It was somewhere midway through the second minute that this game turned into a training exercise for the University of York as they strode to an easy victory against Sunderland seconds in the BUCS Cup netball today.
Having comprehensively beaten Sunderland’s first team earlier in the season, there was an air of the inevitable surrounding the game, but the poverty of their opposition’s play will have surprised even York.
The the home team girls quickly found their usual rhythm, hitting seven points in the first three minutes, and they never looked back. But if the truth be told, Sunderland couldn’t have put up less of a fight if they had stayed at home: to say that their passing was wayward at times would be to lie through the teeth of euphemism.
Goal Attack Sarah Pycroft and Goal Shooter Sarah Fisher once again demonstrated the excellent understanding they have developed over the last year or so and the points rained in. By the half it was 44-1 and, when play was abandoned in midway through the third quarter due to a serious injury to a Sunderland player, York were 55-2 up and cruising. At that stage of the game, the abandonment served as nothing more than to save Sunderland the embarassment of the possibility of a 100 point loss.
“To be honest it was getting a little harsh on their girls,” said York captain Tess Olsen after the game. “But although it may not have been the most useful of preparation for us because they didn’t really pose much of a threat or even look like challenging us, it was a chance to practice our set plays and develop our play.”
The speed with which the team has gelled this term showed today, with the great balance between old-hands and freshers standing out. Cesca Dessain once again looking utterly assured at Wing Attack supporting the profilic ‘Sarahs’ around the goal and, despite having little to do, Olsen and Katie Brunskill provided a steadying influence from Goal and Wing Defence respectively.
“The lack of a preseason for York teams has meant we’ve only just started to play at the level we know we can and now we are beginning to look really strong. “We have two freshers in Jenni Williams (Goal Keeper) and Cesca new to the team and three that have been promoted from last year’s seconds so the integration has been superb.”
York’s performance in the cup last year left a little to be desired but Olsen is hoping that with the team now in excellent form, they can make amends this time around.
“Although the league is obviously our priority, we know we have a fantastic opportunity in the cup this year and are really committed to making good progress.”
The firsts came into the game on the back of some fine league form, with the team sitting second in BUCS Northern Conference 4B. A loss against Huddersfield firsts has been the only blot on the copy book in an otherwise winning start to the season.
“We can’t wait for the return match at our place because I think this time we’ll know how to play against them and should be able to win” said Olsen anticipating of what could be a huge title decider next February.
It was a successful day all-round for netball as the seconds beat Sheffield Hallam thirds 39-21, putting in an excellent display to make the next round.
The firsts will play the winners of Bradford seconds against Teeside firsts, while the seconds will go up against either Leeds seconds or MMU Cheshire seconds in the third round.