York Men’s 1sts 5
Newcastle Men’s 2nds 2
HAVING SWEPT everything standing in front of them all season in their BUSA league, the York Men’s 1st XI hockey team went into this game knowing that victory would see them become champions of the BUSA Northern Conference Men’s 3B. Having been unbeaten in their nine games thus far this season, York came into the game justifiably high on confidence and bursting with plenty of spirit.
On a bright but freezing cold day, York showed everyone watching just why they have done so well this season. They were unquestionably the fastest team out of the blocks, and despite some strong Newcastle defending, were clearly a class apart.
It came as no surprise when they opened the scoring on eight minutes, and continual pressure saw them storm even further in front on 12 minutes to make it 2-0. After just 15 minutes of classy hockey they were 3-0 in front. Newcastle had barely got out of their own half, and it seemed that in the sporting sense at least, York were about to inflict a massacre on their hapless opponents. On twenty-five minutes a well coverted penalty meant that it was 4-0 and already it seemed that any doubt that York would fail to win the league, and relinquish their unbeaten run had already been easily dispelled.
Newcastle’s explanation for their disastrous start appeared to be that they were too ambitious in their somewhat attacking formation and it left the defence with little protection with the numerous York onslaughts that came their way.
However towards the end of the first half, Newcastle finally began to wake up and look a bit more lively. They began to put heavy pressure on the York defence with a string of short corners, and for the last ten minutes were the better side.
For the most part York defended fairly impressively but eventually the heavy pressure paid off and Newcastle grabbed a goal just before the break. Despite the positive end to the half for Newcastle, the evidence of the first half suggested that it would be an extremely tall order for them to end York’s unbeaten BUSA campaign and ruin their day.
Yet at the beginning of the second half saw them make some tentative steps towards doing just that. They picked up where they left off at the end of the first half and it was no surprise when they got another goal to make it 4-2. Suddenly it was the Newcastle team who had the edge in the game and for the first time that afternoon there was the possibility that Newcastle may get something out of the game and jeopardise York’s title hopes.
But any sniff they might have had of getting something from the game was soon to be wiped out as York began to regain the poise that they had shown at the beginning of the game and which had served them so well in the season thus far. York soon got back into the game and added another goal to make it 5-2, which was how it stayed.
Despite York’s passing and general play getting a little sloppy towards the end, the lead was never in doubt and they held on for a thoroughly deserved victory to cap off what will go down as an absolutely magnificent season. Winning six of their ten games, and drawing the other four, says it all. It may have been freezing for the spectators but all those there went home knowing they had witnessed something special. Sweeter still was the fact that they had pipped their bitter cross city rivals York St John for the title. Hopefully this can give York University an important psychological edge in their Varsity tie this week. Judging by this performance however, pure skill could prove to be more than enough.
Will Gibaud, Dan Westley (c), Andy Hook, Josh Beale, Sam Palmer, Billy Walsh, Ali Morgan, Alex Topsfield (sub Rich de Bolz), Ollie Dupenois, Ollie Hughes
Player of the Match:
An inspirational performance to inspire York to an easy victory