On a damp, gloomy and generally uninspiring afternoon, York’s sports teams produced a number of performances to warm the soul on Wednesday. In its weekly BUCS League wrap, Nouse toasts victories in hockey, rugby union and volleyball below, also be sure to take some time to watch YSTV’s highlights show – the perfect distraction from the cold outside.
Today’s starting point is the men’s hockey, and a disappointing afternoon for the first team, despite a hugely improved performance against old foes Durham thirds. The two sides met for the second time within the space of seven days, York looking to atone for their demoralising 4-0 BUCS Cup defeat with the advantage of home Astroturf. However, the first half suggested more of the same as a rampant Durham side opened up a three goal lead and the home defence swamped by persistent attacks. An inspirational half-time evaluation changed the game and goals from Andy Harris and Nicolai Bode narrowed the deficit, but despite some late pressure, York could not salvage the match.
Meanwhile, the seconds team crashed to a 4-0 defeat at Sheffield University fourths, a new experiment with formations proving fruitless on this occasion as they continue to search for the kick-start their season requires. The women’s firsts also fell short at Sheffield, although the 3-0 scoreline somewhat flattered the home team. Two goals within the opening stages meant York faced an uphill challenge, though they did demonstrate some skill in periods of encouraging play in the second period and should have taken more out of the game. The seconds were a glimmer of light in an otherwise gloomy day, winning 1-0 at Leeds Met courtesy of a Sarah Cadwallader goal two minutes from time.
Following a couple of frustrating weeks, which saw a distinctly non-challenging rout of Huddersfield and a BUCS Cup postponement against Leeds Trinity, the men’s rugby side found themselves well and truly in a battle today. They emerged with valour and glory from a tense match away to Leeds University, winning 8-6 thanks to a Tim Walker try and a decisive Rob Grant conversion. The team now sit well placed to make a promotion push from Northern Conference 2B and start clear favourites to overcome the challenge of Northumbria fourths in the next stage of the cup.
The second team lost 14-10 across the city against York St. John firsts and the thirds went down 24-12 against Sheffield Hallam.
Back on the 22 Acres, the women’s rugby team slipped to a 17-0 defeat against Sheffield Hallam, a reality check following a good start to the season in BUCS Northern Conference 2B. One try in the first half and another couple in the second proved sufficient, York’s cause not helped by an injury to influential player Emma Cooper shortly before half-time. The team will be hoping she will have regained her fitness in time for next Wednesday’s difficult-looking away trip to Newcastle University as their season finally gets into full swing.
The men’s football firsts found themselves in a gripping encounter away at Sheffield University and would consider themselves unfortunate to come away with ‘only’ a 3-3 draw. A free-kick from in-form midfielder Tom Wilson, a second, one-on-one goal by returning striker Dom O’Shea and an 85th minute third from Ian McKellow had given York a 3-1 lead, but a late opposition bombardment brought Sheffield an undeserved point. The team take a break from Northern Universities League action this weekend, before welcoming Teesside next week. The second fixture away at Sunderland was cancelled.
In the other men’s football today, the men’s thirds were left infuriated as Sunderland held them goalless on home territory, despite wasting a host of clear-cut openings. Despite the stalemate, there was a definite positive in the display of Ali Laird, while Adam Leadbeater’s set-pieces proved a constant threat to the away defence. Stu Brown bagged a brace as the fourth team eased to a 4-0 win away to Teesside in the day’s final fixture. No such luck for the women’s team, who were comfortably defeated 3-0 away to Newcastle seconds today.
The men’s basketball team finally claimed that elusive second league win of the season, beating Newcastle seconds 74-40 with an energetic and pressing defensive game decisive. There was a particularly fine display by Marcus Johansson, who was prolific from long-range, and York were excellent value for their victory.
In an early bellwether for Varsity 2009, York’s netballers cemented their second position in BUCS Northern Conference 4B through a 29-12 victory at York St. John, who remain rooted to the foot of the table. The second string lost 6-29 in the North-East against Newcastle while the thirds found themselves in a tight match against Newcastle fourths, going down 38-43.
The men’s volleyball team won in similarly spectacular style, dominating from start to finish in beating amidst a testing week for the team, with play around the net particularly strong despite a slight height disadvantage.
The women’s volleyball side claimed their first win of the season in a thrilling 3-2 win over Bradford in the day’s late match. Captain Lisa Breitschuh was inspirational in nudging the team over the finishing line in a nail-biting final set after individual errors had earlier allowed their opponents back into contention.
York’s lacrosse team produced a valiant showing in defeat at home to Sheffield University, a side containing three England under-19 internationals. Despite the 3-10 score against one of the country’s most feared teams, there were many positives, with two goals from Captain Harry Collins and a third from Richard Ramsbottom. Even better was York’s defensive performance, which kept the score down to 3-2 after the first quarter and keeping a clean sheet in the third. York remain in mid-table and have enjoyed some good spells of form in the season to date.
In the badminton this afternoon, York firsts defeated Durham 5-3 in an important top-of-the-table clash, showing consistency in both the singles and doubles formats. After Edward Chuck was defeated in the opening rubber, York stormed into an unassailable 5-1 advantage through their doubles prowess; pairs Will Wiseman/William Clarke and Ricky Kanabar/John Choi winning their matches. In entertaining style, Duy Hung Nguyen secured the victory, meaning Durham’s late revival came too little, too late.
There were again mixed fortunes for the University’s other badminton teams, with the men’s seconds experiencing defeat against Leeds Met Carnegie on the road. James Hor found himself up against the England’s 19th ranked singles player, but despite this performed valiantly in a 21-11, 21-17 defeat. Nevertheless, he bounced back to win his second singles rubber, with Tom Gatenby and Alex Chu successful in their doubles match but the home side proved too strong, winning 6-2.
The third team crushed dismal Bradford 8-0, with the highlight of a resounding win being Mohil Dutta’s 21-0 set victory en route to victory in one of the singles matches.
Other result from Wednesday included a brilliant victory for the men’s fencing team, who saw off the feared challenge of Bangor 127-106, with strong performances in the sabre and foil disciplines offsetting an early loss in the epee. The golf team shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw at Sunderland and remain chasing their first win of season with three games played. There were victories for the women’s squash team, 4-0 against Northumbria, and the table tennis team, who also demolished Northumbria, 15-2 this time.
In their last outing at the weekend, the octopush ‘A’ team turned on the style to beat defending league and cup champions Jesmond 10-5.