dave (2), Gaz (2), Alice
- Match reports by Jo

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