UNIVERSITY OF TEESSIDE SECONDS 38
UNIVERSITY OF YORK SECONDS 31
BUCS League 5B – Wednesday 17th February
On Wednesday, York netball seconds suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Teesside seconds, a team they beat 47-11 earlier in the season. Despite York leading for much of the match, Teesside excelled in the final quarter and pulled away to finish the match seven goals ahead, bringing the final score to 38-31, a result which takes Teesside off the bottom of the table.
York started the match in fighting spirit, and while they may have taken a few minutes to get used to a change of scenery and the terrain at Teesside, they soon found their rhythm and settled into the game. The York attack swept aside the Teesside defence as York Centre, Lorna Davies-Colley, and Wing Attack, Rosie Mughal, made optimal use of the circle edge and sent some perfectly positioned feeds into the shooters.
At the other end of the court, York showed their flexibility and adaptability as they tried out a new defensive set-up. Fresher Ellie McAlpine stepped up to her competitive debut at Wing Defence, due to a necessary reshuffle as a result of the departure of York’s resident Goal Keeper, Jo Brayshaw, for a cameo appearance for the first team, who are currently suffering from injury setbacks. The new defensive partnership, led by the vocal Goal Keeper, Cleo Jones, soon found their feet but was often unable to hold off the superb Teesside shooters.
At the end of the first quarter York led with a narrow three goal lead, and following on from a slight centre court reorganisation, they returned to the action determined to build on their lead. The York shooting combination of Sophia Sahin and Abi Weighill demonstrated their ever-impressive ability to manipulate the circle and maximise their usage of the space available. Rebounds were hard fought and York held on to their lead, finishing the first-half with a narrow lead over their opponents.
For the third quarter, Captain Sophia Sahin brought on Goal Shooter Sami Briggs, who slotted into the attacking format seamlessly and scored a few impressive goals from the circle edges. However, play often broke down in the centre court as York found it hard to maintain the link between attack and defence. The zone was not as tight as in earlier matches and York showed signs of physical tiredness, perhaps due to their intensive fitness training of late. As passes became increasingly wayward and susceptible to interception, Teesside took advantage of every misplaced pass and capitalised on York’s errors.
Further changes ensued in the final break as York searched to find the combination that would allow them to claw back a victory. Lauren Furniss shone as Wing Defence, working well with Goal Defence Laura Longworth, by picking up the Goal Attack and thus delaying her progress into the circle. However the Teesside shooters were indefatigable and they continued to sink anything, from penalties to circle edge shots.
Despite the energy of York’s travelling support, complete with megaphone and plenty of encouragement, York’s heads dropped in the final quarter. The match had been rife with controversial umpiring decisions, which finally took their toll on players, most notably in defence. A bout of goals from Teesside secured their victory, a disappointing result for York seconds whose performance, although not bad, was under par and far from their previous impressive standard. They will hope to regain form before next weekend’s Varsity tournament, one of the season’s highlights.
Man of the match went to Weighill for her consistently on target shooting and tireless movement around the court. Weighill worked solidly with both shooters, Sahin and Briggs, and was influential in the centre court.
Meanwhile, also in the north, York firsts lost in a close game to Northumbria thirds (26-29), while Northumbria fourths were beaten by York thirds in a pulsating home match (43-40).
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