The Luxembourg men's lacrosse team, the Blacksmiths, claimed their first victory in the 2019/20 Belgian Lacrosse League on Sunday, having defeated Namur Knights 14-5 at Stade Boy Konen in Cessange.
Following a 12-4 loss to Opueye Foxes last month, the Blacksmiths faced stiff opposition from Namur Knights over the weekend. The last meeting between the two teams had ended in a 20-1 loss for Luxembourg. Under pressure to secure a win this time round, the Blacksmiths prepared well with a strong practice on Friday, followed by six ours of practice the next day with Coach R. Ingham Clark from the UK.
In the match itself, Luxembourg fielded a strong team, with some adjustments on defence where the move of Andrew Robillard (#21) to attack had to be compensated. In midfield, long sticks Johannes Kirch (#14) and Luxembourg international Yves Audrimont (#18) looked to close down Namur’s strong transition game, supported by the highly anticipated return of two way midfielder Oliver Griebel (#17). For his part, Patrick Audrimont (#6) played goal tender and Sören Salvatore (#77) was ready to play just in time for the match after having been ill on Friday and Saturday.
Namur fielded eleven players and could rely on most of its strong team, including strong scorer and midfield machine #32 Harry Owrid. The highly experienced Barbara Zelenay who had travelled from Stuttgart supported the four Belgian referees.
Luxembourg found the net early, with two goals in the first 70 seconds after two clean wins at face-off X by #77 S. Salvatore. Namur showed their competence and experience and equalised with two quick goals from #32 H.Owrid in the next three minute. Nevertheless, the Blacksmiths produced another two goal lead at 4-2 by the 11th minute and the score was 5-3 near the end of the second half.
Namur #2 M. Holmes then capitalised on some poor team defence, taking it to 5-4, just before the half time break. Coach Schmidt, having used both time-outs wanted to create the opportunity to break yet another momentum swing against hardworking but somewhat ineffective Blacksmiths. The referees ultimately disallowed the goal following a stick check, leaving the score 5-3 for the Blacksmiths at half time.
The Blacksmith’s third quarter was what Coach Scmidt has called "the single best quarter we played in our history". With strong performances at all ends, the Luxembourg team scored seven goals, ending the quarter 12-3 with the Blacksmiths in the lead. Goals from #32 H. Owrid and #2 M. Holmes brought the Namur Knights' score to 5, but with 18 minutes left to catch up and a strong performance from Luxembourg, the game ended 14-5 to Luxembourg.
Luxembourg Lacrosse President Pit Bingen commented: “Delighted with the win, impressed by everyone who played today, as such a cohesive unit. Big thanks to Namur who never stopped competing and won’t be a push-over at any point. We look forward to the next game”. Defender G. Ritts added that this might be "a big step towards learning how to win games".