UPLAX were proud to welcome Essex to our beautiful city on a day filled with the weather it is famous for. Rain. Torrential rain.
Sadly the non-stop barrage of rain had meant our beloved Staddi was out of use for the day due to it being, well, underwater. Fortunately we were able to secure a different venue for this vital play-off first leg, Marjon astro. Well I say fortunately, we do generally make it a rule to never stray past the 24-hour McDonalds and in to Marjon territory except when we are demolishing their lacrosse team, but needs must. Despite this change to a venue which is not friendly, welcoming and full of prestige like Staddi UPLAX were resolute that we would show everyone who had written off our chances as we are 'just that small team from Devon' that they had not done their research well enough.
The game started with two quick fire goals for UPLAX after some superb facing from Ali Wright allowing Josh Rowland and Luke Binding to steady the nerves and give us a deserved lead. Essex however were not shaken and hit straight back with two well-worked goals of their own to tie the first quarter. If the first quarter had been about 'feeling out' our opponents, the second was about exploiting our strengths and crashing the goal. UPLAX managed to string together five well-worked team goals, proving that sticking to our passing philosophy would work against any opposition. Essex managed one goal in reply and UPLAX took a healthy 7 - 3 lead into the half-time team talks.
Essex came out for the second half clearly intent on reducing our lead and making a mark on the game, and that they did. A patient, calm and lethal attacking display won them the third quarter 3 - 1 with the score tentatively perched at 8 - 6 to UPLAX. Following the games pattern of toing and froing, UPLAX managed to find our form again and reversed the third quarters result by taking the fourth 3 - 1.
Essex proved to be a skillful, fit team and the second leg will be a close-run affair. However step 1 of 3 towards our season-long goal of promotion to the BUCS Premier League is complete and we left the field pleased overall with our performance and with a few things to work on for the return leg in Essex.
Luke Binding (4)
Josh Rowland (2)
Will 'Trigger' Haynes (2)
Ali Wright (1)
Will Roberts (1)
Thomas Franklin (1)
Man of the Match: Josh Rowland - After a commanding, captain's display involving two well-worked goals and a handful of assists Essex voted for Josh as UPLAX's Man of the Match. Josh also secured another vital victory in the pub after the game, dominating the downing competition and surviving an attack from the Chunder Dragon.
Dick of the Day: Will Roberts - No one is really sure why Essex voted Will as our Dick of the Day. However after his pitiful attempt at downing his pint and his 'accidental' spillage on the pool table (which he subsequently had to hoover up), their choice was vindicated as Will truly was Dick of the Day!
Attendance: ....I think my girlfriend came and watched from the car?
Sunday 6th May is sizing up to be a momentous day both for UPLAX as a group and Dave Baldwin as an individual. Dave fucking loves a car journey and Essex is a long old poke.