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The third Carter Shield event of the term was the keenly anticipated pop lacrosse. Bowland were drawn in group one along with bitter rivals Lonsdale, Furness, and County. Group two consisted of Cartmel, Pendle, Fylde, and Grizedale.
The first match of the day was between Lonsdale and Furness, with Lonsdale the clear favourites on paper. Lonsdale took the lead in the match just after half time, however Furness responded immediately while Lonsdale where at their most vulnerable. Lonsdale’s passing was wayward, their finishing was poor, and Furness truly merited the 1-1 draw through their enthusiasm and work rate alone.
County versus Bowland was the second game in group one. With Bowland always strong in every Carter Shield event and County missing one player, it looked like there could be only one winner. However as the majority of County’s players play lacrosse for the University, they ground out a 2-1 in spite of Bowland’s best efforts, demonstrating their superior passing and finishing.
Bowland demonstrated the same grit and determination in the third group game against Furness, to triumph 1-0, and pick up their first win of the day. County destroyed Lonsdale 4-1 in the fourth game of the day, at times toying with their opponents and on numerous occasions showboating with passes through legs and behind their own backs. It was an exhibition in how to play lacrosse, and how to finish opportunities by what was by far the best team present on the day.
County confirmed their first place finish in the group with a 3-0 win over Furness in the final game of the day without ever having to get out of first gear, as they seemingly strolled around the pitch before assuredly finishing their chances.
The final group game was of massive significance, as Lonsdale knew they had to win to stay in the competition, while Bowland only needed a draw to qualify for finals day in second place. Lonsdale took an early lead, before coming under a barrage of pressure for the remaining seven minutes, including one outstanding opportunity for Bowland, which saw their player beat the Lonsdale goalkeeper, only to hit the crossbar, before the ball bounced just away from the goal. Lonsdale hung on for what was a massive win, and sneaked through to finals day in second place, seeing Bowland crash out uncharacteristically in third place for only six Carter Shield points.
Pendle played Cartmel in the first game of group two, with Pendle having to play exceptionally well just to sneak an extremely late goal to win 2-1 after Cartmel had earlier equalised.
Grizedale struck an early blow to last year’s Carter Shield winners with an extremely important win in a very tight and tense encounter against Fylde, winning 1-0. Fylde responded immediately in their second game of the day, as they made light work against Cartmel, winning 2-0 spurning numerous clear cut opportunities along the way. However it must be said that it is the smallest the goals have ever been for Carter Shield lacrosse, which explains why it was such a low scoring day.
Grizedale were involved in yet another tight and scrappy affair as they clashed with local rivals Pendle in what was an enthralling 0-0 draw with both teams having chances a plenty, but with neither team a match for the clinical finishing of County.
Cartmel forced yet another draw, this time 2-2 against Grizedale, in what was an extremely exciting affair, which with last year’s goals could have easily finished 5-5. The draw was enough to see Grizedale qualify for finals day, and marked Cartmel’s departure from the competition in last place in their group with only two points from their three games.
The final game of the group marked a similar situation to the earlier match of Lonsdale versus Bowland, as Fylde needed to beat Pendle to stay in the tournament. However Pendle’ defence was too strong and never really looked like conceding as they held on for a 0-0 draw, which was enough to see Pendle go through in second place in their group behind Grizedale.
The semi-finals for pop lacrosse see group two winners Grizedale against group one runners up Lonsdale, with County versus Pendle the second semi-final. If County bring down the same five players again and maybe even a sixth it looks like the other teams left in the competition will be vying for a second place finish.
However anything can happen in the Carter Shield and it will be well worth coming down to watch Carter Shield finals day on the Sunday of Week Nine from 1pm, with the other three events – dodgeball, volleyball and women’s football – semi-finals also to take place on that day.