The sun was shining down on Clifton Campus on Tuesday evening ahead of the first lacrosse fixture in the Nottingham Varsity Series 2017.  As the women warmed up for their first official outing as a varsity fixture in their own right, there was a quiet confidence within the team that there could feasibly only be one outcome.

When you look at the two teams positioning within BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport), it is hardly surprising, with Trent’s 1st team lingering a league below the University of Nottingham, who have gone from strength to strength this season, placing third in the Premier North and making it to the quarter-finals of the Championships.

As such, players and spectators alike made their way to Clifton Campus positive of seeing the University of Nottingham take their fourth point in this Varsity Series. What was perhaps less expected was just quite how big a margin of victory the team would win by and exemplifying just how modest President Georgie Knight was being in the media day preview as to the final result.

UoN Ladies Lacrosse dominating 21-0 in their match at Clifton Campus

The ladies lacrosse team were calm, collected and clinical in their approach to the game, dominating the position and making little to no mistakes. In the first quarter alone a total of nine goals were scored, the first coming moments after the whistle blew. Harriet Rose in particular scored an impressive goal in the 7th minute, with number 57, Zoe Milton scoring the final goal before the break.

Throughout the game it was clear that the University of Nottingham side were technically and tactically superior to the Trent side, their work behind the goal being particularly effective in setting up their goals. In the second quarter, no.46 Megan Tiernan left Trent in tatters, running rings around her opposition who tried to keep up with their dominant opponents.

UoN in ruthless form in the women’s match

What is perhaps even more exceptional about the 21-0 final score, with Honor Sangster claiming the final goal, was the fact that the University of Nottingham appeared to ease off in the final half, with the game very much won.

The Men’s Varsity fixture was a much closer affair, though you wouldn’t expect anything less from the most competitive lacrosse varsity in the country, with the nation’s number 2 and 3 in the facing off against each other.

In one of the biggest fixtures of the year for either side there was very little between the two teams going into the game and as such, there was trepidation on either side, knowing that either side could come out on top. The two teams had already faced each other twice this year, in two exceptionally tight games, one ending in a draw and the other just being clinched by Trent.

UoN Men’s Lacrosse prepare for their close match at NTU

In the pre-match interview, captain of the men’s team Cam Tobin spoke of the team’s confidence going into a tight encounter with Trent: “Despite a slow start to the BUCS season we’ve come along strongly and our young guys have gelled in really well. Our best game of the season was a 9-9 draw versus Trent, so it really is close going into the game.”

“We have a strong side going into the match, England internationals and Americans as well. It’ll probably be the most closely contested game of university lacrosse in the country.”

From start to finish, the University of Nottingham men’s lacrosse team were the epitome of passion, defiance and spirit. Each quarter was hard fought, every point well earned.

The game was a tightly fought battle of goals and equalisers on either side, with Will Pickett drawing first blood for University of Nottingham, before going on to score another three goals in the remainder of the game. At half-time there was only a point between the two sides, with Trent narrowly in the lead thanks to a goal by Alex Huntley late on.

Going into the second half the University of Nottingham showed their resilience, with Jack Caruso scoring back to back goals to bring the scores level at 7-7. Heading into the final quarter it was all to play for with Trent in the lead 8-7.

Tactically there was very little between the two sides, but unfortunately Trent turned up the pressure in the final quarter to win the game 11-8.  The University of Nottingham team, however, displayed every ounce of the spirit Varsity espouses, battling every second of the way until the final whistle was blown.

President and man in charge of the face-off, David Wood, could be seen trying to get the crowd going, resulting in a roaring chorus of “unay” from the home fans. More perseverance was shown the dying seconds of the game as keeper Cam Tobin charged up the field into the opposing half, Trent players unable to catch him in an attacking display to set-up a chance.

Fans were gripped for the entirety of the game, each goal receiving a roaring cheer, each offence met with a chorus of indignation from the fans of the team upon which the offence had been committed.

As the final whistle blew, the Trent fans rejoiced and whilst the University of Nottingham boys will be disappointed that they weren’t able to lift the trophy, they can hold their heads high knowing that they churned out an impressive performance of sheer grit and determination.

Laura Williamson

Images courtesy of Impact Images

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