NEMLA – Premiership Week 6 Report

Week six in the Premiership and Brooklands finally kick started their season with a key victory at home to Manchester Wacs. Cheadle’s new signing made an immediate impact for the club against Timperley, whilst Poynton entertained Stockport in a scrappy encounter.

Timperley 7-15 Cheadle 

Rumours had been circling that England attackman Nick Watson was back in the country and looking for a club, but where he would end up playing was anyone’s guess. Still signed with Heaton Mersey but with strong connections to Rochdale many thought either of these clubs would be his first options. However, with Cheadle coach Pete Condron having to plug a gap which sees Darren Baythorpe, Ian Wilkinson and Chris Brady all out injured, the decision to bring Watson to Cheadle was an easy one.

Watson returns after three years playing in America with both Stony Brook and Adelphi College. A late deal, Condron signed his man early last week to allow him to play against Timperley. Considering he hasn’t played since England secured fifth place at the World Championships this summer, he made an immediate impact contributing six goals and one assist in the game. However, questions will be raised, whom will he replace when everyone is back fit and available for selection?

Other goal scorers for Cheadle included LDO Sean Wright with two goals, Sam Dexter with three while Glen Humphrys, Ady Bennett, Dan Condron and Paul Flowers each got a goal.

Timperley were unlucky not to get a foothold in the game, nearly bringing the score line within reach in the third period. Captain Mike Armstrong thought his team played well overall, and had the momentum remained with them they could have challenged Cheadle more, but “consistency eventually cost us.”

Poynton 7-10 Stockport
After last weeks disappointing defeat to Heaton Mersey, Poynton were keen to bounce back this week as they hosted a Stockport side returning from a two-week break in fixtures. Played in less than ideal conditions, the game got off to a tentative start.

Both teams had chances but Poynton would score the first goal of the game thanks to Tom Giddings who scored his first of three. Stockport looked rusty in the opening period, making several uncharacteristic errors, and they had to wait until the end of the quarter when they found their usual form and sneak in front 4-3.

An excellent game from American Rob Hutchins caused plenty of problems for Stockport at the face-off X, winning the lion share of possession and keeping Poynton in the game.

Stockport made changes in the break and returned in the second quarter with defensive match-ups established. This had a marked effect and allowed them to keep a clean sheet in the period. Offensively they extended their lead by three to take the score to 7-3.

The second half was scrappy to say the least for both teams. Stockport’s lack of match fitness was apparent, resulting in Poynton winning the third quarter 2-1 and drawing the final period 2-2.

Stockport captain Tom Gosnay commented, “We have to give credit to Poynton, they caused us some real problems in the opening quarter and kept the pressure on us throughout. “We’ve struggled with the break in fixtures, and I think that showed in some of our decision-making, especially towards the end of the game when lack of match fitness was a factor.”

Stockport had seven different goal scorers in the game including – Tom Patterson, Joe Singleton and James Morris each scoring two goals each, while LDO Sean Smith, Tom Gosnay, Nathan Singleton and Greg Rowlinson each got on the score sheet. Goal scorers for Poynton included Tom Giddings with three goals, Sam Russell with two and Alix and Sam Davidson who both had a goal each.

Brooklands 15-11 Manchester Wacs
Brooklands got their first victory of the season in a key game for the club, they have been improving weekly and this win over Manchester Wacs is an example of their progress in the league so far.

This result now lifts them off the bottom of the league table, but still not out of danger as they sit in seventh place. However, this could be the confidence boost that the club needed after a less than ideal start in the league.

Ryan Sweetman was the star performer scoring six goals in the game. The result is a bitter pill to swallow for Manchester Wacs who now face the prospect of relegation and must now look to senior players to save them from the drop.

With most of their young squad now on an U17 Academy tour to Philadelphia, Brooklands now have a two game break. Manchester Wacs will face another tough tie this weekend when they play the current champions Cheadle.

Sheffield 5-12 Heaton Mersey
Heaton Mersey continue their run of form in the league as they collect their second consecutive victory and third of the season. Sheffield are still suffering with players out injured or missing through commitments, and again fielded a new look team.

Heaton Mersey dictated the flow of the game from the start, no more so than at the face-off where they gained some key possession which would allow them to build a comfortable lead in the game. For Sheffield they could not generate the quality shots that they wanted on Gareth Roberts.

Positives for the hosts included the continued development of their younger players namely Tom Dale and Dan Aspin who both seem to be developing each week in their first full year of senior lacrosse.

“I was impressed with Mersey – they’ve got a good mix of youth and experience and played with patience in attack coupled with some real flair” commented Sheffield coach Tom Wenham.

This win sees Mersey climb in to third place behind Cheadle, with the two clubs meeting in game week eight. It will be interesting to see if Mersey can ride this good form and cause an upset against the champions.