With the rain lashing down, a pitch on the far side of a bleak park and a 30-man Welwyn squad drilling themselves to oblivion, there was an initial lack of fire to leave the comfort of the Compton-mobile for this encounter.
But news that half of the distant trainers were actually the 1st team whose game was cancelled lifted spirits and Colin Byrne lead the charge to the safety of the changing rooms.
Spencer travelled with a ten-man squad complete with colds, breathing difficulties and muscles-twangs that were about to be fine-tuned by the icy winds of Welwyn.
The numbers game levelled out with the ten-man Purple Power taking on just the 15 home team players and their assorted coaches, trainers and supporters and Welwyn grabbed the initiative with early domination that was only stemmed by a superb string of saves from the Bryne-meister.
The quarter finished one each but Spencer started to rise to the challenge and went 3-1 up on the back of a series of fast breaks that alleviated concerted Welwyn pressure. The home team levelled it at half-time but Spencer were playing the more fluent lacrosse.
The pressure continued in the second half but great defence and Colin’s excellent shot-stopping kept Spencer in the game and the teams traded strikes to 5-5 as Ben McLellan and Ibs al Souss grabbed important goals.
But Welwyn started to dominate face-off possession and the ceaseless demands on the midfield began to tell as they took a 7-5 then an 8-6 lead.
Another promising performance but Spencer still need to take a patience pill when attacking and a few hurried possessions lead to turn-overs that gave the home team the time and confidence to pull clear to 10-6. A goal a piece in the final minute confirmed Welwyn’s superiority but they freely admitted they were flattered by the margin. It was only the lack of manpower and a bit of composure that made the difference.
Net-minder Bryne was imperious throughout and all phases had their moments. A measure of the team’s great attitude is the collective feeling of anger that the points slipped away and a determination to reverse the result in the home fixture.
With only cold showers on offer, it was a quick departure from Planet Welwyn and its Arctic weather with Mr Byrne leading the way suitably dressed in shorts and flip-flops…what’s that saying about goalkeepers and madness?
Man of the Match: Colin Byrne
Quarter Scores: 1-1 / 3-3 / 8-6 / 12-7
Scorers: Ben McLellan 3, Ibs al Souss 2, Danny Buckland, Peter Compton