Despite the scoreline this was in fact a good display of lacrosse against a team who have a clear lead at the top of the division.
After a lengthy mid-season break with few fixtures scheduled over the last eight weeks it was bound to be a testing return to the fray. The weather was an added factor to contend with, as a thin layer of snow still covered much of the pitch. However, the ground was ruled fit for play and the game went ahead.
Unfortunately Stops took to the field with only nine men and the result can never have been in doubt. Brooklands surged into a commanding lead in the first quarter, but the gritty determination and lacrosse skills of the Stopfordian visiting team came to the fore. Midfielders Peter Woodhead, Phil Hall and the seemingly tireless Peter Hibbert constantly challenged for the ball and stuck to their demanding task at both ends of the field.
For prolonged periods Stops held onto the ball with competent team play, only to be let down with the occasional stray pass. The defence were under pressure but kept up their efforts supported by a brave performance from volunteer goalkeeper Andrew Withington.
The ball was regularly cleared successfully, with Andy Hancock being instrumental in getting the ball up the field on a number of occasions. The Stopfordian spirit was rewarded with a close fought last quarter going down by only two goals to one in this final period. Neil Catto was top scorer for Stops, twice hitting the back of the net, while other goals came from Paul Bowden, Peter Woodhead and Peter Hibbert.
As next Saturday once again has no scheduled fixture, Rochdale in two weeks’ time will see whether Stops can make progress.