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NEMLA – Premiership Week 7 Report

As the league gets to the halfway point, Stockport and Cheadle are still leading the way at the top, both with undefeated records. Poynton, Mersey and Timperley are all fighting for the remaining post-season spots, while at the bottom we are seeing three teams in a highly competitive race to remain in the premiership next season.

Timperley applied the pressure on Manchester Wacs who are currently bottom of the league and are struggling with confidence despite having a capable squad. For Timperley this fixture signals the start of an important month for the club as they face the teams who are in their way of finishing in the top four this season.

The hosts Timperley had a simple aim, to get back to playing fast, free flowing lacrosse that has been missing from their game in recent weeks. Having started the season slowly they saw this fixture as the perfect opportunity to get their season back on track.

They got off to a great start moving the ball with purpose and creating a lot of problems for the Manchester Wacs defence in the opening quarter. Captain for the day Jay Armstrong commented that he was “extremely pleased to have seven players on the score sheet this weekend.”

In defence Tommy Kirkland took the lead, embracing his new role as the on field defence co-ordinator. Grady Fayle, Rory Norris and Nick Ascott also made sure that Tim ‘Mash’ Blower had a comfortable game between the pipes. The game finished 12-4 to Timperley.

Timperley Goals: Ollie White 3, Greg Sandy 2, Alex Winton 2, Jack Brook 2, Resh Panesar 1, James Bates 1 and Jay Armstrong 1.

Wacs will now have a two-week break and will next play Stockport on the 22nd November. Timperley have a must win game against Poynton in what could be the deciding fixture, come the end of the season.

As predicted the game between Cheadle and Mersey was a closely contested encounter. Mersey have been steadily improving week on week and this game was an illustration of the progression they have made under captain Ant Hayes’s leadership.

Cheadle have been consistent so far this season, but have struggled with absences in their regular line-up, which has been evident in some of their recent results. This week, for the first time they fielded their first choice squad.

The hosts got off to a great start putting four goals in the back of the Mersey net in the first few minuets of the game. Mersey called an early time-out and returned to the field with more purpose bringing the score within one, by the end of the quarter (4-3).

A player of particular note was the Mersey captain Ant Hayes who stepped in goal last minute for Gaz Roberts. His performance earned praise from both sides and was named the man-of-the-match.

Hayes’s absence in midfield allowed ex-Rutgers Jack Matthews make his debut for the first team, scoring two goals and providing two assists and adding a extra threat in midfield for Mersey.

The score line was tied in the third period, but a Mersey penalty early in the last quarter allowed Cheadle’s LDO Sean Wright to put Cheadle in front.

Mersey needing to chase the game they pressed trying to force a turnover however, with the momentum still with Cheadle they were able to kill off any hopes for Mersey and put the score out of reach for the visitors. Final score Cheadle 12-7 Mersey.

Mersey captain Anthony Hayes commented: “I think we came off thinking we could have got something out of the game. “They were just better in the final period and that put the game beyond us.”

Cheadle coach Peter Condron was complimentary of Mersey’s progression from last season: “Its obvious that they have been working and training hard and it showed in their performance at the weekend.”

Stockport travelled to Brooklands who returned to league action after a week break with players missing due to the Boy’s U17 Academy tour to Philadelphia.

The visitors started brightly, quickly putting Brooklands on the back foot. Moving the ball with conviction they made short work of the young Brooklands defence and at the end of the quarter held a commanding 7-0 lead.

In the second quarter Brooklands capitalised on a man-up opportunity to open their account in the game. But at the half, Stockport were ahead 9-1.

The second half went much the way of the first with Stockport extending their lead further. Brooklands scored an excellent fast-break goal early in the third period however the margin was too great to recover and the score stood at 16 goals to 3 as the final whistle blew.

Stockport had seven different goal scorers in the game with Stevie Howe and Sean Smith each bagging four goals. Tom Gosnay continued his good form with three goals, while Adrian Wright, Tom Patterson, Lewis Curtis and Joe Singleton all got on the score sheet. Ryan Sweetman, Joe Cara and Paul Simpson each contributed goals for Brooklands.

Captain Tom Gosnay commented “We have to praise Brooklands they made things difficult for us in some areas, and the score line doesn’t do them justice. “From our point-of-view we have been working through some different things at both ends of the field, and it was great to see some of those put in to action today.”

This weekend sees the leagues two undefeated teams face each other as the champions Cheadle travel to Stockport.

Cheadle will be supremely confident coming in to the game having added Nick Watson to their already lethal offensive line-up and welcoming the return of Chris Brady, Ian Wilkinson and Darren Baythorpe. The scores suggest that Stockport are in better form, but on the day there will be very little between these two teams.

Photo Credit: Lee Warburton