Match Report 25 July 2015 Bendigo v Williamstown
On Saturday it was pretty cold, but turned out to be a nice afternoon to play lacrosse. Not windy and with a little sun.
The Williamstown club arrived in a full bus and as they unloaded their gear, I gloomily surveyed the usual Willy talent-fest with a heavy heart. They had 16 players ready to play by 2:30. Bendigo started with 12 and with key middies unavailable, prepared for a tough battle.
I think a quarter-by-quarter analysis isn’t really required for the first three terms. Williamstown scored often and kept the Warhawks scoreless to three quarter time. The Bendigo team had the ball in their attack fairly often, but mistakes and a failure to settle led to quick turnovers. The centres were able to win face-offs often, but the ball would often end up in a Willy stick regardless. The Warhawk defence held the Willy attack out fairly well, but the high standard of ball movement and the confidence with forward set up and cutting that comes with the presence of the ex-Australian players who grace the Williamstown division 3 attack, meant that the scorers found themselves updating the visitor sheet frequently. By the third break, the score stood at 15 to 0.
As is characteristic of the Bendigo club, there was no capitulation in the last quarter and it was relatively even, despite the loss of a Warhawk player (and mention should be made here of James Dawson’s plucky showing on a day when he was not at all well) and a bench of one. Bendigo finally got on the scoresheet with a really good fast break move that had John Webb assisting Brett Ruiz with a very nice face-saving goal. Williamstown only managed to inconvenience the scorers twice in the quarter, but ran out winners 17-1.
Besides a clear difference between the teams in skill level, fitness and average age, the Warhawks were simply undermanned and no matter what, 11 will struggle against 16. As the season winds up, injury takes its toll on player numbers. People have work and other important things that take them away from sport periodically. That’s understood. But there is something soul destroying about getting to Maiden Gully after a long drive and not being sure the team can even scratch up a bare ten to play and all the while, Gino scans the car park and frantically checks his mobile for news of who might yet turn up. Meanwhile, 16 opposition players boil out of a bus and march to the change room. At the moment we have guys playing with injury, illness, old age and to the detriment of work and with the sacrifice of time at home because they know that Bendigo is struggling for numbers. We have a winnable game next week and then a hard game away against the division leaders to finish on. We need all players to be available for the next fortnight or early notice if they can’t be. There’s just as much team spirit shown by shooting a quick text to Gino on Wednesday to say you can’t play, as there is in setting a good forward pick and allowing a team-mate to score.
Next game is against MCC at home.