Despite making an electric start, cruising into a 5-1 lead within four minutes, Liverpool John Moores University survived a late Bath comeback to run out 40-39 winners in a compelling final.
There was a vociferous atmosphere for the teams, with both sides bringing along a good amount of support as both seemed to be thriving on the experience. Bath began to mount a fight back as the first period neared its end, pinning John Moores back to 6-4, before an attacking burst from the Liverpool outfit saw them wrestle back control.
Some slick and fluid interplay saw them dominate possession, bagging six quick goals – four of which to their Goal Attack – to end the first period with a commanding 12-4 lead.
The second period settled into a very tit-for-tat exchange, with both teams trading blows and adding three points each to their tallies to make it 15-7 with four minutes gone. LJMU seemed to have more in the tank than their Welsh opponents, opening up a ten point lead with consummate ease at the halfway point of the second quarter. But Bath were still niggling away, stifling their opponents and halving their arrears at 22-17 with three minutes of the period remaining. They had the bit between their teeth, producing some good defensive organisation for the first time in the match to give them more opportunities in attack, adding a further two goals to their tally to make it 22-19 to LJMU at half time.
Two more quick goals at the start of the third saw Bath close the gap to just two points at 23-21, before another LJMU onslaught saw three goals in one and a half minutes to keep their noses in front at 26-21.
The game was becoming stretched as it reached the end of the third period, both sides adding to their tallies, with Bath getting to within two points of their opponents at 31-29 before a late goal from LJMU left things at 32-29 going to the final 15 minutes. Bath started the final period in feisty fashion, showing great determination to take the lead at 33-32 with eleven minutes to go, the first time they had been ahead in the match.
Things were tight – with neither side letting much go in the defensive third – but it was Bath who were finishing with more purpose, opening up a 36-33 lead with six minutes remaining.
LJMU weren’t finished, reducing their arrears to within one point on two separate occasions, before an injury timeout gave them a chance to regroup and it worked, turning their deficit round to go into a 40-39 lead with seconds remaining, which they held onto to secure a memorable win.
Congratulations to both teams. Who will be the BUCS Champions tomorrow?