The Tridents Promoted into Division 1, defeating Exeter II’s at home to win BUCS League

The sun sets over Wide Lane as Queen Elizabeth herself lead the applause, celebrating the Tridents promotion into BUCS West 1 – much to my chagrin as I will soon […]

The sun sets over Wide Lane as Queen Elizabeth herself lead the applause, celebrating the Tridents promotion into BUCS West 1 – much to my chagrin as I will soon have to be less rude in my match reports.

BUCS Champions

From the outset Southampton made it clear who the better team was. Leander Crocker kicked the match off in what was to become a staple of the Southampton attack, by winning the face off. Sounds unimpressive, but I’ve never seen someone pinch and pop with their stick lodged so firmly up their opponent’s rectum. A well-planned first quarter played out well, with possession being top priority the Tridents were able to work their way up through the gears and get their eye in.

The first goal of the game came from Harry Kenyon, returning that week from injury, who fired the ball into the bottom right hand corner so hard that not only did it elude the keepers’ net, but was also lost into the subterranean Kingdom of the Mole People. Not to be outdone Jack McClelland also smashed a hole through the top netting of the goal with an on-the-run elevator – the ball made it all the way through Libya before being shot down shortly after crossing into Turkish airspace, as though club relations with Turkey weren’t already tense enough.

Fresher Jonny Chapman scored his third of the season with a clinical finish, and as keeper Chris played danger fives with the defence to see who would sub off first to let someone else stand around in defence, thoughts turned to what was for dinner, and the defenders had a lovely chat with some of the spectators; it was all rather pleasant. The quarter closed 3 – 0 to the Tridents.

In the second quarter, Exeter got their heads down and scored a couple of goals, one on a fast break, and one on a man-down play after some spectacular physical banter from Southampton which earned them some time in the bin. The whole thing was quite rude, because defence were quite enjoying the sunshine and had gone to sleep a bit. A rather put out and frumpy Southampton attack retaliated, with Jack scoring twice from out wide, apparently his frequent tweaking of his stick before games finally paying dividends. DJ Jeezy Fresh Hype also got in on the action, with a robust and manly pirouette granting him the time to slot it in the topched – much to the vexation of the Exeter defence – and closing out the half 6-2 to the champs.

Trousers down, knee brace on and ready to party, Andrew Valentine – presumably the holder of the season goal scoring record if anyone could be bothered to check, or add up properly – stepped into the fray. In an uncharacteristically serious manner Andrew scored a trio of rather sensible goals, working well with the rest of the attack to draw the defence out of shape and score from close, planting the ball between the keepers legs. As his teammates began to worry about a possible stroke Andrew made a quick recovery, running through five defenders to score a behind the back elevator. Having had two elevators scored on him at this point the opposing keeper pointed out to his defence that they should try to hit people in the body, and not swing around trying to knock sticks out of hands. Jack scored again, first shouting at his teammates for being in the wrong place or something, before just shooting it from virtually level with the goal and getting in anyway and closing the third quarter 11-4.

Fourth quarter was to be a tour de force of skill and precision, a showboating example of talent and grace – thrilling, gripping the crowd, held in pure rapture – until like the proverbial wave that takes out half of the island in the Pacific occasionally, their hopes were dashed. A mystery man picked up the ball in midfield as though his stick were magnetic, dodging a midfield and leaving him with legs akimbo. The crowd roared, ice cream slipped from children’s cones without their notice, one man had a heart attack but not a soul cared, the pure athlete was baring down on crease. Two defenders to his left and right hesitated, thinking of their families they’d left behind in Exeter, webbed though their fingers may be, ugly their faces, were they worth dying a sudden death running against this unstoppable object? Perhaps not, they decided, sliding too late to stop the mystery long pole ripping a shot from the restrainer. The ball hissed out of the longpole’s net, leaving it smoking, screaming through the air like a comet through the atmosphere. Silence filled the stadium as the ball struck the net; the keeper rather rudely had saved the shot.

After those bitter-sweet events had unfolded the game very much lost its impetus for all involved, Andrew scored another screamer but it just wasn’t like it once had been. All the joy had been sucked from the world, fortress Wide Lane, a place once filled with wonder and excitement stood solemn in grayscale against the backdrop of the sun fading on the horizon. The game ended 12-5, and everyone went home treading a little heavier than they had done not long ago. The Tridents were champions – maybe heroes, as some had said – but at what cost? Were there no more great goals to be scored in the game of lacrosse? Perhaps there are no great goals left to score in the world of sport at all, long will this travesty scar the 3G of Wide Lane, longer still will the residents of Eastleigh feel a heavy weight on their hearts as they fill their cups half full and toast to the greatest goal that never was.