Starting our academic year later than most other universities always makes the first week of BUCS a challenge, but having again won more than 50% of our first week of BUCS fixtures - you'd never be able to tell.
Read on for the highlights from the first full week of BUCS action.
WEEK 1 HIGHLIGHTS:
Starting with the most recent of our fixtures, Cricket Men's 1st made the trip to UEL on Saturday for the first round of BUCS Indoor Cricket Matches, where they would play 5 times in a day.
Essex started the day in great form; bowling Goldsmiths out for just 22 inside 4 overs in their 1st match, with early wickets from Daniel Thacker and Anujan Thiru. Miles Clayton and Dan Thacker then chased the total down in just 1.4 overs. 1-0 for the day.
Up next were hosts UEL 1st's. Essex lost the toss and bowled first. A spectacular run-out from Anujan Thiru alongside some quick wickets in the middle order gave Essex hope, but UEL finished on a strong 115. Essex then struggled to get going in reply, losing key wickets and finished 45 runs short. 1-1.
UEL 2nd's were the next opponents for Essex, who won the toss and batted first. Despite losing wicketkeeper Henry Hodgson to injury, Essex hit a big score of 136 with good contributions from Dan, Miles, Bayley and Anujan (iwho hit a remarkable 34 runs from the last over). In reply, early wickets and sharp field from Essex kept the pressure on the hosts, who despite being quickly left to their last wicket never gave up, eventually losing by 25 runs. 2 wins and a loss so far for Essex on the day.
Game 4 saw Essex bat first and after a composed 25* from Dan fellow opener Miles lost his wicket and was given a big send off by the loud Greenwich opening bowler. Seth Malick helped pushed Essex on to 90 with 2 overs to go, but a disappointing final 2 overs meant Essex would have to bowl well to win. A back injury to Essex fast bowler Dan Thacker meant he resorted to spin in order to complete the allotted overs which proved to be a master tactic as the Greenwich batsman could not get to terms with Dan's height and bounce. Part-time keeper Miles, teamed up with Seth, to take the final wicket with a great stumping to dismiss the 'Last Man Standing'. Essex win, 3-1 for the day.
The 5th and final game was against Imperial, where Essex bowled first after losing the toss. The Essex bowlers were fatigued after the immediate turnover from the last game, finding it hard to click into place. However, after the first wicket fell the bowlers got into their groove with Bayley and Seth using their slower balls to good use to dismiss Imperials batsman. Dan's off spin kept the run rate down and a couple of run outs, including a good nutmeg from Bayley at the death meant Imperial finished on 99. In reply, Essex lost an early wicket after Bayley was asked to open the batting but this allowed Miles and Dan to both set up the run chase with Miles scoring an important 25*. After a couple of wickets fell, it was up to Anujan and debutant Bronson Carrasco to get us over the line. In a nerve racking finish, the two Essex boys got stuck in and scored sensibly to take us home and leave Essex with 4 wins and 1 defeat after the first round of regional fixtures - enjoy the celebrations!
Sub Zero anyone?
In the first of 4 fixtures for UEFC on Wednesday, Men's Football 1st made the trip to London to play Imperial 1st. A strong start was needed ahead of a promising campaign for the Blades - a new kit and some fresh faces meant that feelings were positive pre game. The Blades sat in for the first 20 but were not helped when attacking outlet Pablo Chaves was forced to depart with a knee injury. Despite moving the ball well, Essex found themselves 2-0 down at half-time after a couple of quick fire goals.
Early in the second half, great work by Essex debutants Steel and Gough prevented a 3rd goal for Imperial after a goal line scramble which would have put the game to bed. The momentum swung in favour of the Blades, who pulled a goal back when Lunniss scored a peach of a half volley into the top corner, leaving the Imperial goalkeeper no chance. Imperial attempts to break the game down with tactical fouling were not enough as Essex equalised when Spiteri drove in a neat finish into the bottom corner, leveling the match at 2-2. With the introduction of Biyak up top, the Blades could smell a victory and it was Biyak who found the composure late on, after a perfectly weighted ball from that man Lunniss, to give Essex all 3 points in their first game of the new campaign. Final score: Imperial 2-3 Essex. MotM: C.Lunniss.
Men's Football 1st pose in their new kit before their excellent 3-2 win away at Imperial 1st.
On a very successful day for the club, Men's Football 4th opened their accounts for the season with a 3-1 win away at local rivals Anglia Ruskin, having been level at half-time. Men's Football 3rd also made the perfect start to the season, a 4-1 win at home to UCL courtesy of goals by Aiden (2), Nidal and James. And an unbeaten day for the club was capped when Men's Football 5th team (back this year by popular demand) gained a point against Royal Holloway following a 1-1 draw, only being denied all 3 points by a late, deflected equaliser.
Men's Hockey 2nd, fresh from their promotion heroics last year started life in Tier 4 at home to Greenwich 1st. A slow start to the game soon picked up as Essex applied pressure and contained Greenwich in their third for majority of the first half. The game took a turn when Greenwich, against the run of play, scored just before the first half. Essex’s frustrations started to show through the crunching tackles being made by Harvey Grew. Half time: Essex 0-1 Greenwich.
As the second half began, Essex came out with a vengeance and began transferring the ball from left to right. The constant pressure eventually caused Essex to have multiple back-to-back short corners from which Joe C equalised. 1-1. Soon followed another goal for Essex with Joe N placing the ball in the bottom corner. 2-1. This didn’t stop as Essex continued searching for that third goal to see out the game. Greenwich began having possession of the ball and a high press as a last ditch attempt to equalise, but Greg was there every time to stop Greenwich in their tracks. The game was seen out by Essex to clinch the 3 points with a well-deserved 2-1 win.
Man of the Match – Joe C. Honourable mention for Carl, Essex keeper, who had a great performance.
Lacrosse Men's 1st made light work of their first game in Tier 1 after winning promotion last year, smashing Portsmouth 1st 13-2. Essex goals were shared across 6 members of the team, including 4 for captain Alex Mickhael and 2 for ex-Portsmouth student Barnie Lyons.
Lacrosse Men's 1st following their 13-2 win against Portsmouth 1st; their first match since winning promotion to Tier 1. Captain and Man of the Match Alex Mickhael scored 4 of the Blades goals.
Men's Squash 1st also recorded a big win, cruising to a 5-0 victory at home against LSE 2nd as they look to make a challenge for the South East Tier 2 title
SUMMARY OF BUCS RESULTS – WEEK 1 - 2019/20
Winning Percentage: 51.6%
Essex achieved an away fixture winning percentage of 53.3%.
In 2018/19, Essex recorded a winning percentage of 58% from 17 fixtures.
Away from BUCS...
We welcomed a huge number of new members to our Sports Clubs! Freshers Fair took place on Saturday 5th October on the University Squares, offering new and existing students to chance to meet and join various Essex Blades Sports Clubs. It was busy but enjoyable day, and for the first time in a while - it didn't rain!
The Essex Flames displaying stunts at Freshers Fair 2019.
And a final good luck message to our Men's Water Polo team and all 3 of our Futsal teams who start their BUCS season this weekend!