Tim Davenport: Draw helped banish Exeter demons
Team Bath Buccs 1st XI player Tim Davenport looks back on a hard-earned point in Devon...
Saturday's match at Exeter was the type of fixture you wish you could play every week. The sun was out, there was a big crowd and there were two good hockey teams engaged in a ding-dong battle for 70 minutes.
On reflection, 3-3 was probably a fair result. Both teams had spells where they dominated the game and both had chances towards the end of the match where they could have scored a winner.
Exeter is traditionally a place where we have struggled to pick up points. I must have been there ten times with the Buccaneers and the university side and I can't ever recall a time where we've returned to Bath with three points.
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To call them our bogey side would be unfair, though, as it would imply that we're often the better team and somehow, through bad luck, we've failed to register wins against them.
It's just a place where, for some reason or another, we struggle to impose ourselves on the opposition. Exeter are a good unit and when we go there we know we'll come up against a side who will work hard for 70 minutes and will play slick, attacking hockey.
It was very refreshing therefore on Saturday that we played without our usual 'Exeter-angst'. And although we gifted our opponents an early two-goal lead for the second week running, we showed a belief and a confidence that I haven't experienced from a Bath side at Exeter previously.
Like us, Exeter have had a big turnover in players over the summer and I imagine the line-ups on Saturday would have shown few survivors from either side from the 6-0 drubbing they handed us at the play-offs back in May.
Because of this we identified Saturday as an ideal opportunity to bury our demons. And while a win would have done this more convincingly than a draw, our performance was hugely encouraging.