Ward happy with 2s progress as season ends

UEA Lacrosse women’s seconds captain Michelle Ward is happy with the progress her charges have made after their BUCS campaign ended on Wednesday.

They finished their season with a 6-3 loss to Nottingham 4s at Colney Lane, despite a positive performance and goals for man of the match Octavia Pither (2) and Izzy Fumpston.

Ward reflected: ‘Obviously we really wanted to end on a win but I do still think it was a good game to end the season on. I think we played very well and it was a tight match. The girls all did themselves proud.

‘Everyone really wanted it. For some of the girls it was their last ever game and people gave it their all.

‘Rosie Lawrence played really well, got picked by Nottingham as their man of the match and was nominated for our man of the match as well.

‘In terms of freshers, Izzy Fumpston played really well and also our goalkeeper Dami [Johnson]. The progress she’s made since she started in that position in November is unbelievable, especially in the last two matches.’

This season has seen Ward give valuable competitive minutes to a number of new players, picking up impressive home wins against Leicester 2s (16-6) and Northampton’s first team (20-2) along the way.

Ward continued: ‘If you look at individuals, it’s a team of mostly players who started in September and have built their skills up from there. So, I think the girls should be very proud of their individual development for the season.

‘They don’t really feel it yet, but I think when they come back in September and they see the new freshers, they’ll realise how far they’ve come.’

Ward is only the second captain of UEA 2s, after Taylor Bennett led the team through their inaugural season in 2017-18. Ward reflected: ‘The 2s is quite a new thing, and since we’ve had it it’s been nice to see people develop and progress. When players do get into the 1s, instead of not doing much in their first few games and being a bench-warmer, they can play well.

‘Once they go up, they realise the progress they’ve made.’

Ward hopes that the 2s’ success this season in introducing new players to BUCS competition will bode well for next year’s first team, with a number of players expected to make the step up. ‘I’ve really tried to give as many freshers as much game time as possible, and I hope they feel the benefit of that next year moving up to the 1s. There are a lot of old girls leaving [the first team], but there are also a lot of people who I think are ready to move up.

‘Beth [Heritage, top goalscorer] and Tavy [Pither] have definitely been two of my most valuable players. Angie [Massebieau] has done excellently, for someone who only started in September she’s been playing really well and I’m excited to see how she’ll do next year.’

Elsewhere in UEA Lacrosse, the women’s firsts lost out in their BUCS Midlands Conference Cup semi-final 15-4 at home to unbeaten Warwick 1s. They have two remaining league fixtures, both on the road, with a tricky match away to Oxford Brookes this week followed by a second visit of the season to Derby where UEA will be hoping to conclude their BUCS fixtures by making it three wins from three against the Midlands side.

The men’s first team were satisfied with their performance in a 12-3 defeat away to runaway Midlands 1A champions Birmingham in their final league game of the season, after their survival had been mathematically secured the week before. UEA’s goals came from Kurts Auza, Jhan Tibudan and Travis Payne. UEA’s defensive unit were impressive, with fresher Curtis Parnell making his BUCS debut in goal and claiming man of the match after making a number of superb saves.

A young UEA side won a friendly away to De Montfort 20-7 as they begin their Derby Day preparations, with several more friendlies to come before Easter and the National 8s competition taking place in Bristol at the end of this month.

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Tony Allen

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August 2022
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