Wednesday 12 November
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It was another red-letter afternoon for sport at the University of York today, with a packed programme of fixtures both here on campus and across the north of England. The day proved largely successful, with a resounding win for the men’s rugby team, a battling performance for the netball firsts and a thrilling comeback by the women’s football side. Nouse wraps up the main stories to emerge from the day.
There’s only one place to begin, and that’s with the men’s rugby firsts, who hammered Huddersfield 105-0 in a BUCS League masterclass on a sun-drenched 22 Acres. The team ran in seventeen tries without response, with Lionel Owusu, Nick Brown and Peter Spanker all claiming hat-tricks amidst a total of eleven players who got themselves on the scoresheet. Fly half Rob Grant kicked 22 points in a performance which crossed that redefined the boundaries of embarrassment, although captain Mike Callis was disillusioned with the spectacle, calling the run-out ‘a waste of time’ in anticipation of a tough contest with rivals Leeds Trinity and All Saints in the BUCS Cup next week. Meanwhile, the men’s third team opened their points account in the league with a 66-5 thumping of Hull University seconds.
There was again BUCS disappointment for the men’s football firsts, who went down 1-0 on home territory to Sheffield Hallam and are still searching for their first league points, a contrast to their hot form in the Northern Universities League. There were better fortunes for the seconds, who cruised past Newcastle seconds 4-1 and the thirds, who claimed an impressive 2-1 victory away at Sunderland. The fourths were involved in an extraordinary match at home to Leeds Trinity and All Saints, eventually losing 3-10. The first three sides now prepare to welcome Leeds Met Carnegie in the NUL this Saturday (Kick-offs 2pm).
The women’s firsts staged a brilliant fightback to emerge victorious in an epic encounter with Leeds University seconds by a 4-3 scoreline. Trailing 2-1 with only twenty minutes remaining and with only a Caroline Braskeri strike to show for their endeavour, York dug deep to salvage the game courtesy of goals from woman-of-the-match Sarah Milner (2) and Malan Dunga.
In today’s netball, York survived the aggressive and attritional tactics of Teesside to win 31-25 in a gripping match. The hosts led after the first quarter, thanks to the reliable shooting of player-of-the-match Sarah Pycroft and Sarah Fisher, an advantage they never let go despite some closely-fought periods. Cesca Dessain continued her excellent form in the centre of the court, while Captain Tess Olsen patrolled the defence skilfully, despite some rough challenges from the north-east visitors. The second team also beat their Teesside counterparts, 39-22 to preserve their excellent start to the season, with outstanding performers Camille Hampton, the skipper, and Lorna Davis-Colley.
There were mixed fortunes in the hockey, with the men’s firsts losing 3-1 across the city at York St. John, as their stuttering start to the campaign continues. The men’s seconds, in contrast, hope that today’s 5-1 victory at home to Sheffield University fifths will provide the impetus to alter their fortunes. Goalscorers on the Astroturf were Will Fresson, Rich Morton, Joe Lancaster, Matt North and Gordon Harrison. The women’s team were outmanoeuvred by a talented Durham side as they too seek a first victory of the year, the visitor’s goals being scored by Kathie Astin and Steph Thompson.
The university lacrosse team enjoyed a fine afternoon, with the men’s side easing to a 13-2 win over Durham for their first win of the season. There were outstanding displays in attack by Richard Ramsbottom and Krishna Balan, as well as by Ben Robinson in goal. The women’s team find themselves in a remarkably rich vein of form and this continued today with a 23-0 romp over Sheffield Hallam, coming off the back of a 25-0 thrashing of Keele a few weeks ago.
There was controversy at the women’s fencing as York recorded a deceptively narrow 91-86 victory over Bradford University. Having demonstrated their prowess in both the foil and epée disciplines, York were left with a bitter aftertaste as technical problems relating to the electronic scoring equipment necessitated the forfeit of some 45 points to their opponents. The men’s excellent start to the year came to an abrupt halt away to Leeds following a 115-131 reverse this afternoon.
There would be similar bad luck for the women’s volleyball team away at Sheffield University, going down 3-1 and for the women’s badminton, who were soundly beaten 8-0 across the steel city at Sheffield Hallam. In stark contrast, the men’s firsts trampled on Leeds seconds by an identical whitewash scoreline to preserve their winning sequence, which now stands at four matches. Up in Newcastle, the women’s squash team produced an excellent away performance, winning 3-1.
The women’s ultimate Frisbee team competed in the Indoor Regionals tournament in Liverpool this week, finishing in a very respectable eleventh place overall under the stewardship of Deborah Sharpe. They won three and lost three of their fixtures against teams raised from ultimate clubs at other universities, including Sheffield, Birmingham and Newcastle.