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Spencer crowned SEMLA kings again

Spencer stormed to the title in style with a thumping victory over Reading Wildcats to underscore their season’s dominance.

The Earlsfield engine purred through the second half of the season and they thoroughly deserved to wrap up their second Premier League title on the bounce and their third in four years.

The 20-1 win, against an understrength Reading team, puts them over the horizon with two games to go and they have a double-double in sight if they can retain the flags against Blues on April 9.

Spencer may not have always been as imperious as last season when they won all 18 games and scored 285 goals but they shrugged off an early home defeat to Hillcroft to go on an irresistible surge with a dynamic brand of lacrosse.

A four-week purple passage set on them on the glory trial as they came through tough encounters with Hillcroft and Hampstead – in both league and Flags – through February.

Co-captain Joe Darkins emphasised the importance of a disciplined approach, saying: “We take nothing for granted, take every game as it comes and respect that nothing is won until the silverware is in your hands.”

He also praised Reading for making the game despite being reduced to 11 players. “It was a difficult game for Reading with some new faces and the scoreline does not do them justice to the hard work and effort they put in,” he said.

“The game started with a face-off win from Nick Acutt leading to a quick goal from Resh Panesar and from there we continued to score and began moving the game out of Reading’s reach despite their consolation.”

Blues notched up another road victory with a 14-3 win in Cardiff while Hillcroft came back 20-3 victors from their journey to Bristol and stay in second spot behind Spencer. Purley are rooted to the bottom after losing 3-14 at East Grinstead.

With all three bottom teams losing, the scrap for survival continues. Purley look adrift but Cardiff and Bristol will want to avoid ninth spot and possible tough match-up with the runners up from the Cambridge-Bath play-off.

Spencer refuse to over indulge on their title celebrations and, with the Flags Final approaching and their 2s and 3s both in with a shout at the title of their respective leagues, training sessions are still well attended.

But Darkins and co-captain Tom Leahy can reflect on the positive attitude embraced by the club after losing their influential LDO Jake Vita at the start of the campaign.

“Every member of Spencer has stepped up to make this a memorable season in terms of challenging for silverware. It has required hard work, but this year has been about building on the solid foundations of the club built over the years from Peter Compton, current/past players and LDOs.

“We’ve had nearly 50 players at some sessions and the importance of Pete’s work in encouraging grass roots by coaching new players and juniors can’t be underestimated in the clubs success this and every season for Spencer as all new players are welcome at Spencer regardless of age or ability.”
Leahy, Darkins and second team captain Chris Jones have taken the bulk of training duties in the absence of an LDO and the triple pillars of lacrosse success – preparation, performance and post-match – underpin Spencer’s success.

They are hoping the approach will help them round of the season in style with more silverware.