The term annihilation is thrown around a bit too much in sport. However, in this instance, it is the only way to describe the match which saw the Newcastle 1’s lacrosse team completely rip apart the Manchester Mets.
Indeed, it was only seemingly their personal battle to each score a goal which hampered the already monumental score line from becoming truly amazing.
“Manchester Mets simply hadn’t realised a game was going on around them”
Despite the torrential rain and generally appalling conditions, Newcastle were dominant from the very start. High tempo passing and great movement by players to find the vacant spaces quickly led to the first goal; a quick pass and move before Parnell rushed around the back and drove the ball into the net. Goal for Parnell; this would become a regular occurrence as the match developed.
Manchester Mets simply hadn’t realised a game was going on around them and before they could take breath, the score had shot up to 3-0, with goals from Rapinett and Prescott. Quick passing and aggressive tackling nearly led to a fourth if it wasn’t for a superb save by the Met keeper. However, this was merely denying the inevitable as Newcastle soon notched their fourth and fifth goals in quick succession, both coming from Zehr.
The rest of the quarter continued in much the same trend, with Newcastle capitalising on any mistake by the Met team with ruthless efficiency and timing. And it must be said, there were a lot of mistakes by Manchester. This led to a score of 10-0 at the close of the quarter, with Parnell taking his tally to 5 and Zehr to 3.
In fact, the only contribution Manchester Met seemed to offer was a delay to the start of the game as there was no official referee present. This led to them declaring they would be playing under protest due to the circumstances. However, this may have simply been a time wasting tactic to delay the onslaught that was to come.
The second quarter began with a flurry of goals from Parnell and Zehr which took the score to 13-0, goals that demonstrated Newcastle’s fluency in attack as well as impressive individual talent. While it was clear that the competitive element of the match was over, Manchester did begin to find their feet in the match, with some good possession and a few shots wide of goal.
This however allowed the Newcastle defence to display their proficiency in their role, with quick closing down of their opponents as well as excellent communication across the pitch to ensure that the Newcastle clean sheet remained intact. Manchester’s possession did lead to the highlight of the match.
An outrageous piece of skill/blind luck in which a Newcastle defender knocked the stick out of an onrushing Met player, who managed to carry on running, catch the stick and still retain possession. This was greeted by shouts of approval from all onlookers and rightly so.
Not wishing to be outdone, Newcastle responded with their best goal of the match. Quick distribution from the back and strong running led to an easy finish for Zehr. This goal perfectly encapsulated all areas of the Newcastle performance, underlining why they were such a dominant force in the match. The first half closed with the score at 21-0, with goals coming from Abes, Zehr, Murray, Davey and Parnell.
“IT WAS CLEAR THAT THE MATCH HAD DESCENDED INTO ESSENTIALLY A TRAINING SESSION”
In the second half, Newcastle took a different approach. It was clear that the match had descended into essentially a training session, and I was reliably informed that they would be attempting a number of set pieces as opposed to simply running past the Met defence and adding to personal tallies. This controlled, measured approach still produced goals however, with contributions to the scoreline from Parnell and Ramsbottom.
This tactic also afforded Manchester Mets their first shot on goal, yet it was a harmless effort and easily dealt with by the Newcastle keeper. The score line was unchanged for a good 5 minutes following the Manchester shot, perhaps testament to Manchester finally sorting out their defence and applying good pressure to the Newcastle attackers. Or it could have been down to boredom on the part of Newcastle, as scoring goals with such ease must get a little repetitive.
The final quarter was a carbon copy of the previous quarter, with Newcastle attempting elaborate plays and focusing on teamwork as opposed to merely adding to their lead. Goals were regular and methodical in their development, culminating in the final score line of 33-0.
A stellar performance from Parnell, who rounded off his day with 15 goals, despite pleas from his teammates on the side line to start awarding his goals to them so that they could get a mention. Darragh O’Keafe being the main culprit, there’s your honorary mention.
While the score line is clearly impressive, it must be noted that this was a team effort. While the defence may not have contributed to the goals (though in the closing minutes there were a number of impressive runs from the defence in the hopes of securing a personal achievement), their determination in tackles and closing down their men made the job much easier for the attackers who could simply collect the ball and score at will.
“Goals were regular and methodical in their development”
And while I was assured that Manchester are not one of the strongest teams in the division, this match did underline the Newcastle team’s talent and potential to put more accomplished teams to the sword as well.
With this win, they sit comfortably at the top of the league with an exceptional goal difference.