Wilkinson Sword & Iroquois Cup 2000
October 28th 2000
For those of you who don't know the Wilkinson Sword is played between the winners of the Northern and Southern Leagues, and the Iroquois Cup between the winners of the Northern and Southern Flags. With Cheadle doing the double up North, and Purley emulating them down South, the teams decided to play one game for both trophies. The weather conditions were hardly ideal for a game of lacrosse, the pitch was soggy and there was a gale blowing. But the game had been highlighted in London's Time Out, and Purley's captain Mike Barrett was interviewed by London Live Radio station. So instead of this game being watched by one man and his dog there was something of a crowd on the touchline.
The Purley team was looking forward to a tough game against what promised to be the hardest opposition that they would face all season. Mike Barrett won the first face and moved the ball to the attack but the shot was poor. Cheadle broke quickly and scored from the fast break. 1 - 0 Cheadle. This only emphasised that possession was everything and no one could afford to give the ball away cheaply. Within minutes the score was level and the quarter continued in the same vein with neither team asserting their authority on the game. Quarter time 2 - 2.
In the second quarter possession was evenly split between the two teams but Cheadle took their chances better and the quarter ended 4 - 2. Midway through this quarter it became evident that Cheadle were not going to use their entire squad. There had made the journey South with a squad of about 30 for a weekend tour, of which any 14 could play in each quarter. Since the game looked as though it was going to go to the all the way some of their less experienced players faced an afternoon on the touchline.
With the familiar names of the Cheadle attack they are always going to score goals but the Purley defence was not overwhelmed and was holding up well. Cheadle's major threat was Phil Lynch using his strength to hold people off, and his accurate shooting to great effect. He was probably the man of the match with his six goals. His strength on the ball was matched by Purley's Dave Arnot who scored 2 and created many of Purley's goals. Purley's attack always looked dangerous with the ball constantly moving and relentless cutting creating opportunities. The Purley midfield was working hard and middie MJ Berman top scored for Purley with 3 goals.
The third quarter was a closer affair with Purley battling themselves back into the game and the lead was beginning to change hands. Purley pulled a couple of goals back and before long were 6 - 5 up. But the lead was short lived and Cheadle pulled level as the half ended. The quarter ended tied at 6 - 6.
So with 20 minutes left to play the game could go either way. Purley had dominated face-offs and ground balls but this began to change. The Cheadle approach changed and instead of trying to win the face cleanly they keep the ball in giving their wingmen the opportunity to fight for the ground ball. This approach was more successful and added to a couple of lapses in concentration in the Purley defence Cheadle were soon a few goals clear. At this point the chorus that we'd heard in Berlin of "Cheadle, Cheadle" came from their bench and they appeared to think that the game was won. But the chorus quickly faded as Purley pulled a couple of goals back. With the score at 11 - 9 it still looked close, but Purley's hopes faded when Cheadle added another and the final whistle followed soon after. Final score 12 - 9.
We'd like to thank the Cheadle lads for making the trip South. It was an excellent game to play in and watch and was a great exhibition of Lacrosse.
Goals: MJ Berman 3, Dave Arnot 2, Tim Richmond 2, Scott Nicholls 1, Matt Payne 1