Cheltenham Ladies College hosted the second of this season’s Women’s South West League. With a very soggy day forecast, the tournament was lucky to get away with just the 2 down pours during the day! First time appearances from Birmingham, Falmouth University and Cardiff Nebula, and a notable absence of the dominant Cirencester team resulted in 10 teams competing for league points. Teams were split into equally weighted pools for the morning, and their performance in these groups would see them compete in the top or bottom seeded groups in the afternoon.
Defending league champions, Bristol Bombers, couldn’t have hoped for a better start to their day winning all 4 of their morning matches, seeing them comfortably take the first place in the top pool for the afternoon. Newcomers Cardiff Nebula established themselves well in the morning with a convincing win over Aberystwyth and two close victories over the South Coast Seagulls and Bath Ladies, losing only to the on form Bristol Bombers, also confirming their place in the top group for the afternoon.
Bath Ladies had a promising start to their day with good wins over the Seagulls and Aberystwyth, and a close loss to Bristol Bombers. Placed third in their group they just edged out Cardiff Harlequins from the other group on goal difference to take the third spot in the afternoon’s top group. Last month’s tournament champions, South Coast Seagulls had a different line up this month and were missing a number of their top goal scorers. They produced a good win against Aberystwyth and some very close games against Cardiff Nebula, Bath Ladies and Bristol Bombers. The ever-positive Aberystwyth University team has been improving in leaps and bounds since last season. They have established themselves as a feisty and competitive team, defending with pressure and skill, despite losing all of their morning matches.
Groups 2’s morning matches saw Birmingham and Exeter University set themselves up well for the afternoon with neither team conceding a loss. Cardiff Harlequins fought hard in their morning matches achieving a win over Bath Lacrosse and holding Exeter University to a draw, but unfortunately were just pipped to the post by Bath Ladies for a spot in the afternoon’s top group. Bath LC continue to develop and improve, with a good win against FXU and a close loss against Cardiff Quinns. Newcomers FXU also had a promising morning in a tough group, holding Cardiff Quinns to a draw and scoring against Birmingham.
The afternoon’s top group consisted of Bristol Bombers, Cardiff Nebula, Bath Ladies, Exeter Uni and Birmingham, while Seagulls, Aberystwyth, Bath LC, FXU and Cardiff Quinns formed the second group. Exeter University and Birmingham both continued their morning success and set the pace for the top group in the afternoon. They performed particularly well against Bristol and Birmingham, and scraped a close win against Cardiff Nebula seeing them crowned as well deserved tournament champions for the first time. Bath ladies and Birmingham both built upon their morning’s performances. Birmingham had a number of new players this month but seemed to gel well together and took 2nd place in the tournament, just ahead of Bath Ladies. Bristol continued their morning’s form with their opening game of the afternoon against Cardiff Nebula pulling out a convincing 6-2 win.
Unfortunately the nature of tournaments seemed to take it’s toll on Bristol and their performance waned for their remaining matches, just managing a draw against Bath Ladies and losing to Exeter and Birmingham seeing Bristol take 4th place. After Cardiff Nebula’s strong performance in the morning they continued to play well in the afternoon with exceptional saves from the goalkeeper, but were unable to produce the results they needed. After a close win against Bath Ladies and holding Exeter to a 3-4 loss they were unable to score points against Bristol and Birmingham and finished 5th overall.
The Seagulls stepped up their performances from the morning and were playing like well oiled machine, producing 4 very good wins scoring a total of 14 goals and conceding just 3, comfortably taking 6th place overall. Cardiff Quinns also stepped up their performances from the morning with three wins, losing only to the seagulls and taking 7th place overall. FXU and Bath LC both produced some excellent transition and attacking play in the afternoon and took 8th and 9th places respectively. Aberystwyth continued their strong defensive work in the afternoon and also scored their first goal of the tournament in a 2-1 loss to Cardiff Harlequins.
Another extremely promising tournament for both the talent and development of lacrosse in the South West. It is always fantastic to see the smaller teams improve from month to month and see the exceptional standard of play at the top of the league. Congratulations to Exeter Uni who won the tournament and are now top of the league.
The next tournament will be Sunday 30th November at Westonbirt School.
Photo Credit: Bristol Bombers Facebook