After a hard fought draw against league contenders Birmingham two weeks ago, the Cambridge men’s lacrosse team sat at the top of their league. A win against 6th place Northampton would secure victory in the Midlands 1A conference, and with 7 wins and a draw so far this season confidence was high. However, captain Stuart Cummings was determined not to take this fixture lightly and emphasised the importance of intensity and good decision-making that would win the game. Also, with the Varsity match just two and a half weeks away every game is preparation for the big day – plays need to be perfected and injuries avoided.
The game started with recent MIT recruit Cody Jacobucci winning the face-off; this would be repeated many times as he continues to forge a chemistry with long-stick midfielder and former England U19 player Will Barrie, the two of them working together to secure possession.
The first quarter saw Cambridge retain possession for long periods but struggle to turn it into scoring opportunities; attacker Nick Evans managed to evade his man and take a pass from Barrie, which he riffled in for the first goal of the day, and it was Evans again who scored the next, assisted by Jacobucci. The quarter ended 2-0 to the home team, although it was felt the score line did not reflect the opportunities Cambridge had had.
The second quarter was a much more intense affair; Cambridge continued to retain possession and set up attacking moves, and were rewarded with 3 goals, unusually all coming from long stick midfielder Barrie.
Cambridge were working hard to get the ball back when Northampton managed to get possession, with Alistair Fisher and Max Welch causing turnovers in defence which quickly translated in to transition and scoring opportunities.
The half-time score stood at 5-0, and when the second half began Cambridge were slightly switched off. The game became scrappier and whereas Cambridge were winning most of the ground balls in the first half, now Northampton were coming up with more. The visitors were rewarded with a goal, managing to sneak a shot past Cummings off a clever pick move. The Cambridge defence had a talk and managed to make the necessary adjustments to stop Northampton from scoring for the rest of the game – a remarkable achievement, helped in part by some excellent saves from Cummings.
The final quarter saw play become much more physical but Cambridge maintained composure, setting up dodges from the midfield and attack.
Konradin Muskens, Tim Jenkins and Matt Johnson all looked constantly threatening, with Jenkins getting on the scoresheet; Evans and Barrie both added to their tallies in the final moments of the game. As the defence of Northampton became increasingly aggressive it was with some relief that the whistle blew to signal the end of the game – injury had been avoided and the league was secured.
This bodes very well for Varsity, and with former Oxford player and star attackman Pete Baddoo about to return from a minor injury the Cambridge attack will get even stronger. The game ends a brilliant season for men’s lacrosse, with three one-goal game wins that demonstrate the resilience and determination of the team. The next few weeks will see some small final adjustments, but the Light Blues can go in to the Varsity fixture with confidence.
Will Barrie (4g, 1a)
Nick Evans (3g)
Tim Jenkins (1g)
Cody Jacobucci (1a)
Konradin Muskens (1a)