Worcester’s hats off to Hobbs

Worcester’s Jan Hobbs scored a hat-trick in the final of
the Lacrosse Cuppers to sew up victory against a Hertford side
which had shown massive promise in the preceding matches. Worcester had begun well and headed in to a 4-0 lead before
two goals in the final seconds gave the scoreline some
respectability from the point of view of the runnersup. The early stages of the event, taking place on Saturday in the
University Parks, had adopted a fairly baffling structure, but it
became clear that Worcester, with victories over Trinity and
Osler Green, were one of the major contenders. They then came up
against an LMH side which had beaten the same opposition by
scorelines of 4-0 and 2-1 respectively, and, having taken a 2-0
halftime lead, eased off to win 3-1 to book their place in the
semi-finals. Meeting them there were St Catz, who had been
fortunate to play just one group game, against Queen’s, and
win it 3-1. Catz fought back from a firstminute goal, but by half-time the
play was surrounding their goal and a disallowed strike, as well
as two well-worked moves which created openings and went close to
extending the lead, showed that Worcester were underwhelmed by
the 1-0 half-time scoreline. An early goal in the second half was, therefore, justly
deserved and by the end it was 3-0. However, Catz will have rued
the fact that they missed two open goals in the second half, and
ended the game with a minute of intense pressure. Hertford’s route to the semifinals culminated with a 6-0
thrashing of Magdalen, who had also lost 1-0 to New College. They
looked awesome, though perhaps partly due to the poverty of the
opposition. Their third goal, scored just before half-time, was a
particular highlight as the ball was switched across the field
and in to the middle at devastating pace. Queen’s had also found a way through to the semi-finals
despite the loss to Catz and the tie proved to be a hugely
physical affair, with one incident seeing a player from either
side sent off. Queen’s began strongly but Hertford grabbed a
goal before the break to lead 1-0. However, from the kick-off Queen’s surged impressively
down the left and a cross was turned in to the net for an
equaliser which momentarily stunned the Hertford side. Yet after
a Queen’s foul led to the sendings off, Hertford scored from
the restart. The game remained heated, with the sent-off players voicing
their unhappiness on the sidelines and adding to a stream of
expletives. Two good chances for a Hertford third went wide
before the final whistle confirmed their place in the final. The pitches were switched for the final, which Worcester began
with a purpose. Hertford, though dogged in defence early on, were
reduced to long passes which were not particualrly effective and,
as the pressure built, the ball was played in to the inside right
channel where Becky Waller, presented with a chance at goal, made
no mistake. Hertford came back, but a chance similar to that seen at the
other end was spurned before Hobbs was found close to the goal.
Having wrong-footed a defender challenging him, he found the net
from a static position. Of the seven minutes in the second half, the first six were
completely dominated by Worcester, and an early goal from Hobbs
which seemed to kill Hertford’s spirit was followed by a
clinical finish with two minutes to go – though the distance
of the shot was disputed. However, Worcester’s all-round play had peaked for the
final. Hobbs was cheered with every touch and a couple of
consolation goals did nothing to dampen his side’s joy at
the final whistle.ARCHIVE: 1st week TT 2004