Never before in my memory has a Wednesday afternoon carried such significance for the sports teams of the University of York. In week which will be remembered bitterly by the UYRUFC firsts and in which we saw several sparkling displays of administrative incompetence by British Universities and College Sport (BUCS), it was nice to return to talking points on the pitch, where the teams didn’t let us down in providing entertainment. Nouse wraps up the full-time scores here.
The Astroturf witnessed two BUCS Cup semi-finals today, but with mixed outcomes for the Hockey Club. A tenth minute Sheffield University goal proved sufficient to dump the women’s side out in a fixture which failed to reach the heights of previous rounds, where York had turned on the style in high-scoring victories.
Rocked by the early setback, the hosts found themselves suffocated by an accomplished Sheffield team, currently second in the division above, and were unable to leave their own defensive third for much of the opening period. However, they gradually grew into the game and found their rhythm, creating a head of steam through a succession of short corners which, with a bit more good fortune, might have delivered an equaliser just after the break. Sheffield were content to contain York for much of the second-half and successfully negated the attacking threat led by Andrea Pisesky, Laura Pepper and Frankie Hall to book a place in the final.
However, the men’s firsts are now able to look forward to a cup final of their own after a dramatic golden goal from Dan Adler earned a 2-1 win over Durham thirds. York had earlier taken the lead through James Branton early in the second period, having dominated much of the first – former captain Billy Walsh pulling the strings from midfield. Durham, though, showed why they are pushing Leeds University for the League 2B title by equalising against the run of play to force extra time. York will place MMU Cheshire firsts in the final, scheduled for March 24th, after they beat Liverpool John Moores 7-3 today.
Andy McIlwraith, the York Captain, expressed his pride and delight at the team progressing to the final, the farthest they have reached in a cup competition. He reiterated that they must not be distracted by the forthcoming showpiece from their battle to avoid the drop in BUCS League 2B.
Action from the women’s fencing promotion play-off against Liverpool this afternoon. Photograph by Peter Iveson.
The women’s fencing team’s outstanding season continues as they beat Liverpool today in the first of their play-offs for the Northern Premier League. After falling behind in the Sabre, strong performances in the Foil and Épée gave York the victory. They must win two further play-offs if they want to compete at the highest level next year, with their next game being a tricky last four fixture against Loughborough in March.
In further good news for the Fencing Club, the men’s team reached the final of the BUCS Cup, their 135-100 victory over Newcastle University seconds setting up a final on March 24th against Keele University.
The netball firsts eased their relegation worries with a stunning 43-23 win over Sheffield University in the Tent this afternoon. The result lifts them off the bottom of the standings, ahead of Newcastle thirds, who weren’t in action today. An impressive attacking display from Goal Shooter Claire Dinan and Goal Attack Kay Masterson, who replaced the injured Sarah Fisher during the second quarter, guided York to victory. Sheffield, who started strongly as they chased Teesside University at the summit, were quickly on the back foot as York snapped into their rhythm, Liz Cowell and Cesca Dessain outwitting their counterparts to feed clever passes into the danger area. Seven points up at the half-way point, York merely extended their lead through faultless shooting as their opponents descended into a physical approach which reflected their annoyance.
The netball firsts have two matches remaining in League 4B this season, away to Sunderland on Sunderland and at home to Teesside on March 17th. Photograph by Peter Iveson.
The men’s football firsts beat Newcastle University seconds 2-1 on the 22 Acres to keep alive their flickering hopes of earning promotion from BUCS League 2B – Jack Crane and Conor Brennan grabbed the goals either side of a Newcastle equaliser.
In the day’s other fixtures, the thirds and fourths exacted some revenge on UYAFC bogey team Hull with a couple of big wins on the 22 Acres. The thirds routed Hull’s fifths 9-2, while the fourths beat Hull’s fourths 5-1.
Also inspired by knockout competition are the men’s badminton firsts, who will take on Loughborough University in the semi-finals after a dramatic 9-8 win over Nottingham Trent on Wednesday afternoon. However, the men’s squash side crashed out at the semi-final stage, losing 4-1 at Leeds University, who will play Northumbria in the final.
The women’s volleyball team beat Manchester seconds in straight sets to set up their own cup final against either Sheffield Hallam or Leeds Met Carnegie, though the women’s rugby side were beaten 17-0 at home to Leeds Met seconds in their cup match.
In the evening, the women’s water polo team were beaten 10-0 by Leeds University, but showed definite signs of improvement since their last meeting.