Britain’s annual twenty four hours of snow decimated the BUCS programme at York yesterday, with all outdoor fixtures falling foul of the treacherous ice. The 22 Acres may have resembled a wintry paradise, but the cancellations will only cause later headaches for our sports teams, with a New Year scheduling squeeze now as inevitable as Slade at Christmas. So, grab a lovely cuppa, take a ten-minute time out and allow Nouse and YSTV to guide you through the best of Wednesday’s (surviving) action.
Refreshingly, the problems stopped at the entrance to the Sports Centre and a flurry of indoor matches offered plenty of entertainment. The men’s volleyball side confronted adversaries Manchester, who had already beaten them in straight sets earlier in the campaign. A beautifully symmetrical measure of revenge was exacted, however, as York cruised home 3-0 for their second successive win in BUCS League 1A. There were several outstanding individual performances: most notably the Italian duo of Luca Accorsi and Pietro Galli, while Captain Jack Butcher – who afterwards commended his team’s “fantastic” spirit – showed insatiable energy. A combination of powerful finishing in the smashes, varied serving and solid net defence resulted in a 25-15, 25-21, 25-23 outcome in York’s favour, taking them level with Manchester in the standings.
In disappointing contrast, the women’s team found themselves overwhelmed by table-topping Leeds Met Carnegie, crashing to a 9-25, 10-25, 3-25 whitewash. Captain Lisa Breitschuh admitted the team “lacked some dynamism” in their play, although today’s performance against a very strong Leeds Met shouldn’t detract from a sharp curve of improvement this year. The team will start afresh in the New Year, with the BUCS Cup trip to Northumbria offering a distraction from the bread and butter of league action.
The cancellation of the men’s fencing match – opponents Keele decimated by an unfortunate bout of food poisoning – left only netball and basketball on offer in the Tent, which proved just as nippy as the frozen tundra outside. The men’s basketball side were outperformed by a skilful Leeds Met seconds 44-77, who remain unbeaten and overwhelming favourites to gain promotion. York, with two victories to their name, are nestled third in the tight race for the second-place consolation when action resumes in 2009.
Sunderland’s seconds had proved no match for the netball firsts in their BUCS Cup meeting a fortnight ago, but the first team were a much tougher proposition, and so it transpired in a narrow 34-29 away defeat. Back in the Siberian Tent, York’s seconds fared much better, cruising to a 38-10 win against Bradford firsts to move into third in BUCS League 5B. A near-flawless shooting performance from Sophia Sahin and influential Wing Attack play from Lorna Davies-Colley set the tone for victory here. The third team also won convincingly, 41-29 against Northumbria fourths, whom they face again in two weeks.
Excellent news from the badminton teams, with two victories for the respective first teams and a battling draw for the men’s seconds. Away at Sunderland, the men’s firsts romped to a 6-2 win, preserving their remarkable winning run this season and cementing their imperious position atop BUCS League 2B. The women’s firsts took full advantage of Huddersfield’s failure to travel with two doubles partnerships in an 8-0 rout, with the best performances from Bekki Moore and Nattha Tritasavit in the more competitive singles rubbers. Huddersfield will not be relishing their return encounter next week.
The men’s seconds found themselves engaged in a tense battle with Sheffield Hallam seconds, which finished four apiece – the ever-reliable James Hor winning the decisive singles matches to compensate for Captain Tom Gatenby’s unfortunate defeats. Again, York face yesterday’s opponents once more next time out.
A quirk of the BUCS arrangement in squash is that York’s first and second team compete in the same league and their meeting later resulted in the firsts triumphing 3-0 and are now level on points with Newcastle at the top of the table, albeit having played one match more. The women’s team were another one of York’s teams to lose out to Leeds Met yesterday, going down 3-1. The men’s table tennis team continued their revival in recent weeks, with an 11-6 win at home to Northumbria firsts, having performed a similar demolition of the north-east institution’s second team last week.
This weekend, thaw willing, should witness the continuation of the college sports programme, notably the greatly-anticipated second instalment of the rugby tournament, with James taking on Derwent at Archbishop Holgate School.