Christmas is a major celebration in our lives. It may not be the religious event that it used to be but my feeling is that it is even more a time which allows us to celebrate our relationships with families and friends and workmates. Not to mention the week skiing which seems to be an essential of many people’s lives.
The need to be involved has seen the event expand into a social commitment which has spread in to a week, not just days. For sport the discussions on a winter break / Christmas have become convoluted to say the least.
In the olden days Christmas took only a few days – if that. If Xmas Day was on a Sunday you played Lacrosse on Xmas Eve then again on Boxing Day. On 27th Dec you went back to work. You worked on New Year’s Eve but had a day off on New Year’s Day. New years Day was a Lacrosse day with the iconic Heaton Mersey Sixes won on at least one occasions by a Timperley team which included two 1st Team All Americans and a couple of England internationals - maybe 3 – that must have been 1981!
Life has changed. Christmas has changed. Manchester Christmas Markets now open in early November and only close a few days before Xmas. (They are great but to say the least expensive). Everybody I know has works’ Xmas meals.
In the olden days families stayed very close to their roots and saw each other on a regular basis, often at least weekly. Today people are much more dispersed and see each other much more irregularly so Xmas represents a unique opportunity for families to meet. Xmas spreads from mid December until after New Year. Organising sport becomes a challenge. From my personal experience family commitments this year started on 16th December and continued uninterrupted until 6th Jan.
I am not even a skier and cannot see the attraction of going downhill on two peculiarly shaped pieces of wood but many do and several of my friends will spend part of their Xmas break skiing somewhere exotic. In years gone by at TLC we realised that in thinking ahead we always had to factor in the Sandy skiing holiday.
The answer is clearly to accept that things have changed and make arrangements accordingly.
Many years ago the construction industry decided that it made no sense to shut down on Xmas Eve, open up again on 27th December, close again on New Year’s Eve to open again on 2nd January. Instead the industry closed down on Xmas Eve and opened up, generally on the first Monday in the New Year.
The answer for Lacrosse is easy as far as I can see. We consolidate what is rapidly turning into a Winter break with the Winter Classic and the weather.
Games finish in the middle of December and there is a break, to give players coaches and officials and pitches a rest, until the 1st or second weekend in January.
All over the Manchester area it was the weather which ruled the roost last weekend – except at Timperley where the “super” pitches saw a couple of great games. Though it could have been more.
The A team entertained Rochdale A at Stockport Road. Last season Rochdale were Timperley’s nemesis beating them twice in the League and knocking them out of the cup in the semi-finals. Earlier this year the teams fought out a 7-7 draw, so this time, particularly after last week’s loss to Heaton Mersey, Timperley were out to prove that they were on the up. After a slow start Timperley gave an outstanding display and took a convincing 12-4 win.
The Women’s team and the Men’s B team were due to play at Stockport Road against Norbury and Stockport B respectively but unfortunately neither of their opponents could raise a team. (More about this later).
The U16 and U14 games were victims of the weather.
The U12A entertained a much improved Liverpool side and produced an impressive 18-9 win.
The U12B travelled to Norbury for one of the few games outside Timperley to be played. Norbury are among the best 2 or 3 U12 teams this year and Timperley did well to restrict them to a 2-15 defeat.
On Sunday the Timperley Christmas 8’s took place on the ATPs. Despite all the vagaries the tournament, which attracted 27 teams, took place with games for U11, U13, U15 and U18 teams. With the U15 winning their tournament all Timperley teams finished in the top 4. The event was well organised by the indefatigable Cengiz Ilhan with help from coaches and parents.
This is the second time the 8s have been run and they give a great opportunity for girls of all ages to play some competitive Lacrosse. Hopefully, the event will be staged again next year and it will be bigger and better. I am sure that there will be more help coming from TLC and from TSC to make the 8s a real landmark in the Lacrosse calendar.
Saturday 16th December
Women v Norbury (H) Won 1-0 (Concession)
Men’s A team v Rochdale (H) Won 12-4
Rochdale have become somewhat of a bogey team for Timperley. The tail end of last season they won three games in as almost as many weeks against Timperley, pipping them to the top of the league and knocking them out of the cup in the semi final. Having already drawn 7-7 in the corresponding away fixture this season, the A’s felt they had everything to prove.
The first quarter was a tense and evenly balanced affair. The first goal wasn’t scored until the 17th minute with Rochdale taking the lead late on. Rochdale had many attacking threats, held possession well and created opportunities while Timperley struggled to find the back of the net with missed opportunities from Slater and Humblet. Timperley had a flat start, not pressing to win back the ball when clearing and slow movement in attack. Rochdale went in with a 1-0 lead at quarter time.
Rochdale were strong from the face so it was always a battle to win possession. After a couple fairly weak attempts at goal Burgess found his shooting stick, equalising then firing Timperley ahead with two fantastic outside shots. The flood gates opened at that point with Timperley bagging five to Rochdale’s one. The attack were on fire, moving the ball rapidly, threatening from every position and battling hard to win back the ball after possession was turned over. The half time score was 5-2 to Timperley with Loveland and Sandy also getting on the score board.
Timperley took control of the game in the 3rd quarter. Fantastic movement from Loveland, McGowen and Humblet created multiple chances that Rochdale found difficult to cope with. Even with wind up merchant Jay Armstrong accumulating 3 minutes of penalties, Rochdale could not capitalise due to man of the match Allen making some huge saves between the sticks. Timperley’s patience and ball movement went almost unanswered and the third quarter ended 8-3 in favour of the home side.
Having come back from deficits almost this large the team in blue knew this game was not out of sight for Rochdale. The young team showed a lot of maturity in the final quarter keeping with the game plan, holding possession and not turning the ball over unnecessarily. Rochdale found themselves lacking and deflated scoring one in answer to Timperley’s 4.
The final score was 12-4, a well deserved win, a great way to come back after a disappointing performance the previous week and a top way to enter the Christmas break.
TJ (5, 0)
Greg Sandy (2, 3)
Ed Loveland (1, 0)
Tim Holdsworth (2, 0)
Pat McGowan (1, 0)
Louis H (1, 2)
Men’s B team v Stockport B Won 1-0 (Concession)
Boy’s U16 v Sheffield (A) Cancelled
Boy’s U14 v Norbury (H) Cancelled
Boy’s U12A v Liverpool (H) Won 18-9
This week the U12A took on Liverpool at home. Liverpool got off to a quick start and controlled possession for the first few minutes which eventually led to a goal. Timperley started to wake up and soon got back into the game with goals from Jack and 3 from Cai. Score at end of first quarter 4-2. Second quarter saw Timperley have the better of the possession but struggled a little with the ground balls. Mark opened the scoring and this was followed with Jack and Cai once again finding the back of the goal. Halftime score 7-2. Third quarter Timperley stepped up a gear with Jim winning all of the face offs and setting up Ben Edwards, Cai for 4 and Owen in quick succession. Then Jack went on a run and powered a shot past the helpless keeper. Some solid defensive play from Alex, Ben Lawton and Toby helped Lift verpool to 3 for the quarter. Score at the end of the quarter 14-5. The final quarter Timperley looked a little tired and this led to 4 soft goals for Liverpool but two goals from Jim and one each from Cai and Jack saw the final score 18-9.
Cai Alty 9, 1
Jim Hartley 2, 4
Jack Dearden 4, 1
Owen Shuttleworth 1, 4
Mark Harrington 1, 2
Ben Edwards 1, 0
Boy’s U12 B v Norbury (A) Lost 2-15
Our away match against Norbury saw a chilly start, but with 12 players for Timperley it was a good showing from the boys and parents. The Norbury boys looked strong and there were a couple of dispensation players from Under14s, but as one of the top teams in the league, the manager had already reassured us that they would be giving more match time to some of their newer boys.
Highlights of the match
Q1 - Lucca's goalie skills were put straight to the test and we saw some excellent saves. Norbury started strong with 4 goals in this quarter.
Q2 - Timperley were straight in with a shot from 71. This quarter also saw shots by Sam and Matty and Timperley's hard work and determination were rewarded with a goal for Sam Ginger. Norbury managed another 3 goals. We saw some excellent playoff wins by Matty and more good goalkeeping from Lucca. Leon was determined and energetic in defence.
Q3 - The cold was taking it's toll and we struggled more in this quarter, conceding 3 more goals.
Q4 - Shots by Sam Ginger required top goalkeeping skills by Norbury, as well as seeing one shot come hard off the post. Sam was rewarded with our second goal.
Special mention for Oscar Street, our new player in his first match. His determination and hard work were noted, well done. It's not always that cold Oscar!
Special thanks to Mark Harrison for stepping in as coach in Brendan's absence. Your vocal support of the boys and fantastic organisation were much appreciated by players and parents.
Sam Ginger 2.0
Sunday 17th December
Christmas 8’s at Timperley
The second Christmas 8s tournament took place last Sunday at the Timperley Lacrosse Club. Last year, we only had the U13s and U15s whilst this year we had all junior girls’ age groups (U11s, U13s, U15s and U18s). Last year, all teams played till the last game but this year teams did get eliminated after the group stages. Last year, every team got a trophy and this year only the Winner, 2nd and 3rd place teams.
The whole week, I have been checking how the weather was going to be. The closer we got to the day the less chance of snow and frost was forecasted. On the day, the Green pitch was still frozen from Saturday and the Blue pitch had patches of bad spots. The original idea was to have 2 pitches on each field but the weather had different ideas. We put one pitch on the green field and three on the blue. Just as we were planning to start they said the 3rd pitch on the blue was too icy so we moved one to the green field which was looking better. After two rounds the green pitch with the help of the rain became a lake so we could not play at all on the green field. By this time far end of blue field was ok to put the 3rd pitch there and so it stayed till the end.
All these pitch changes meant we had lost time and a pitch. I had to quickly adjust our timings and playing orders and at the end we even finished all age groups games sooner than the initial schedule! There were some voices asking and questioning if we should play or whether the U13s and U18s in the afternoon should go ahead. The umpires said it was safe to play so we went full steam ahead with all games.
Due to the weather (even with the protection of a Gazebo) most of the papers got wet. So the only age group where I might have made a mistake on the winner is this one.
In total, 6 teams competed at this age group - Cheadle, Heaton Mersey, Mellor, Norbury, Stockport and Timperley. We have a very young and new team but with some great future potentials. We are still learning to play as a team.
Brett Christian was the coach for this team. In the group stages they lost to Cheadle and won against Heaton Mersey. In the semi finals they lost to Mellor and in the 3rd/4th place game lost against Cheadle. They came 4th out of 6 teams. Early days for them so this was a good result. I am sure they will improve on this at the next opportunity.
Stockport (?) won this age group, Mellor 2nd, Cheadle 3rd and Timperley 4th.
In total, 7 teams competed at this age group - Brooklands, Cheadle, Heaton Mersey, Mellor, Stockport/Norbury, Oxton and Timperley. This was one of the age groups where I had high hopes. Timperley started well and beat their two opponents in the groups stages comfortably (Timperley - Heaton Mersey 3:0 and Timperley - Oxton 6:1). In the semi we were unfortunate to lose to Mellor. This was a big disappointment for the girls who were being coached by Lucy Ford. But they picked themselves up and beat Cheadle 4:0 at the 3rd / 4th place game. They might have not won this tournament but I am hoping this will increase their resolve to win the league! Plus next year, I can see them winning this one.
Mellor won this age group, Heaton Mersey 2nd, Timperley 3rd and Cheadle 4th.
In total, 9 teams competed at this age group - Brooklands (2x), Cheadle/Norbury, Merton (Heaton Mersey/Poynton), Mellor, Stockport, Oxton and Timperley (2x). This was another of the age groups where I had high hopes and we had two strong teams. Timperley Blue was coached by Chris Wright. Timperley Blue had a slow start and lost two games with only one difference, drew one and won their last game against Mellor who were second in this group. So Timperley Blue went out in the groups stages which was a surprise for me. They had a tough group but I am sure they will learn from this and use this for winning the league.
Timperley White won all three group games comfortably and played well as a team coached by Ellie Racle. In the semi finals we played against Mellor and the final score was 4-4, which meant golden goal. Some anxious moments but then we scored and were through to the final. At the final we played against Oxton and again it was 4-4 at the end. Another golden goal required and we did not have to wait too long for this. Like last year, U15s won this tournament.
Timperley won this age group, Oxton 2nd, Mellor 3rd and Brooklands 4th.
In total, 5 teams competed at this age group - Brooklands, Mellor, Stockport, Oxton and Timperley. This was an age group that I thought if we play well we had a chance. Timperley Blue was coached by Gary Hall. First game a close game against Brooklands which we won 5-4; then we switched off and got thrashed by Oxton 0-5; 3rd game against Stockport we showed what we can do and were 4-2 ahead then lost 4-5; final game a close win against Mellor 2-1. It was a close group for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place positions. At the end the goal difference decided who would meet Oxton in the final. Had we drawn with Stockport, it would have been us on point but our goal difference was not good enough. Brooklands played Oxton in the final and gave them a very tough game but they lost 4-5 so Oxton were the winner of the U18 age group.
Oxton won this age group, Brooklands 2nd, Timperley 3rd and Stockport 4th.
We were in the top 4 for all age groups and I see our teams being in the top 3 of their leagues too at the end of the season.
I got great help from a number of parents which I am very grateful for. Thank you to all of them. We also raised £31 with our cake sales for the USA Tour fund.
Updated 15:20 - 20 Dec 2017 by Tom Slater