If last week was the big freeze, this week was the big sneeze. The aftermath of the cold snap saw ailments decimate both York’s and opposing teams, reducing the schedule both home and away. But with the cold temperatures thankfully staying away, the damage was limited, and the last 32 of the BUCS Cup occupied the netball, football, rugby and hockey sides today. Permit Nouse and YSTV to guide you through the best of today’s action, grab a soothing Lemsip and enjoy.
Our first port of call is the BUCS Cup, with laboured progress for the men’s football team against Northumbria fourths. A late, late winner by midfielder Joe Brennan split the teams, despite the visitors having two players and their coach dismissed in a tempestuous match littered by rash challenges and inexcusable dissent. Having beaten Northumbria’s second team 3-0 in the last round, York had good reason to expect smooth progress, but things proved much harder. Consequently, the team will be wary of avoiding some difficult-looking opponents in the last 16, including Leeds Met and Sheffield Hallam, who are familiar league and NUL foes.
Unfortunately, this was as good as things got for York in the knockout action. Facing a Northumbria fourths team in a rich vein of form, the rugby firsts tumbled out of the BUCS Cup 20-28, while the women’s hockey lost 2-0 at home to Sheffield firsts. On top of this, the netball seconds, taking centre-stage following the cancellation of the firsts’ game, failed to find any form in losing 15-48 to their counterparts from Leeds University.
All is not lost, however. Aside from the football progress, rearrangements mean that the netball firsts (vs. Teesside) and the women’s rugby (vs. Leeds Trinity and All Saints) will keep the flame burning in the business end of the inaugural BUCS Cup competition.
Consequently, today’s finest York performances came in the constant of BUCS League competition, with excellent results for the women’s volleyball and men’s badminton. The volleyball team ended 2008 on a high, shrugging off an inconsistent season to date to waltz to a straight-sets victory over Sheffield Hallam in a rearranged fixture. Instrumental Captain Lisa Breitschuh powered the team to a stunning 25-7 first set victory with an unbroken sequence of 15 serves and, while the second and third sets were tighter (both 25-20), York were worthy winners.
The men’s team endured a nightmare afternoon, with transportation problems not the ideal preparation for their meeting with Hallam, who beat them 3-0 to preserve their proud place atop BUCS League 1A. Meanwhile, the men’s badminton firsts continue their insatiable form, stretching their storming winning run to seven matches with an 8-0 whitewash, their fourth of the season, against Sunderland firsts. Ever professional, though, Captain Will Wiseman’s focus was squarely on challenges to come: “with a BUCS Cup replay on the 17th coming up against strong opposition in Leeds Met seconds, a stronger opponent would have done us the world of good today.”
Rounding-up the other badminton on Wednesday, the seconds’ patchy form continued as they were on the receiving end of an 8-0 whitewash at Sheffield Hallam, while the women’s firsts held Huddersfield to a 4-4 draw.
In a thrilling and tense match, the men’s basketball team edged out local rivals York St. John 65-64 to recover nicely from last week’s heavy defeat against Leeds Met. With this result, their third league win of the season, the team manoeuvre themselves clear of the relegation dogfight, into which St. John are being drawn.
Today’s tennis was compromised by three courts being unplayable due to ice, forcing the cancellation of the women’s fixtures. Using the two remaining courts, the men’s seconds overcame Sheffield 6-4 and now find themselves well placed to challenge table-topping Hull for promotion from league 4B.
Last weekend saw a weakened York team travel to Nottingham University for the national individual fencing championships, with some strong performances in all three disciplines. Pavel Guzanovs was York’s best-placed participant, finishing 10th in a field of 94 in the men’s sabre, backed up by Dave Ramsbottom (41st), Anthony Higgins (64th) and Andrew Hardman/Greg Ryan (joint 85th).
Ramsbottom headed up the York challenge in the foil (76th out of 140 competitors) and the épee (27th out of 109), while Higgins was 133rd in the foil and 100th in the épee, his weaker events. There were good showings from the women as well, with Lottie Kerry 20th in the épee and Rhiannon Davies 47th in the foil.
Also last weekend, York’s rowers braved a tough course at Newark to scoop winner’s medals in the men’s and women’s senior coxed fours, as well as the women’s novice category. Sophie Mottram competed in both the senior and novice boats, winning both races. This latest glut of medals caps a fine term for the Boat Club, following successes at Trafford and the York small boats event.
Coming up this weekend, the eagerly-anticipated second match of the college rugby tournament as Alcuin, winners by 13-10 over James in their opening game, do battle with Derwent. Kick-off is 12.45pm on Saturday at Archbishop Holgate School.