Your Guide to York’s biggest sports clubs

An insight into eight of the biggest clubs on campus, with predictions for their forthcoming BUCS campaigns and the all-important trial times for first years

York's Lacrosse club are tipped for a successful 2009-2010

York's Lacrosse club are tipped for a successful 2009-2010

Forever striving to be the biggest, boldest and best club on campus, UYAFC have secured new sponsorship and coaching staff this season. Terry Curran, who played under the late, great Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest, and Peter Renton have been recruited to oversee matchday preparations.With four sides in regular BUCS and Northern Universities League action, the fixtures come thick and fast. “I see no reason why we can’t be aspiring to promotion,” predicted Mark Mcleod, first team skipper. The departure of the majority of last year’s squad has opened up opportunities for freshers and second team players. The women’s teams, who mathematically sealed York’s Roses victory in 2009, welcome players of all abilities to give the game a go. “We do not see the point in approaching the season with anything less than full confidence,” said Jennie England, women’s Captain.

Last Season: Men’s Firsts – 4th in BUCS League 2B / Women’s Firsts – 4th in BUCS League 3B
Predictions: Men’s Firsts – 2nd. Promotion challenge gains momentum after brand new eleven take a few games to gel / Women’s Firsts – 3rd. Strength of Leeds Met. and Newcastle proves too much for plucky York.
Trials: Men’s – Monday to Friday during Freshers Week, meet outside the Sports Centre at 1.45pm / Women’s – Taster session on Sunday October 18th from 1.45pm-4pm in the Sports Centre.

10.10.09, Photo: George Lowther

York’s football squad competing for first XI places in a trial match last Saturday. Photograph by George Lowther.

Blessed with continuity in their squad from last season, York’s netball team are a good bet to be challenging for honours. One of the most popular clubs on campus and unfailingly dedicated and determined in their on-court performances, UYNC have three teams in BUCS Leagues. The firsts finished third last year, but demolished Lancaster against all expectations at Roses, and have retained the services of Sarah Fisher, Grace Marson and Cessca Dessain, who are key players. Club President Elizabeth Cowell identifies city rivals York St. John as the chief rivals,not only in the annual Varsity contest but in BUCS as well. She also tipped the seconds and thirds for promotion, setting up the intriguing prospect of all-York clashes next season.

Last Season: Firsts – 3rd in BUCS League 4B / Seconds – 2nd in BUCS League 5B / Thirds – 4th in BUCS League 6B
Prediction: Firsts – 2nd. Sustained challenge for promotion playing exciting netball, plus a long cup run. Promotion for either the seconds or thirds a high probability.
Trails: Sunday October 18th from 2pm-4pm in the Tent and Monday October 19th, 6pm-8pm in the Tent. Stall at Vanbrugh Stalls on Thursday and Friday of freshers week, 12pm-2pm.

Netball 3rds, 09.05.09, Photo: George Lowther.

Action from the Netball thirds encounter at Roses 2009. Photograph by George Lowther.

The tennis club truly believe they stand on the brink of a great season, despite lining up in tough divisions. Fielding three men’s teams for the first time and a women’s side, expectations are sky high and freshers are welcome to try out. “The team are going to boss all the leagues this year,” said Maria Hunt, women’s captain. Hunt predicted promotion for her team, although warned that extra training sessions would be necessary to maintain standards of fitness. “It’s going to be hard work. Success doesn’t come easily, but my god, we’re going to have some fun along the way,” she said.

Last Season: Men’s Firsts – 4th in BUCS League 2B / Women’s Firsts – 3rd in BUCS League 2B
Predictions: Men’s Firsts – 3rd. Creditable performance in a very tough division, which includes all the big players in northern university sport / Women’s Firsts – 2nd. Again, characteristically aggressive showing in another tricky league, which contains rivals Leeds Met.
Trials: Men’s – Tuesday October 20th from 6pm-9pm at the Sports Centre / Women’s – Monday October 19th from 12pm-1.30pm at the Sports Centre.

Tennis vs Northumbria, 28.01.09, Photo: Arran Bowen-la Grange.

Doubles action from York’s match with Northumbria in January. Photograph by Arran Bowen-la Grange.

A club with incredible unity and some of the best socials on campus, UYHC will be looking to make amends for last season’s disappointments. The men’s firsts endured a frustrating campaign, but were reprieved from relegation, while the women’s firsts suffered the drop. However, a new optimism prevails and, fielding five teams (three male, two female) in regular competition for the first time, glory beckons. Rob Newton, male President, said: “I legitimately think the hockey club could have one of their best seasons for a very long time. I think we could be one of the standout clubs at the university this year!” In addition, the second team will be hotly tipped for promotion after gathering momentum at the end of last year. “Our firsts will feel they have something to prove,” added Sophie Hossack, female President.

Last Season: Men’s Firsts – 6th in BUCS League 2B / Women’s Firsts – 6th in BUCS League 2B
Predictions: Men’s Firsts – 3rd. An improvement on last season and comfortable mid-table finish with some memorable moments / Women’s Firsts – 1st. With a point to prove, the team enjoy an instant return to division 2B and get one over on Sheffield, Leeds and Durham.
Trials: Men’s and Women’s – Thursday October 15th from 12pm-1pm and Sunday October 18th from 3pm-4pm on the Astroturf.

Men Hockey Firsts, photo by Alexandru Hristea

York on the attack during the men’s firsts’ fixture at Roses this year. Photograph by Alexandru Hristea.

A colossus of a club, as familiar with dominating the Champagne Bar at Ziggy’s as with playing champagne rugby. York’s very own ‘invincibles,’ the men’s firsts will line up in the elite northern division this season after sauntering to promotion. Despite a tough set of opponents, the club are oozing confidence. “We have the strength in depth and maturity in key positions to do well in this higher league,” said Rob Grant, UYRUFC President.“We have had a great pre-season and our attitude for the year was underlined by our preparation camp in North Wales. A work ethic has been instilled that we hope will continue. All this bodes well for a great season in 1A.I must add that we are an expectant side looking to build on last season.” The women’s club are equally successful, reaching the final of the BUCS Cup last year after a thrilling run. President Kate Fullilove is excited about welcoming freshers into the side, who open their season with a warm-up against the Hull York Medical School (HYMS) on Sunday October 31st.

Last Season: Men’s Firsts – 1st in BUCS League 2B / Women’s Firsts – 2nd in BUCS League 2B
Predictions: Men’s Firsts – 4th. Very respectable season of consolidation in the region’s top division / Women’s Firsts – 1st. Everything comes together for the side after finishing so close last season – another cup run coupled with promotion.
Trials: Men’s – Sunday October 18th at 2pm on the 22 Acres / Women’s – Sunday October 18th at 12pm on 22 Acres.

Rugby Women's 1sts, 09.05.09, Photo: George Lowther.

Kate Fullilove offloads during York’s Roses clash with Lancaster in May. Photograph by George Lowther.

Jubilant from acquiring the services of Jim Lenke, an experienced American lacrosse coach, the club are anticipating a successful season. Lenke led Yorkshire in the British National Championships last year and favours an all-out attacking style, so plenty of goals should be in the offing. “The main aspect that Jim will bring to the club is a different, more intense level of training that will be the basis for the building of a solid team,” said Bendict Robinson, the men’s Captain. The men endured a frustrating season in 2008-2009, but trounced Lancaster 28-0 at Roses. By contrast, the women racked up 136 goals in just seven matches, yet were beaten into first place by Durham, who also triumphed in the cup final.They will be desperate to convert their talent and free-flowing version of the game into silverware. Expect another hatful of goals week-in week-out.

Last Season: Men’s – 6th in BUCS League 1B / Women’s – 2nd in BUCS League 2A
Predictions: Men’s – 3rd. New coach inspires a largely successful campaign in the top division / Women’s – 1st. Sense lingers that this is going to be their year.
Trials: Men’s – Every day during freshers week, 2pm-3pm, except Wednesday on the 22 Acres / Women’s – Sunday October 18th at 2pm (previous experience), Monday-Friday week two, 2pm. All on the 22 Acres.

10.10.09, Photo: George Lowther

York battle for possession during their 14-5 victory over Heaton Mersey on Saturday. Photograph by George Lowther.

Just how will the badminton club top last year’s achievements? Their powerhouse performances on the Friday of Roses earned them recognition as one of the best teams in the tournament, but this would be to only scratch the surface. The men’s firsts secured promotion to the elite first division in March, squeezing home ahead of Durham, but will be forced to make wholesale changes after the departure of many leading players.Their female counterparts were in the shadow of only Sheffield Hallam in 2008-2009 but, with their rivals securing promotion, York will be favourites to go up this time around.

Last Season: Men’s firsts – 1st in BUCS League 2B / Women’s firsts – 2nd in BUCS League 2B
Predictions: Men’s – 3rd. Season of acclimatation for a much-changed firsts’ team in the top flight / Women’s – 1st. Relegated Durham edged out in tight championship battle.
Trials: Sunday October 18th – Men’s surnames A-H and ladies 9am; Men’s surnames I-P 10.30am; Men’s Surnames Q-Z 11am in the Main Hall, Sports Centre. First informal session for beginners, Monday October 19th at 7pm.

Badminton Mixed, 08.05.09, Photo: George Lowther

The mixed doubles badminton event at Roses 2009. Photograph by George Lowther.

The straight sets victory over Lancaster at Roses in May proved a fitting swansong for a number of male UYVC campaigners, but 2009-2010 represents a new chapter. A number of freshers will be brought in to bolster the squad, who again compete in the top division of volleyball in the north against the likes of Leeds Met, Sheffield Hallam and Manchester. The team won half and lost half of their league fixtures last season, finishing fourth out of six teams. Always gutsy in their performances, the women’s team finished second in their division, trailing Leeds Met by some twelve points. With the opponents largely unchanged, and York perenially under-funded in comparison with local, sport-focused institutions, they will have to rely on their reserves of strength and mental determination more than ever. The Volleyball club aren’t holding trials as such, but freshers are welcome to attend their training sessions, publicised below.

Last Season: Men’s Firsts – 4th in BUCS League 1A / Women’s Firsts – 2nd in BUCS League 2B
Predictions: Men’s – 3rd. Solid showing in the top flight after new recruits are effectively incorporated into the team. / Women’s – 2nd. Some great tussles with the Sheffield universities, as ever, in a largely successful season.
Trials: Training in the Sports Centre: Sundays 6pm-8pm (women’s), 8pm-10pm (men’s) and Thursdays 6pm-7.30pm (women’s), 7.30pm-8.30pm (beginners), 8.30pm-10pm (men’s)

Women's Volleyball vs. Sheffield Hallam firsts,10.12 Alexandru Hristea (7)

York’s women celebrate a job well done after beating Sheffield Hallam in straight sets in December 2008. Photograph by Alexandru Hristea.

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