2nd April 2022
University of Bristol 3 [1-4] Bristol & West 2
Report by Dave Vernon
As the 2s met for the final game of the season, and as Shaq polished off his avocado smash in Bath, the sun beat down and the air buzzed as if it were game 1. After a 5-0 loss to Bristol Uni 3s before Christmas, there was a point to prove. Following a rousing speech by skipper Si in possibly his final game at the helm, the boys were chomping at the bit at the push-back, spying an opportunity in a Uni team with personnel issues induced by the skiing season.
From the off, the students looked uncomfortable, shaking in the face of Bristol's press and conceding a couple of early short corners. In contrast, the boys in orange looked dangerous, carving open the midfield and finding some great spaces in the oppo's D. Twenty minutes in, though, the Uni team managed to squeeze their way through and finish off a 45 with a bobbler that only just evaded Duncan's pads - he's too used to saving actual shots!
Bristol's clean sheet was gone, but there was no doubt in their minds that the scoreline would be turned around. Soon enough, Tom Varney found himself a yard out, and there was only one possibility: 1-1. Moments later, Mousey found himself in space in the D, he lined up to flick home, then to slap home, then he slicked his hair back and finally decided to slot the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-1. Finally, just before half time, Oli Nevin made a beautiful, swerving run into the top of the D, left with enough space to hula-hoop, he took his time, picked a spot and the whole team turned to watch the ball flying into the top corner... only to find that the ball hadn't moved, and Oli was actually stood on it.
The most dramatic moment of the half came when Colm McManamon went on a little dribble in the centre of the field and was called up for a stick block. The red mist descended, and Colm launched a barrage of abuse in the umpire's direction. No cards were given, perhaps because the umpire was as startled as everyone else. Bristol went in at half-time up by 1.
The second half continued the story - Bristol huffed and puffed at the youngsters, who parked the bus, seeming intent only on keeping the score down. As the half wore on, it was that man again - Tom Varney - who popped up twice on the back post to deflect home a pair of exquisite passes from Dave Vernon.
At 4-1, Bristol were flying, and most of them were loving every minute of it. Arthur Graham, however, was getting a little bit uppetty at some of the umpiring decisions. To save him a disciplinary, Dave Vernon replaced him with five minutes to go, and was soon called into action. The student team decided to have one last throw of the dice, setting free one of their quicker players down the right. Dave tracked him all of the way, channelled him beautifully, and finally saw his moment. As the Uni lad took his stick off the ball, Dave saw his chance to make the tackle, and completely failed to do so, bringing the young lad down in a cacophony of sticks, legs and whinging. Only a green, but a summer of festering ahead.
The game finished 4-1, and the boys went back for teas served up by Si. A well-deserved win, to wrap up a successful first season following promotion. A comfortable 5th place finish was celebrated with some top-notch shenanigans in the evening.
Goals: Tom Varney-Wiseman (3), Mouse
MoM - Tom Varney-Wiseman, for doing what he does best.
DoD - Dave Vernon, for GBH.