Newquay began their second campaign with a repeat of last seasons visit to Bath. There was a feeling of unfinished business after going so close in the previous encounter. After an intense pre season training, hopes were high.
A strong Newquay squad traveled to Bath. Boosted by the presence of the returning Ben Preston, new player Alpar, and youth team graduate Hauke Moll.
This positivity was short lived, as Bath came out of the traps fast. Taking advantage of indifferent goalkeeping, and off target finishing.
Fired by their offensive catalyst, an Egyptian national player, Bath sprinted to a 6-1 lead. Only Ben Preston was on target for Newquay in the early stages.
Botar on fire
Newquay finally kicked into gear, inspired by Adolf Botar who’s A-game caused problems in the Bath defence. Training moves began to create space for circle runners Kev Welsh and Paul Beasley.
A summer of Sandball was paying dividends as Newquay converted impressive fast breaks. Eddie Percy-Hughes, Kev Welsh and Hauke Moll were slicing though a backtracking Bath defence.
With Tristan Mullar-Foster bossing as always, and Geoff Muskett stepping up in goal, Newquay’s back line was now solid. With the deficit down to 4 and half time imminant, Hauke Moll received a second two minute suspension. Leaving Newquay to hang on until the break.
After what could have been a disaster score line, 17-13 meant there was a chance. Four goals in Handball is not much and can be turned round in minutes.
Second half fight
In the second period Jürgen Koenen was firing on all cylinders, and Alpar’s left arm sent balls catapulting from 9metres. Goals were now coming from all over the field, with Lee Springett, Paul Beasley, and Eddie Percy-Hughes getting in on the act.
The moment the game changed
Pressure from Percy-Hughes and Beasley put Bath’s defence into turmoil. In a moment of panic, their goalkeeper received a two minute suspension for holding on to the ball before a Newquay free throw.
Now was their chance. With Bath down to 6 and with a stand-in goalie, Newquay had their tails up and looked to press.
Failure to capitalise
However, in their haste and enthusiasm, Newquay lost their shape. They stopped playing the fast passing that had got them back in the game. Consequently Newquay failed to capitalise, loosing their two minute numerical advantage 2-1.
This failure set the tone for the rest of the half. Bath’s star player was able to up his energy level and fired the team to an unassailable lead.
After a close fought game, Bath had finally broken through, ending with a 10 goal margin. With their Egyptian talisman scoring nearly half the goals.
Taking the positives
Positives can be taken from the game. A year ago, had Newquay come up against such a strong team the defeat would have been far worse. The fact that the game could have gone either way is a strong indicator that the team is on the right path.
The important thing to focus on now is how to exploit key moments and opportunities in games. Like when the Bath goalkeeper went off, taking advantage of this situation could have swung the match. Newquay need to keep their heads and play to their strengths. This will come with more game time and experience.
Next up, Poole at home on the 23rd November.