Netball seconds too good for league leaders Newcastle

York announced their promotion credentials with a 38-32 win against table-toppers Newcastle, a result which narrows the gap between the teams to three points in League 5B

Photograph by Peter Iveson

Photograph by Peter Iveson


BUCS League 5B – Wednesday 9th December

A near-flawless shooting performance from Sophia Sahin propelled York’s netball seconds right back into the promotion mix in BUCS League 5B. Exacting revenge for last week’s defeat away to the same opponents, York ripped in to Newcastle fourths from the first whistle then weathered a muted, late fightback to claim an important 38-32 victory.

In winning Wednesday’s match, York narrowed the gap between them and leaders Newcastle to just three points, with four fixtures still to be completed. The seconds will be hoping cross-city rivals York St. John can do them a favour by beating Newcastle in the next round of matches on February 3rd.

Accurate shooting aside, it was the performance of York’s central players which proved the difference in this one. Abigail Weighill was particularly influential, pressurising Newcastle and stealing possession on a regular basis, her link-up play with Sahin crisp and precise. Ellie McAlpine also stood out at Centre, having a hand in pretty much every York attack.

York 2nds Netball v Newcastle 09/12/09 Peter iveson IMG_0569

York Goal Keeper Josephine Brayshaw and Goal Defence Cleopatra Jones look on as Newcastle score in Wednesday’s fixture. Despite an impressive performance from their Goal Attack, Newcastle never really threatened York and were beaten 38-32. Photograph by Peter Iveson.

Both sides made a bright start, with Sahin and Goal Attack Sami Briggs wasting no time in finding their range at one end of the court, and Newcastle’s Goal Attack, a thorn in York’s side last week, doing likewise at the other. Newcastle’s fourths looked more organised than their thirds, who had been on court previously, at the back, exerting pressure on York’s shooters. Nonetheless, the shots which were released invariably dropped through the hoop, giving the home side an encouraging 12-6 lead after the first quarter.

But it was York’s defensive players who saw the busier second quarter, with Goal Keeper Josephine Brayshaw and Goal Defence Cleopatra Jones called into action as Newcastle matched their opponents blow-for-blow. The pair were forced to use their height and defensive lean to foil a number of Newcastle raids, but couldn’t stop the concession of eight second quarter points. It mattered little, however, as York’s attack continued to excel – with Weighill running the game, there was plenty of space and scope for some lovely build-up, allowing the shooters to push the game further beyond Newcastle.

Handicapped by an injury to their Goal Keeper early in the third, an echo of the earlier match, Newcastle were forced to reshuffle and lost a little of their spark. York couldn’t care less, diligently adding to their lead at every opportunity, with their key players continuing to impress. The scoreline of 33-21 entering the final act spoke volumes for York’s attacking superiority.

York 2nds Netball v Newcastle 09/12/09 Peter iveson IMG_0536

Goal Shooter and Captain Sophia Sahin looks on as a shot heads towards the Newcastle basket. She contributed the majority of York’s 38 points. Photograph by Peter Iveson.

It wasn’t over, however, as Newcastle found themselves in the closing stages, outscoring York 11-5 in a valiant final quarter effort. Fatigue was becoming an issue but, in truth, there was never any possibility of an undeserved comeback, York’s early points scoring ensuring a six-point margin at the final whistle.

Having tamed the league leaders, York now have to topple them. On Wednesday’s evidence, they look a good bet for promotion, a scenario which would produce some intriguing fixtures against the firsts next season.

York Line-up: Josephine Brayshaw, Cleopatra Jones, Laura Longworth, Lorna Davies-Colley, Ellie McAlpine, Abigail Weighill, Sami Briggs, Sophia Sahin (c)

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