It was a physical encounter in freezing conditions, but barring a short spell of Trent dominance in the third quarter, Uni kept their heads up and went on to win 16-11 and to take this year’s Varsity crown.
Displaying their physical style from the off, Trent won the opening faceoff and brought the ball down into the Uni third, where they were immediately dispossessed and forced to drop back and defend. While Uni enjoyed a lengthy time on attack, it wasn’t until 6 minutes into the game that Uni saw an end product, when a nice passing move down the right found its way in front of the Trent goal, where it was subsequently swept into the back of the net.
Trent conceded again almost straight away, a huge defensive hit unbelievably failing to break up the Uni attack. However, a period of sustained pressure by Trent led to a shot on goal finding its way through a packed defence, which the Uni goalkeeper parried but couldn’t control. Unfortunately, there were plenty of Trent forwards waiting on his doorstep for a lucky break, and they tallied their first. The quarter ended 3-3, with both sides exchanging possession and goals in a real end-to-end affair.
Despite a lightning-quick start to the second quarter which resulted in a goal, Trent soon found themselves back on level terms with Uni as their goalkeeper decided to hold onto the ball for far too long. He finally opted to pass down the middle lane, but the ball was intercepted, charged down the field and converted by the Uni forwards. Fortunately, he managed to redeem himself with what looked like a painful save to deny Uni a go-ahead goal. Uni saw the best of the final stages of the quarter, scoring three more times; Trent only managed to score once.
It was Uni who started the third quarter quickest, scoring twice in quick succession. Trent pulled one back after a nice counter attack move down the right, but it didn’t manage to slow Uni down. Scoring five more times to Trent’s one, Uni had put themselves in the driving seat for the final quarter, leading 14-7. This flurry of goals included an absolute peach of a counterattack; the ball was won by the Uni defence before being raced forward through the middle. A short, darted pass through the cramped defence was picked out of the air and finished, getting the Uni crowd on their feet.
It was obvious going into the final quarter that Trent would need something akin to a miracle to take anything from this game, but after scoring four back-to-back goals unanswered, the volume of the Trent contingent grew, as did the confidence of their players. With Uni six minutes into the quarter and still to gain possession in their opponent’s half, it seemed Trent were unstoppable. That is, until a rare move forward by Uni resulted in a goal. The Uni fans went wild, perhaps more in relief than celebration. With the score at 15-11 and only a few minutes remaining, surely the game was over.
Preferring a defensive approach to the final stages of the game, it was perhaps surprising that Uni managed to tally once more before stifling any more Trent attacks, bringing the game to a close, along with a 16-11 victory to Uni.
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