NEMLA – Premiership Week 5 Report

The season is now into its sixth week of action, with teams struggling to get to grips with the breaks in play, and others with games under their belts, we have seen some interesting results so far this season. Cheadle and Stockport still remain the only undefeated teams in the league, but the real talking point is the mid-table battle, where there seems to be little between the teams placed 3rd – 6th.

Manchester Waconians 6 – 11 Sheffield
Sheffield continues their excellent return to top-flight lacrosse with a key victory away to Manchester Wacs.

The Steelers were again without some regular faces as they travelled over the Pennies, but they proved yet again that they have strength in depth at the club to compete at this level. Wacs have yet to get any points from three games, but at this early stage of the season all is not lost for the club. They will play Brooklands this weekend, a game of key importance for both clubs. Which could act as a catalyst that both clubs need.

Ben Lyons has been Mr. Consistent for Sheffield so far this season, and this week was no different adding three more to his total. Goalkeeper Will Stelfox was the star performer for Wacs keeping his team in the game with a number of outstanding saves.

A decisive second quarter ensured the balance was tipped in the favor of the visiting team, winning the period 5-0 and proving a bridge too far for Wacs.

Tom Wenham commented: “Really pleasing start to the season for us with Brooklands and Wacs being two key wins that we’d targeted.” He went on to say: “Really encouraging that we’ve been able to do it with injuries to key players – shows the strength in depth that we’re starting to develop.”

Wacs goals came from Will Cornwell and Anthony Boyle with two goals while Eddie Owen and Matthew Collier each got a goal each. Goal scorers for Steelers included Dan Ivers, Rob Hopkins, Ben Stringer and Tom Dale who all scored two goals each in the game.

Cheadle 12 – 6 Brooklands Hulmeians
Cheadle claim their third successive win of the season albeit with a narrower margin than was expected at home to Brooklands. The hosts were always in front but the young Brooklands side kept a foothold in the game all the way until the third quarter.

With the score at 8-5, Cheadle finished strongly, going on an five goal run in the last quarter, and putting the game out of reach for the visitors.

Cheadle were without regulars Ian Wilkinson and offensive talisman Darren Baythorpe, but provided an opportunity for the new generation to step-up and make their mark for the club. Danny Condron stepped up to the task, scoring five goals and providing two assists. Ady Bennett was not far behind with four goals and one assist; the pair would combine for 70% of the goals between them.

Other goals for Cheadle came from LDO Sean Wright with two goals, while Paul Flowers and Glen Humphrys both got a goal each. “We have to give Brooklands credit they were a lot better than we anticipated, they played with purpose and performed well as a team. “We were happy defensively to only conceded six goals and we also had an number of younger players who performed well in the game.” Said Cheadle coach Peter Condron.

For Brooklands a standout performance from co-captain Ryan Sweetman ensured that his team was competitive throughout, finishing the game with five goals. LDO Johnny Esposito added Brooklands sixth. Vince Cara was more than pleased with his teams progress: “We have learnt a lot from this game and it has shown the character of our team to come from three bad defeats to put in a performance like that. “The fact that we were upset that we hadn’t won the game shows our drive and determination.”

Heaton Mersey 13 – 10 Poynton
An example of the competitiveness between mid-table teams, this game was end-to-end until the final whistle. Both clubs were tipped for big things this season, but both have struggled with different problems.

For Poynton they have not yet had chance to get a run of fixtures with a consistent squad. Mersey had a fantastic start to the season with a convincing win over Timperley, however with a run of three consecutive fixtures without a game they have been left frustrated.

“We started the season really well, and to have no fixtures for three weeks has hampered our progression, we have been training well, but its not the same as playing for real and I think this showed in the opening quarter.” – said Ant Hayes.

Goals were coming thick and fast from the start with both teams enjoying a period leading the game in the opening period. Mersey finally established a lead in the second quarter and never lost it despite the constant pressure applied by Poynton.

Midfielder Pete Hayes starred for Heaton Mersey, scoring four goals in the game. Hayes was joined by long stick Josh Turner who bagged himself two goals while Andy Ellison, Ryan Hunns and Josh Kinder also got on the score sheet.

Poynton welcomed the return of Sam Russell who missed the game against Manchester Wacs last week. On his return he provided two goals and three assists. “It was a great game of lacrosse we just made a few costly mistakes. ”Were looking forward to the rematch and think we can definitely turn that result round ”

Jamie Butler was the standout performer for the Blackbirds scoring six. Other goals came from Alex Russell and Rob Hutch who both got a goal each. Poynton were without some key players in the game, namely midfielder Sam Davidson and defenseman Tom Brook however Poynton again relied on youth to fill the gaps.

Russell was also pleased with the performance of the youngsters he called up: “It was great to see them step up. “I thought Matt Rowarth did a great Job on his debut and Gem Huntley put in another good performance.”

Both of these teams (on their day) are capable of challenging the status quo at the top of the league, as the season progresses and they start to play regularly we will see what they are capable of. One thing is for sure the return fixture on the 10th January should be another thriller.