Newcastle consign Netball firsts to defeat in enthralling encounter

York were unable to move off the bottom of BUCS Division 4B despite leading for long periods against Newcastle on Wednesday

Photograph by Jason Lozier

Photograph by Jason Lozier

UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE THIRDS 34
UNIVERSITY OF YORK FIRSTS 29

BUCS League 4B – Wednesday 2nd December

In one of the most gripping netball matches of this season, victory was snatched from York first’s hands as they fell to a five-goal loss to Newcastle Thirds in the final few minutes. The final score of 34-29 is unreflective of the game, which York led from the first whistle.

York started the match in attacking fashion, piling the pressure on Newcastle from all sides. The zone was aggressive; Newcastle centre passes were broken by York Goal Defence, Grace Marsden, and marking in the centre third was tight, forcing Newcastle to play the ball back to their Goal Keeper on several occasions, as they struggled to find space. The York shooters, Sarah Fisher and Claire Dinan, worked hard to find space and netted some impressive goals as they were kept to the edges of the D by the imposing Newcastle defence. Although there were times when York struggled to find room and crowded each other’s space, they energetically offered and offered again and their energy paid off as they finished the quarter with a sizeable three-goal lead.

The second quarter saw a change of mood in the Newcastle camp as they stepped up their game and kept the York defence busy. York Goal Keeper, Jenni Williams, and Goal Defence, Sarah Smith, made an impressive defensive couple: Williams’ imposing lean and Smith’s collection of rebounds, despite being at a substantial height disadvantage, proved crucial in limiting the rate of Newcastle’s comeback. However York were erratic when on the turnover, often giving away easy balls in the centre third and thus having to fight hard to regain possession. Here, York Wing Defence, Becki O’Dwyer, was pivotal in her position, picking off many balls and slowing the Newcastle attack.

York went into the third quarter two up but this soon disappeared as a determined Newcastle equalised and took the lead. At times York seemed to be struggling to play as a team and often misread each other’s movements, leading to balls being thrown in the wrong direction or an overcrowding of the same spaces. However, some impressive feeds from York Wing Attack, Cesca Dessain, and Centre, Liz Cowell, to the on-form Dinan held the game together for York as they managed to claw back a two-goal margin over their opponents.

Newcastle’s strong play in the third quarter continued into the fourth. York’s heads dropped and Newcastle ran away with the play and scored numerous goals on the trot. The lack of vocal encouragement for one another was now evident: although the match had been quiet throughout, it now became silent as morale sank. York looked tired and lacking in passion as they stopped chasing loose balls and collecting rebounds. Newcastle sealed victory and York will have been disappointed not to have held off their northern rivals. That York now lie bottom of the league, albeit with a game in hand, is not due to a lack of talent or ability rather, it appears from this display, a lack of belief in themselves. Next week sees the home rematch, which should be an exciting affair.

York Line-up: Sarah Fisher (Captain), Grace Marsden, Jenni Williams, Sarah Smith, Kay Masterson, Claire Dinan, Liz Cowell, Cesca Dessain, Becki O’Dwyer

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