Wessex make Semi finals of Southern County Championships
Wessex make SEMI finals at the SEMLA County tournament
SEMLA County Championships 2012
Date: 31st March 2012
Location – Reading Wildcats LC
The county championships were reformed 2 years ago by the South of England Men’s Lacrosse Association (SEMLA) in order to generate some extra, higher level competition for the Southern players. Clubs are allocated to counties or regions across the whole of the SEMLA region.
This year saw teams formed from London, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Essex, Kent, Oxfordshire/Berkshire, Wales, Wessex and a guest squad from Belgium.
Divided into two pools the preliminary rounds were very competitive, but it soon became evident that London and Herts were the stronger sides.
Wessex, made up in theory of players from Bath, Bristol Bombers and Cheltenham Cougars contained only Bath payers, Bristol having a rearranged fixture and Cheltenham being added late to the region and missing communications.
Bath Captain Will Finlayson saw this as a great opportunity to judge the strength of the Bath Squad, in light of the upcoming promotion and Flags games against East Grindstead.
Against Sussex, there was very little between the teams, the score line being about right, although Murray and Finlayson dominated the face the attack wasted one or two attacks, Simon Griffiths driving from behind goals looking dangerous early on.
The next game against Oxfordshire/Berkshire, made up mainly of Reading players showed the value of good finishing, Wessex peppered the Berkshire goal, hitting everything but the net, and Berkshire created three meaningful attacks and scored from two of them. Good result for Berks.
The touring Belgian squad (part of their National squad development plans) gave the Wessex boys a chance to buck up their ideas, better movement off the ball, and good feeds caused the Belgians no end of problems, the Wessex defence of Ben Jessup, Luke Wilmot and Rhys Topping began to dominate, with Mark Lane in goals showing what a talent the Bath Club has in this 17 yr old. Wessex came out two goal winners, it could have been more.
The Welsh team, again looking at development for the National squad, at first tied the Wessex attack down to a few meagre chances, but the Wessex midfield particularly Ross Freeguard and Adam “Portman” Wilkinson began to run the ball at the long poles, quick thinking from Peter Short and good finishing from Joe Brickell and Matt King meant the West country side came out comfortable winners.
Results between the other teams meant that Wessex with a total of 37 points were ranked 4th and therefore qualified for the SEMI finals against top ranked side London.
Finlayson must have been pleased, Wessex took the game to London, taking plenty of shots, unfortunately the Wessex malaise of poor finishing, combined with good goalkeeping meant that London pulled away into a comfortable lead, scoring three very similar goals from a left hand drive and bouncing shot.
The Final was won by London, beating Hertfordshire 3:1
If the Wessex team could get together a little earlier and have representation from the other clubs, there’s no reason why the team couldn’t compete even better next year.
Thanks and congratulations to the organisers and referee's who did a great job.
Wessex 2: Sussex 2
Wessex 0:2 Reading
Wessex 2:0 Belgium
Wessex 8:0 Wales
Wessex 1:5 London