The Edinburgh City Gentlemen opened their 2014/15 season with a friendly against the visiting Newcastle Knights.
The Knights were clearly unaffected by their long journey north that morning, as they won the opening face-off after a quick scrum and fired a hard shot past the ear of Edinburgh’s goalkeeper to go up 1-0 less than fifteen seconds into the match. The Gentlemen responded quickly, however. Edinburgh’s defense stopped the next Newcastle drive, and on the ensuing possession Greg Scott rolled inside the Newcastle defense and tied the game at 1-1. After the initial tallies both defenses settled down and set the tone for what would turn into a relatively low-scoring game. The score remained even until late into the 1st quarter, when Alistair Lee dodged through two Newcastle defenders to give Edinburgh a 2-1 lead. With little time left in the quarter Newcastle’s face-off again showed its worth and got another quick shot, but Edinburgh’s goalkeeper Devin Oliver came up with a big save, and on the ensuing transition Bret Retallick fired a shot into the top corner of the net as the whistle sounded to increase Edinburgh’s lead to 3-1 after the first.
Newcastle proved to be unfazed by Edinburgh’s late surge, however, and dominated the 2nd quarter. Five minutes into the 2nd a long clearing pass from deep in the Knight’s zone caught the Gentlemen’s defense sleeping, allowing Newcastle to reduce their deficit to one. Later in the quarter, a series of quick dodges from Newcastle’s attack gave them a 1-on-1 with Edinburgh’s goalie, and the Knights easily put in the equalizer. Less than a minute later it looked like the Knights had taken the lead on another quick goal, but the shooter was ruled to be in the crease and the goal disallowed, so the 1st half ended in a 3-3 draw.
Both defenses looked strong in the 3rd quarter, and made several key stops on each end. Only Edinburgh’s Marty Crawford managed to break the deadlock, after intercepting an errant Newcastle clearing pass and burying a shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The 4th quarter made up for the lack of earlier scoring. Bret Retallick kickstarted Edinburgh’s offense early in the quarter, and with the help of good off-ball movement by Great Scott and Scott Swan put in three unanswered goals to bring the Gentlemen’s lead up to 7-3. The Knights weren’t done, though. They kept the pressure up throughout the quarter, and took advantage of lapses in the Edinburgh defense to put in three goals of their own as the game wound to an end. Newcastle’s strong face-off middies gave them a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Edinburgh’s Josh Schuwer frustrated his old team’s hopes with a strong stick check, and the game ended in a 7-6 victory for Edinburgh.
Special mention for Edinburgh goes out to Chris Newton and Ed, who acquitted themselves well in their first ever lacrosse games. Thanks again to Newcastle for an excellent start to the season. We look forward to the return fixture later in the season!