UNIVERSITY OF YORK FIRSTS 74 vs. UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE SECONDS 40
BUCS Northern Conference 3B, Wednesday 26th November 2008
‘Always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ said the tearful Newcastle point guard to me at the end of this game, as he trudged back to the coach for the journey back to his decrepit smog-ridden pit village. ‘First I can’t make it into the first team, and then we get beaten by 30 point margins by superior sides, and…’, here he choked up and could not finish his sentence and after a brief pause attempting to compose himself, yielded to emotion and burst into floods of uncontrollable tears. I offered him a tissue and told him to pull himself together, but he was inconsolable, with the only discernible words offered forth the odd muffled ‘ha’way pet’.
It is never edifying to see grown men cry. But there are times when it is appropriate. A game when defeat is this comprehensive might be one of those times. York bagged more points than Newcastle in all four quarters; thereby ensuring defeat in the overall game was mathematically impossible.
A comprehensive win should help York’s confidence
in what’s been a mixed seasons so far (Alexandru Hristea)
York’s pressing game paid dividends, as Newcastle often struggled to get out of their half of the court, with the lively Chen nipping in on numerous loose Newcastle passes to secure easy lay-ups. Rangy captain Ronan ‘James’ Joyce praised York’s high energy levels throughout the game, which made this something of a routine victory.
York were in top form, constantly catching Newcastle on the fast-break
Whilst he was occasionally loose in possession, the impressive Marcus Johansson had the Midas touch with his three-point efforts. As his second three-pointed hit nothing but net, he shouted to the adoring Yorkites at courtside “What can I say, when it comes to me, I hit ‘em”. He sure does. As he lobbed his third attempt at a now-expectant basket, Johansson shouted “one way ticket to pointsville baby!” His pre-match promise that he was going to “make that hoop my bitch” was fulfilled. With the score at 39-22 at the end of the second quarter, York were firmly in the ascendency.
Thus, there was almost a feeling of inevitability to the remaining two quarters as York continued to turn dominance into what matters: cold hard points. Some of the fluency of earlier passages was gone as York got into some foul trouble and substitutions had to be made. But the points kept coming. Newcastle’s imaginative team chants (‘1-2-3- Newcastle!’ and ‘Basketball!’) did not manage to raise their performance levels. The frustration told as Geordie baller Alastair McGowan (no relation) hurled a ball towards the York bench as the end-of-quarter hooter sounded, causing one of the fans to drop their mini Jaffa cakes all over the only recently brushed court and earning himself a technical foul in the process.
Kelvin Chen had one of his best games for York at point-guard.
York didn’t take kindly to that and continued their progress in a fairly dull third quarter. To try to keep the attention of the fans, the glabrous referee started doing some sort of elaborate interpretive dance off the ball. Newcastle’s number 9 Hall – no Alan Shearer – kept falling over because he had big shoes, big feet or both. But this was all a distraction, as York kept the drip feed of points going with a bevy of delicious free throws, eventually closing out the game by a 34-point margin.
All in all, it was a satisfying result for York and a big improvement on performances in previous weeks. The players were buoyant post match with party animal Niyongabo demanding that ‘everyone must be in Ziggy’s right to the end’. What better way to end a fine day’s basketball?
York: Vishnubala, Joyce, Johansson, Ekren, Nalton, Ng, Niyongabo, Chen, Kazimierowicz, Horan
Newcastle: Nguessi, Ironzuru, Lauson, Solimon, Hall, McGowan, Williamson, Skorud, Bodering, Had, Giller