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NEMLA – Premiership Week 8 Report

In a great exhibition for men’s lacrosse the best two sides in the country played off against one another with the northern premiership title at stakes. A last minute goal from Paul Flowers ensured that the advantage went the way of the champions in the first of potentially three contents between the two sides.

The game started tentatively with both sides sharing possession in the first few minutes of the game. Cheadle were the first to score with a goal from Paul Flowers. Youngster Lewis Curtis replied for Stockport and with two more goals, the scores were even 2-2 at the end of the period.

Played on a heavy pitch the hosts did not move the ball as they have in previous weeks, instead opting to dodge which cost them tactically. Cheadle were able to dictate the flow of play and only allowed Stockport poor angled shots on Nick Anderton’s goal. Stockport were not without chances and uncharacteristically missed three one-on-one chances on the Cheadle goal however, Anderton made a string of fantastic saves.

Offensively Cheadle were missing Ady Bennett, and they too opted to dodge to draw a slide but had little success opening up the Stockport defence as they had so successfully in the Flags Final in April. American, Sean Wright was a constant threat from midfield, displaying excellent accuracy under pressure and finished two almost identical goals in the game. Glen Humphrys also got on the score sheet with a single goal.

Darren Baythorpe provided two goals, always a treat on his favoured left hand, he finished a vital goal man-up for Cheadle in the second quarter to take his team into a lead. With the scores all even in the last period Paul Flowers scored the deciding goal with minutes remaining in the game. The final score was 6-7 to Cheadle.

Goal scorers for Stockport included Lewis Curtis who led the scoring with two goals, Joe Singleton, Tom Gosnay, Tom Patterson and Stevie Howe also got on the score sheet. With the margin for error in this league so tight, both teams must not slip-up until rematch on February 7th at Kingsway Sports Club which will undoubtedly be another thriller.

In another closely fought game, Poynton now go into fourth spot defeating Timperley and proving the competitiveness of the league beneath the top two. Poynton ran up a 5-0 lead within the first 8 minutes, if it wasn’t for Tim ‘Mash’ Blower, it could have been more!

Timperley would mount a comeback in the second period. “We could easily have felt sorry for ourselves having been without our talismen, Michael Armstrong and Tommy Kirkland, but Timperley have a strong team spirit so it would be foolish to ever write us off.  “Through digging in deep and turning the game into a battle throughout the pitch we managed to get ourselves back into the match.” commented Jay Armstrong.

He went on to say: “The game ebbed and flowed and neither team could really say they dictated the match from start to finish. In spells, it felt that our momentum along with the hustle we were giving would be rewarded with the points coming our way. “However, Poynton are a team with plenty of quality and when it mattered most they converted their chances.” “The mistakes we made on Saturday will be analysed and worked on, but more importantly we hope that the strong team performance we are showing will help as we enter the second half of the season and boost our chances to still finish in the top four”

Poynton captain Sam Russell was full of praise for his team: “It was a good overall team performance. “It was great to have our full strength squad out, and Tom Giddings has been a welcome addition to the team.” Jamie Butler was the star performer for Poynton scoring four in the game. Alex Russell and Sam Davidson each scored three goals each. Sam Russell scored two while Tom Giddings got a single goal.

Ollie White led the Timperley goal scorers with three goals, Jack Brook and Resh Panesar both scored braces while Blake Crossman and Jay Armstrong also got on the score sheet.

Poynton can now focus on the re-match against Heaton Mersey where they will hope to leap frog into third place.

In the final game of the weekend, Heaton Mersey held on to third place with a comfortable victory over Brooklands. Ant Hayes side were without a number of key players coming into the fixture, but with the talent available at his disposal he was more than confident before the match.

Storming ahead in the first quarter, Mersey opened up a 6-1 lead. In the second period Brooklands were able to chip away at Mersey’s lead bringing the score to 6-3 at half-time. “We took our foot off the pedal; Brooklands always made us feel like were in a game and despite the final score the game was competitive throughout.” said Hayes.

Final score ended 13-4 to Heaton Mersey. Scorers for Mersey: Andy Battersby 4, Josh Kinder 2, Pete Hayes 2, Andy Ellison, Jamie Gallagher, Ryan Hunns and Chris Wainer also scored for Mersey. They travel to Timperley this weekend in another mid-table battle that could determine who places in the top four. Brooklands have the week off.