It was a welcome return to competition for the NEMLA Premiership with big games featuring all of the current top 4 teams.
League leaders Stockport maintained their 100% record with a resounding 12-1 victory away at bottom-placed Sheffield Steelers to continue in their quest for league domination, meanwhile 2nd-placed Cheadle used their home advantage to full extent, beating Brooklands 13-5.
3rd-placed Timperley continued their excellent form, hammering Wilmslow by a thumping 22-6 including a 6-goal haul from LTP student and Coquitlam Adanacs attacker Brian Gillis. Timperley sit in 4th place on 10 points, just behind Poynton who they face in 2 weeks’ time in a fixture which will have a massive impact upon the league standings come the end of the season.
Timperley enjoy strong links with a number of the Manchester Universities where they assist with their coaching, and have willingly found homes for a number of LTP students in the past. With a team featuring a number of current Team England and Team Ireland internationals as well as number of vastly-talented youth players from their junior programme, Timperley have a strong blend of youthful talent and crucial experience and play a disciplined brand of lacrosse. With only losses to Stockport and Cheadle so far this season, they pose a real attacking threat and defensive discipline and are desperate to cement themselves in the top 3 come the end of the season. With a flags (cup) game against Stockport this week and a visit from 3rd-placed Poynton in a few weeks, this will be a testing time for the Timperley boys which will be interesting for all to witness.
In the other Premiership game this weekend, Poynton travelled up to Rochdale to enjoy a dominating 13-5 victory on the road. With Rochdale coming close to causing a huge upset the week before where they led Cheadle 7-4 at half-time, this was an important victory for Poynton in their push for 2nd-place in which LTP student and Florida Launch player Jovan Miller starred, scoring 2 lasers and registering 4 sublime assists. Poynton will be looking to continue this winning form over the next few weeks in a flurry of fixtures which could see them overtake rivals Cheadle into 2nd-place if all goes according to plan.
This coming weekend sees the return of the NEMLA Senior Flags competition. “The Flags” as it is known, is the premier cup competition in the UK and the finals weekend is seen as the pinnacle of English lacrosse, culminating in a weekend-long festival when teams from junior levels up to seniors play in their respective finals at the same venue. This weekend sees the quarter-finals of the Senior Flags, and there are a number of intriguing ties in which the outcomes will be very difficult to predict.
Firstly, current flags holders Cheadle travel to Manchester Waconians in a game they will be hoping will become a routine victory for them. Whilst the two sides have not met each other so far this season, Cheadle have enjoyed significant domination over the Manchester team in recent times and haven’t been beaten by them in a number of years. With Premiership survival of much higher importance to Wacs, the flags competition will not be their key area of focus and whilst they would love to record a result against the high-flying Cheadle, they will not be losing any sleep if they fail to register the win. LTP PREDICTION = Cheadle 16-6 Wacs
Elsewhere, Wilmslow host Brooklands in what will be an interesting encounter between two teams in the bottom half of the table. Whilst Wilmslow are below Brooklands with two wins fewer than their rivals, one of their wins was against Brooklands and they will be hoping to use this experience as motivation to get a result. With both teams welcoming back a number of players from recent injury, this could go either way in what will be an interesting encounter throughout. LTP PREDICTION = Wilmslow 8-10 Brooklands
Over at Cale Green, league-leaders and flags hopefuls Stockport host Timperley in what will undoubtedly be a hard-fought battle for both sides. With a 100% win record so far, Stockport will be looking to continue this form and cement their place in the flags semi-final, but with their opponents having given them their closest game so far this season, the result is anything but a foregone conclusion. That said, Stockport are built for the big games and their bloodlust for glory this year sees them desperate to put themselves back on the pedestal of league and cup champions, so will inevitably be up for this in a huge manner. LTP PREDICTION = Stockport 13-8 Timperley.
Finally, Poynton face old rivals Heaton Mersey in a game which will again see LTP play LTP when Rutgers alumnus Keving Albery pays a visit to Syracuse alumnus Jovan Miller’s Poynton side. In their previous meeting, Poynton dispatched their visitors in a first quarter bombardment which saw them lead by 7 in the early stages, a deficit which Mersey just couldn’t reduce in time to save themselves from defeat. Mersey will be looking to exact revenge for this result and will be sure to start much more brightly and strongly in a game which could go either way. With a beauty parade of England international stars on show as well as the LTP influence on both sides, this will be a fans’ favourite which will showcase English’s lacrosse battling and competitive nature at it’s very finest. LTP PREDICTION Poynton 12-9 Heaton Mersey.
Will the big guns continue firing their way to glory? Will we see any classic upsets? Will our predictions be anyway near to the actual results?! Only way to find out is to check back next week!