UNIVERSITY OF YORK FIRSTS 2
UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM FOURTHS 0
Wednesday 14th October – BUCS League 2B
York men’s hockey firsts grabbed the league win that eluded them all last season in their opening game yesterday, beating Durham fourths 2-0. Two goals from Rob Newton sealed a much needed victory for the home side.
Last year the side only survived relegation due to reorganisation of the division but, with most of the team remaining intact, the club is optimistic for the season ahead. If they are to do better this season then Wednesday’s game against newly promoted Durham was always going to be a must win. York passed their early test with flying colours.
York will already be encouraged by the performances of some keen new freshers. Three players made their debuts and Captain Andy McIlwraith said he was very impressed with them all, highlighting that they “had only two hours training with the team,” before the match. He named fresher Matt Foakes as the team’s stand out player.
Rob Newton, on the ground behind the despairing Durham goalkeeper, bundles the ball home on Wednesday afternoon. Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle.
However, it was regular Rob Newton who provided the difference, with a tireless first-half performance in his new right-sided position. His first goal after just one minute was slightly fortuitous – his stick just made contact with Andy Harris’s goalbound shot – but it gave the team the early boost they needed.
York passed the ball around well in the first-half as neither side had many chances. Foakes defended brilliantly while Harris and Adam Douglas worked hard in attack. Durham had one chance when they broke the York defence, but the attacker slipped at the last moment, much to the hilarity of the ever vocal club spectators.
York’s 2-0 victory was their first in BUCS competition since their win against Leeds University fourths in the cup first round on October 29th 2008. Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle.
It was some great play by Newton that was to break the deadlock. After picking up a wayward Durham pass, he was fouled in the ‘D’ to win a short corner for the home side. Douglas had an excellent chance to score, but the ball was cleared off the line albeit at the expense of another short corner. Harris passed out wide to Newton who stylishly sent it home.
McIlwraith said that the “team were looking strong” and that “it was an impressive performance.” He added that it was “a great omen for the season ahead” and said he “was really pleased.” He had reason to be, Durham rarely looked like threatening in the second half, and as a result grew increasingly frustrated. Two players were shown a yellow card in quick succession for shoving and hard tackling and, with the two man York advantage, the match was over.
At the end Newton had a chance for a hat trick as Niko Bode found him in a scoring position. An excellent save denied him, but it didn’t really matter. Only when there was a minute remaining did spectators begin to believe that York would win – disappointment became common practice last season – but this was a result that promised a bright new start for the York hockey team.
York Line-up: Sam Harriman (Gk), Andy McIlwraith (c), Rob Newton, Niko Bode, Chris Carr, Dan Alder, Richard Larkin, Andy Harris, Luke Featherstone, Mark Inman, Billy Walsh, Matt Foakes, Adam Douglas, Michael Giblin, Henry Mellor, James Brunton