A lovely summer day in BC has bought out the best of what is traditionally a winter sport. The Eagles once again dominated the UBC field to post a very hard fought victory over a well-drilled Vancouver team.
It was weather fit for ducks at the UBC soccer fields as 4 days of rain turned the ground into a puddle. The clouds had run dry by the first bounce and the players were eagerly awaiting what was sure to be a tight struggle. Colin Hilton and Randy Dickens were late to the game after waiting for live reports from Coach Freeman to see if gumboots were actually needed before they started their long trek in from the suburbs.
Upon arrival both were confronted with a challenging game.
The eagles started well and in the first few minutes managed to keep pace with their rivals. Signs were good early on and it was clear that the game was going to be an arm wrestle. Goals today were going to be like sunny days in January – very hard to come by.
The eagles showed a lot of faith in selecting their team this week by including three of the Delta juniors’ players to start the game, a testament to their hard work at training.
After some great centre play and a few scrappy minutes in the forward line the ball spilled to Belly on his trusty left and he finished in style with a great goal. After returning to the centre for the bounce all players had learned that the ball had actually missed the goals by the narrowest of margins and they were rewarded with only a one-point score.
The centre line was proving to be a force as the quarter wore on and they began to dominate the play. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing pretty about the play they made but it was desperate and determined and that is all that we needed. Apart from the great centre play the entire team showed desperation around the ground and it was great to see our hard work at training was paying off with lots of great smothers and shepard’s. Led by a returning Adam Cole and Peter Taylor the backline was phenomenal, repeatedly fending off numerous cougar’s attacks.
Ray Ramano was brilliant with the wet ball as was Chris Raudoy and they followed instructions perfectly to drive the ball long out of defense.
As the game went to half time and the supporters headed off to the pie stands the players gathered in a tight huddle. “Look” said coach Freeman, “ This game is here for the taking, all we need is a couple of goals in the third and we have this one”. The inspirational words of freeman echoed around the huddle. “Boys, I’m asking you to lift, to give that extra 10%. We are all tired and at the same time we can all do more”
Assistant Coach Belly made his views of wet weather footy known. “Lads, it’s a simple game plan – Kick it long to a contest – kick it long”.
Inspired by the words of two great leaders the eagles lifted their game in the third and began using the game plan we had talked about. Forcing the ball long at every contest was the only way to penetrate the forward line, and penetrate they did.
Wakefield surprisingly playing in the full forward role was caught behind his man but managed to play the ball to his favor and swing naturally onto his left side – Kicking truly with a great snap he managed to fire up the boys. A few minutes later, Ryan Pedrotti (after getting a ride to the game with Wakefield and getting a few pointers on the way) managed to kick truly from 45m and give the eagles a 2-goal lead. This lead proved to be the difference between the teams as the last quarter turned into a defensive struggle and a truly tight arm wrestle. Well done to all team members.
The coaching panel would like to mention a few names of players they thought really lifted today and gave their all. Firstly, The three young guns, Justin, Robin and Tom were all equally impressive and great contributors. They gave as many hits as they took and definitely contributed to the great win. Ray Ramano, a sold game all day – your skills have really improved. Matt Wilson – a few great tackles were a great effort from you today – keep up the hard work. Doc Walsh, stellar play in the forward line for a rookie – nearly taking a great mark against three opponents in the goal square, well done. Ryan Pedrotti gave great options up forward all day and kicked truly when it was needed. Dale Handley ran all day and never gave up. Mick from Adelaide, sensational effort around the packs. Randy and Wiz – some super efforts from two of the veterans in the club and always willing to put your body on the line.
Well Done guys, it was a sensational win – See you all at training on Thursday at the artificial fields and don’t forget the Eagles Annual teams triathlon this Saturday – great weather expected