Stags battled to victory in the Domini Fox Memorial Cup despite injury setbacks and absences.
The side beat local rivals Guildford Inferno 40-30 to take victory, with a solid defensive display securing the win. The tournament, in memory of former player Domini Fox, saw 14 teams and players from 6 nations take part. Player of the tournament Richard Latouche inspired Southampton to victory in an all British final.
For the past two years the final has been won by Bury Kings, both times seeing off Swiss side Piranyon Origin in the final. However, both failing to get out of the group, it was Southampton and Guildford waving the British flag aloft.
After a round robin stage, both Guildford and Southampton had finished second in their respective groups, joined in the semi-finals by group winners Switzerland’s Geneva Eagles and Portsmouth Ducks. In the semi-finals Guildford defeated Portsmouth 43-40 in a pulsating match that went to extra time, before Southampton saw off Geneva 45-40.
The final was played at a frenetic pace, with the two sides both doing well in defence despite possessing fierce offensive line-ups. Southampton had to make do without star shooter Stuart Blakemore after he suffered an ankle ligament injury earlier in the day. Defender Scott Mills returned to strengthen the defence and add power to the attack but the team was also without shooter Sam Scott.
Guildford possessed the more potent attacking line-up but Southampton’s all-round defence proved too strong, eventually winning by a comfortable 10 point margin, that perhaps did not do the Guildford players justice. Star man Latouche said:
“Winning the Domini fox tournament was something we all wanted. After the disappointment of losing to a great Portsmouth side in the group stages, reaching the final left us with a great sense of achievement. To win the tournament was rewarding and demonstrated how our hard work is paying off. We look forward to building on this success in the forthcoming season.”
As for picking up the coveted player of the tournament, La Touche said: “I was very proud when awarded player of the tournament and it was a great honour, as I did not expect it. “I hope to build on this performance and become even better.”