Monday, 21 March 2016

Match Report: City Claims Regional Bronze

Oxford City vs Cardiff Raptors - 19.03.16
28-9 Win (but officially a default by Raptors)

The final game of the season was in our home-away-from-home in Aldershot. The Gaz Express delivered its passengers ready to start scoring straight from car to pitch and James and Amy did just that with a quick two goals. 

Cardiff Raptors had brought their own Jo and she answered our goals bringing Raptors back level. James's division was back scoring but as we switched ends again Raptors scored once again. Frank called an early time out and was not best pleased with our defence and our structure in attack.

Back on pitch we really started to play well. Dan intercepted the ball countless times. All the boys were leaping over the half way line to prevent the ball ever reaching the Raptors attack. James scored a shot with the ball fully balancing on the edge of the korf before choosing to go in. The game was all Oxford City and the hardest thing was choosing the best shot to take. 

Unfortunately, the Raptors's James ran our James into the feed and in the mess of collision went down with very painful-looking cramp. The rest of the half, our James did sterling work as a non-shooter and Gaz had some shooting practice with a defender who just didn't want to stay on him.

At half time we were 13 goals clear and were offered the choice of continuing to play against seven or accept the default and let a ringer on for Raptors. 

After over-analysing our fairly slim hopes of ending up second in the league we choose the fun option of eight versus eight. So the second half started with us already as winners but we all still wanted some goals. Niall made his long awaited regional reappearance and got a hat trick in just a half. James got an equally impressive double hat trick and, in fact, seven out ten players scored three or more goals. Wow!

In the end, a victory but not enough to move us up it to second place. Thanks to Ailith for her mastery of the score sheet and Frank for coaching us in our best regional season. Well played everyone. Let's build on this next year!

That evening Nick was awarded the Oxford City MVP 2015-16 and hopefully the trophy survived his house party. Thanks for having us Nick it was a great party.

MVP - Jo
Scorers - James (6), Amy (4), Alice (3), Niall (3), Ruth (3), Dan (3), Dave (3), Gaz (2), Jo

Match Report: Spartans Overpower City In The End

Southampton Spartans vs Oxford City - 15.02.16
17-21 Loss

The game was intense. We all worked hard and created great opportunities for goals while defending fiercely. Ruth started and finished the scoring as part of her classic three goals.
Becca pressured her player and won the ball for us numerous times.

Nick and Andy Nye used the whole pitch and multiple subbings to chase each other across both divisions. They both showed off some beautiful scoring moves and perfect penalties.
James scored the first of his hat trick just moments after being subbed on. Dan defended and intercepted brilliantly. Gaz kept his player engaged and off the post.

At half-time we had a narrow lead but in the second half Southampton put more pressure on. Close to the end we were at 16 - 16 but Southampton were determinedly scoring and pulled three away. 

Finally we tried five minutes of shooting madness, which was great fun but we actually ended up conceding one more and finished losing by four. So we lost but we are not defeated. The team work and individual performances were excellent. We should be proud of how we played against top class opposition. Let's carry this spirit on into our next match!

MVP - Becca Brennan
Scorers - Nick (5), Ruth (3), James (3), Dave (2), Becca, Dan, Amy, Jo 

Match Report: City Maintains Charge With Bulls Victory

Oxford City vs Basingstoke Bulls - 06.02.16
21-18 Win

The game had a poor start and were quite quickly ended up three goals down. We haven't been so badly behind in matches for a while so it came as a surprise, but we switched it up a gear and focused on making good scoring opportunities.

The Basingstoke girl runner-heavy tactics meant defence got a good workout and our communication was key. Plus, tall boys dropping from the post meant frequent feeds and tricky times for our boys under the post. Once we tightened our defence, our attacks started to pay off. Ruth's long shot from the side was finding the mark and Nick scored so frequently it is a wonder he can keep count. Dave's classic unstoppable long shot found its mark. We came back and took a narrow lead into half-time.

Unfortunately, Basingstoke's repetitive game plan was as effective as it was annoying, and they kept in contention and just after half-time pulled back to level the score 10 - 10. Dan scored key shots, including a couple of fast-paced runners, keeping the morale up and reinstating our lead. Becca and Alice demoed beautifully how to defend as a pair. Amy scored a stunning shot in the second half and then tirelessly worked the post. The odd penalty sunk with style from James and Nick helped us keep ahead.

Just before the end Basingstoke came back to within one goal and, even though we were trying to slow things down and play out to victory, scoring goals was the best way to keep calm. We edged away to a final score 21 - 18 which shows impressive scoring from both sides. Well played everyone!

MVP - Nick, for a fine performance and scoring goals at crucial points in the game.
Scorers - Nick (8), Dan (3), James (3), Ruth (3), Dave (2), Gaz, Amy

Match Report: Back To Winning Ways Against Horfield

Oxford City vs Horfield - 16.01.16
22-10 Win

The match started with a fast and beautiful should-have-been runner from Becca within moments of the whistle. We soon got the first goal, but then the opposition sunk a penalty (that Dan, perhaps rightly, insists was not a penalty). 

After that, first-half highlights include: a throw-off where James won the ball using the speed to be able to pass to himself; the ref (Pete Sage) doing a Matrix-style lean back to avoid a cross court pass; Catherine adapting successfully to the novelty of being marked by someone taller; and stunning long shots from Ruth, Dan and Dave.

The half ended with a healthy lead but there were points when we had passed the ball out of play, at least once we were timed out in attack and we were often shooting from the wrong opportunities leading to short attacks. Frank reminded us to use what we had been training and we tried out a new double sub with a full division of girls switching for the new half. 

Goals were spread across the squad and those that weren't scored got us valuable resets to attack further. James used his pace and quick thinking to sink a couple of fast close goals. The match also included the regional debut for Ian and in the second half, not content with simply being on pitch making space and passing well, he also scored a lovely long shot. When Ian was off pitch, he also distracted Dan possibly to help give the crowd some slapstick comedy.

There was a period of play where both teams exchanged tit-for-tat penalties and, once we were all bored of that, our long shots came back out the bag to get our score above 20 goals. At the very end of the match notably Gaz did just run straight into a stationary girl. Perhaps the lack of sleep is how he can still questions how she got there but, if he can captain the side and score four while barely awake, then we are all impressed.

An important point to make is how Becca richly deserves player of the match for her tireless efforts to support, defend and make the best of every opportunity. She worked hard for the whole team throughout the match but the goal she scored was an individual masterpiece. Essentially she had a short shot that bounced long over the head of her giant marker. She outran this marker, got around her, claimed the ball and shot again... now from a long way out and scored brilliantly. Epic Becca!

Everyone played well and there were so many goals it is impossible to remember them all. I hope you all enjoyed the match because we get to play Horfield again in a fortnight!

MVP - Becca Brennan
Scorers - James (5), Dave (4), Gaz (4), Dan (3), Ruth (2), Becca, Alice, Amy, Ian

Match Report: Loss For City In Nail-Biting Bristol Match

Oxford City vs Bristol City - 12.12.15
16-18 Loss

The Christmas festivities were definitely taking their toll (at least in my case!) and that 11.15am start seemed much earlier than usual. We started slowly but our winning streak gave us confidence that we would come through. 

However, it seemed like we went three goals down from the start and the Bristol height was causing problems. Our one-shot attacks were not sinking and, 20 minutes in, we were in trouble.

Then Ruth rallied and scored two goals in quick session off brilliantly-shaped attacks. Dave and Gaz found another two so the half ended with us one goal up. Unfortunately, Dan's tactic of assuming you are a goal down was much more accurate for that period of play than the Gaz 'I am sure we are winning by more than that' response to the half-time scoreline.

In the second half we continued our goal streak and went two ahead. Dave was doing a great job marking Bristol City's basketballer, and there were two occasions where we timed out their attack. Niall and Catherine frequently leapt to claim collects that looked to be going into enemy hands and Alice evaded her marker for a smart goal. 

Unfortunately, we were hampered by some overly strict/unpredictable calls on blocking. Amy and Gaz probably saw the worst of this and it did have quite a detrimental affect on our game. It is very rare that you see Gaz request subbing so this game is memorable for at least that reason alone. Although it seemed fairly even between the two teams, Bristol were more clinical. They pulled away by two goals and controlled the final quarter to win the game. Darn!

It was quite a comedown but nothing a good montage of training won't fix. 

MVP - Dave, for tremendous efforts in defence marking a goal machine, and his usual five goals.
Scorers - Dave (5), Nick (3), Gaz (3), Ruth (3), Niall, Alice

- Match report by Jo

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Match Report: City 2 Dominates In 26-3 Win

City 2 vs Reading 1 - 06.12.15
26-3 Win

Despite having a slightly depleted roster due to the double header in Cardiff, City 2 seemed determined to show that this would have no impact on the games final outcome. 

No slow starts this Sunday with David Sinclair scoring the first goal within 30 seconds of the game starting, and following it up a minute later with his second. The goals flowed for the rest of the half without Reading having an answer in either their defence or their own goal scoring ability. The half-time score was 16-1, and their one goal looked pretty well defended by Fi. 

Sadly, after the half-time break our heads went down a little and Reading scored two quick goals in succession. Spurred on by this lapse, City 2 stepped up their front defence and shut down any further attacks for the rest of the match. The whole team excelled at pressuring party balls out of attack resulting in a lot of turn overs and a very frustrated Reading. 

The goals started to flow again from both set pieces and in open play with a number of superb long shots going in. By the end of the match there were just too many goals to even hope highlighting the 'good' ones, but a special highlight was Theo bagging a none-too-shabby eight goals. Well done! It was as impressive to watch as it was easy to coach. A great display by the entire team.

MVP - Theo, though Taissa and Becca Bleeze both deserve a special mention for completely shutting down their best player 

- Match report by Jim

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