The game was very nearly called off early on Saturday morning due to frozen ground but by 2pm, the pitch had softened and was in great condition even if the temperature was still close to zero.
Hitchin are never easy opponents and with Spencer fielding only 11 men, Saturday was not going to be an exception.
The possession was shared evenly in the 1st quarter but Andrew Hopkinsonis pace in the Hitchin midfield caught Spencer by surprise on two occasions and Hitchin were 0-2 up at quarter time. Hopkinson scored another in the 2nd quarter and Spencer were looking desperate until youngster Josh Dodds scored his first goal for the 1st team just before half-time.
The goal, and a stern half-time team talk, kicked Spencer into gear and they raised their game in the second half. With some of the more senior players missing, it was up to others to step up and make things happen for themselves. Fortunately they did. Joshis goal gave him the confidence to get stuck in and he played some of his best lacrosse this season in the second half. Jamie Stagg also upped his game and got physical in the midfield, winning Spencer some important possession. In defence, Spencer were missing two of their starting line-up and Fozzie had done the decent thing and picked up a short stick to make up numbers in attack, so youngsters Ben and Rupert also had more responsibility and played a solid game.
The second half was ugly lacrosse but everyone got stuck in and did what they had to do. Moose won nearly 100% of the face-offs, Rob Arnott picked up Hopkinson in the midfield and neutralised him and Conrad Olson made several big saves in goal. Matt Vetter controlled the pace of the game through the clears, won plenty of ground balls and scored a vital goal. Mark Jones soaked up plenty of pressure in attack and Will Walker gave the rest of the defence something to worry about with his drives to the goal.
The hard work paid off as Hitchin only managed to score one more goal in the second half and Spencer slowly clawed back the deficit and managed to take the lead with about 10 minutes left in the game. This made for a tense ending to the game, with both teams making mistakes and missing chances to score.
This was an important win for Spencer after a series of losses. If they play the rest of the season with the same effort and determination that they showed in the second half, things will improve drastically. The good mood in the bar after the game was lifted further when we heard that Blues had lost to Reading. The league is wide open again.