On an afternoon of erratic weather – flakes of snow swirled in the air one moment, replaced by blinding sunshine the next – the University sports teams continued their quest for BUCS glory. There were incidents and talking points aplenty both on campus and in the away fixtures involving our sides. Nouse brings you up to speed with the best of the day’s action.
There were some casualties in the inclement weather, however, as both the men’s and women’s BUCS Cup hockey fixtures were postponed. The women’s volleyball match was also cancelled after Keele University failed to raise a team, meaning a bye to the BUCS Cup semi-finals.
Undoubtedly the biggest match of the afternoon was the UYAFC firsts’ top-of-the-table showdown with Sheffield University on the 22 Acres. With so much at stake and two teams of similar stature going toe-to-toe, the final score of 2-2 was perhaps unsurprising and changes little in the League 2B title race.
York, having already seen several penalty shouts waved away, equalised with ten minutes remaining after Captain Mark McLeod was chopped down in the box having jinxed in from the right flank. Chris Barnett, who, along with his skipper were the home side’s outstanding players, coolly converted from twelve yards.
In a tight first-half, Barnett had opened the scoring after Dan Cox threaded the ball through. However, a minute later, Sheffield were awarded a penalty for a contentious handball and went 2-1 in front through a header from a well-executed corner before the break. York came back strongly in the second-half and, but for some more favourable refereeing decisions and the intervention of the Sheffield goalkeeper, who made three fine saves, they could have won the match.
“I was really disappointed as we definitely deserved the win,” said McLeod afterwards.
The result leaves the race for the championship delicately poised with York level on 16 points with the Steel City University, albeit having played one more match. Next Wednesday, York travel to relegation-haunted Hull University, before rounding off their campaign with a home fixture against Newcastle and a trip to Teesside. Their only defeat in the league remains the 1-0 loss at Sheffield on the opening day of the season.
In the day’s other football scores, the seconds suffered their first defeat of the league season, going down 3-1 at Bradford, although they remain three points clear at the top of League 5B.
The men’s rugby team enjoyed a fine afternoon, handing Manchester University seconds a lesson in the sport. Their remarkable 98-7 victory over the basement dwellers not only boosted their points difference but installed them as the favourites in their title tussle with Sheffield Hallam.
Mike Callis scored a lineout try after just five minutes, setting the tone for the afternoon, and York were 50-7 in front at half-time as they dominated every aspect of the contest. Callis scored a 75-yard try just before the interval while Rory McGregor, Tom Buggé, Peter Nathan and Will Felgate were among the many scorers.
Everything now hinges on York’s two remaining fixtures, both at home – where they are unbeaten since 2007 -against Sheffield and Northumbria. However, Sheffield Hallam have three matches remaining and their destiny remains in their own hands.
The seconds completed a superlative afternoon for UYRUFC, thrashing Sunderland 96-5 away from home.
Elsewhere, the men’s lacrosse team beat Stirling 11-6 to advance to the last 16 of the BUCS Cup. York, who now face a trip to the University of East Anglia in the next round, adapted best to the freezing conditions and a competitive opponent, recovering from an early deficit to comfortably advance. Goalkeeper and Captain Benedict Robinson enjoyed a fine afternoon between the posts, but singled out Rob Coslett, James Menon and Phil Walker for their performances. “It was a fantastic performance. The recent training sessions have paid dividends and it was great to get the freshers on,” Robinson said. As well as remaining in the BUCS Cup, the side are through to the semi-finals of the NEMLA League Trophy, their weekend competition.
Action from the men’s lacrosse fixture, where York beat Stirling 11-6. Photograph by Peter Iveson.
The women’s fencing team suffered their first defeat of the season, exiting the Cup at the first hurdle following a 99-128 reverse at Oxford. They swept to league glory with six wins from six last term and have a promotion play-off at home to Liverpool University on February 24th. The men’s team, however, have reached the semi-finals of their cup competition following a 134-113 away success at Durham University seconds. Newcastle seconds await in the last four, to be played on February 24th.
York’s table tennis team are on the cup march once again, an 11-6 success over Northumbria yesterday getting their Trophy campaign underway. York battled through to the final of this competition last year, where they were narrowly beaten by Imperial College.
In the best of the day’s other sport, the men’s badminton team can look forward to a trip to Sheffield after seeing off Manchester University 6-2 in the BUCS Cup first round. The men’s squash side, meanwhile, have a Yorkshire derby semi-final against Leeds University after beating Newcastle seconds 3-2 yesterday.
Two teams who have been knocked off the cup trail are women’s basketball, defeated 62-33 by Leeds Met, and women’s squash, who lost heavily at Bradford. The women’s hockey seconds, in League action, were narrowly beaten 1-0 away to Sheffield Hallam.