York suffered a heavy defeat against Leeds Met on Sunday, an unfortunately-timed loss after an outstanding win against Manchester last week. York lost three straight sets 25-15, 25-12, 25-16 yet the team would derive comfort from the fact they were able to “stay with” an opposition that boasted international players.
With six training sessions a week and hundreds of pounds poured into the Leeds Met side, it seemed clear from the start that York were the underdogs. Playing point for point, however, York managed to keep up the intensity of the game. Renowned Italian duo Luca Accorsi and Pietro Galli played consistently, yet were helpless against the deadly smashes coming from the Leeds side.
In anticipation of playing the undefeated Sheffield Hallam next week, Captain Jack Butcher stated how the York men’s side “showed enough skill” here to give Sheffield a run for their money and hopefully gain enough points to put them third in the BUCS league. Throughout the match Butcher played some precise nice taps, cheering the rest of the team to keep up the precision of play, even though they faced inevitable defeat.
The sizeable crowd were not about to give up on the team throughout the match. By the third set, Leeds Met had gained a run of points but York rose to the challenge with some crushing hits from Josh Chipman and Janis Koknevics, constantly cheered by the balcony of fans. “The support we had today was great; it really makes a huge difference,” said Butcher, who noted how with enough encouragement the team don’t feel as tired and are able to deliver on their serves.
A good level of play, however, wasn’t enough to beat a huge Leeds team containing three Hungarian international players smashing the ball with a brutality that intimidated the York team. With this commitment throughout the match – and a coach that never let them take their eyes off the ball – Leeds Met gained the hard points needed for the win, doubling York’s score in the second set.
Although York lost, there is no doubt that the pressure of the game helped strengthen the team and prepare them for their next game. The atmosphere was exciting and the crowd stayed with York until the end, helping them to gain some points against the Leeds Met side. The team know they face an even better team next week, yet a number of lessons have been learnt whilst facing this relentless opponent.