After a devastating 6-0 defeat in their Varsity 2013 clash, Warwick Women’s Football could have been forgiven for going into their encounter against Coventry on Wednesday 23 October with apprehension.
But on a sunny day at Cryfield, Warwick gained spectacular revenge with one of the most one-sided triumphs over our local nemeses in recent memory.
So dominant were the hosts that Coventry wanted to forfeit at half-time, only to be ordered back on to the pitch by their angry captain
Ruby Compton-Davies, centre-back and last year’s captain, admitted that “we were really apprehensive about this match due to a 6-0 loss at Varsity last year”.
However, their fears proved unfounded as Warwick raced into an 11-0 lead by half-time.
A sumptuous team move experly finished by Erin Bullions within the first five minutes opened the floodgates, and two first-years – Divya Pathak and Eleanor Cuigo – netted on their debuts for the club.
It was also a special occasion for goalkeeper and fresher Cecilia Cavanagh, whose first appearance yielded a clean sheet.
Camilla Taylor was on target four times, while Bullions went on to complete her hat-trick.
Woman-of-the-match Annie Stone, who is also a first year, scored twice and assisted several of the other goals. Ella Cahoon scored twice, as did captain Lauren McHale.
Coventry were so demoralised that they wanted to forfeit at half-time with the score at 11-0.
“All of the Coventry team except the captain and goalkeeper were refusing to come back on the pitch,” Compton-Davies said.
“But in good spirit the captain stood in the net and would not move until her team agreed to play the second half and return to the pitch.”
Compton-Davies, who has returned to the team after deciding not to go on her year abroad at the last minute, had some sharp words for Coventry.
“This season UWWFC are bringing a tenacious and ambitious second team to the league,” she said.
“We showed Coventry what we are going to hit back with (after the Varsity defeat), and had them quivering in their studded boots.
“All I can say is bring on second term!”
Four members of the team who played in March’s 6-0 loss appeared in last Wednesday’s demolition, including delighted captain Lauren McHale.
“We absolutely smashed it,” she said. “I’m so pleased with the girls and we deserved to be named team of the week.”
We showed Coventry what we are going to hit back with, and had them quivering in their studded boots last week
Elsewhere, men’s lacrosse firsts got their season off to a flying start with a 6-4 win over Leicester at Cryfield on Wednesday 16 October.
After a morale-boosting pre-season including a charity Tough Mudder challenge, as reported on by The Boar, president Jenny Harris stated that she was confident in the team’s camaraderie – and it came to the fore during a match which constantly fluctuated.
The two teams had never met each other before Sean Pillai settled nerves with an early goal after slaloming through the visitors’ defence, before Richard Gold added a second.
Leicester scored twice in the second quarter to draw level, but Pillai edged Warwick in front again with another dodge and shot.
Leicester maintained the topsy-turvy nature of the encounter by equalising for a second time to make it 3-3, before debutant Paul O’Connor weaved through the visiting ranks for a fine solo effort to edge Warwick ahead again.
Leicester equalised with two minutes to go, and a draw seemed the likeliest result at this late stage.
However, captain Rhys Hill led by example by picking up his short-stick, having played with his long-pole all match, and danced through the visiting defence to send his team into raptures.
Jono Fernandopulle then sealed victory after being brilliantly teed up by Hill.
“We’ve really improved our ground ball wins and clearing to attack, which have been major weaknesses in previous teams,” said president Harris.
“Deelan Maru in goal demonstrated his excellent shot-stopping ability and brilliant distribution to the rest of the team.
“I was also really proud of Osajie Oboh, Paul O’Connor, Malik Fahad and Michael Engelen on their first-team debuts; they weren’t daunted by the occasion.
“Jono Fernandopulle was great on his return from a nasty Achilles injury too.
“There were many positives to take from the match, and it gives us a solid platform to work from before the next match.”