Six-a-Sides at Croydon - 26 Apr 2003
The SEMLA Sixes took place on Saturday 26 April at Croydon LC's Foxbury ground in Chistlehurst. Purley fielded a strong team to try to defend their title. Our first game was against Poynton, who were down for the weekend on a Southern tour. We started strongly and were soon a few goals up, but in the second half Poynton came back at us and the game ended 8-4 to Purley. Our second group game was against Reading, and by this point the Purley Pride were moving the ball well and creating good scoring opportunities. Reading battled hard but the Purple and Gold were just too strong winning 7-0. Our final group game was against a well organised Hitchin team. They made us work for every goal we scored and some good goalkeeping helped them keep the score down, but the Purple defence was also playing well and kept Hitchin's chances to a minimum. Final score 5-1 to Purley. This meant that we had won our group and had qualified for the final.
The other Division in the Senior competition was much closer with Hillcroft beating Hampstead and Croydon but losing to Walcoutian Blues. And Hampstead beating Walcoutians and Croydon but losing to Hillcroft. At this tournament you gain an additional point for each goal scored and Hampstead ended up qualifying for the final as they had scored one more than Hillcroft.
The Purley - Hampstead final was lively and drew quite a crowd! Hampstead recruited the American LDO from Hitchin for the game (even though all teams had to hand in a team sheet to the organisers at 11.45) and were now looking like a strong team. In the first half Purley struggled with subbing and Hampstead picked up two goals, both because Purley were playing man-down defence while trying to get a long-stick defender on. At the other end Purley were playing well but not as well as earlier in the day and the score just before the end of the half was 3-2 to Purley. Purley looked like they needed some inspiration to move them up a gear. This came just before half time when Hampstead's Dave Leach was sprinting down on a fast break with Purley's Sam Bugeja hot on his heals and beginning to catch him up. Suddenly Purley's Ted Whitehouse appeared on Dave Leach's blind-side and timed the hit really well, knocking Dave to the ground. Purley recycled the ball and Graeme Holland scored in the final seconds to make the halftime score to 4-2 to Purley. The second half was a excellent demonstration of how both teams can play, both creating excellent scoring opportunities and taking it to the cage as quickly as possible. Purley just had the edge with Mike Barrett dominating the midfield, backed up by the speed of both Sam Bugeja and Ryan Lynch and keeper Paul Terry came up with a couple of big saves to help Purley win their third Sixes crown in as many years. Final score - 10 -7.
We'd like to thank Centurions Lacrosse Association for organising the tournament and Croydon Lacrosse Club for hosting it.