UNIVERSITY OF YORK 0
UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS 10
Wednesday 24th February
The result of this fixture could probably have been guessed if the two teams had lined up on dry land and a physical comparison had been made; the Leeds girls were noticeably broader and taller than almost all of York’s representatives and in such a physical sport as water polo this difference would prove insurmountable.
Having clashed once already this season, York were looking for an improvement on their 13-1 defeat, but their effort did not start well. Almost straight from the starting ‘swim-off’ Leeds made an incisive attack and reaped the rewards of York’s sluggishness, going 1-0 up within the first minute. The first quarter ended with Leeds 4-0 ahead, and York looked unable to keep up with Leeds’ superior speed and physicality, the only true enjoyment for York fans being a rather entertaining battle between the spirited Jodie Wilkes and any Leeds girls unfortunate enough to be marked by her.
However, this season has been one of consistent improvement for this women’s side and they rallied in the second quarter, matching Leeds far more effectively. It was by far the strongest period of the game for York, as they twice rattled the frame of the goal and goalkeeper Cass Walker showed some excellent agility to keep the Leeds attack at bay. The quarter produced no goals and York were looking far more positive.
The second change of end was a return to the action witnessed in the first quarter – four goals for Leeds as they attacked the deeper end of the pool and once again York seemed unable to cope. Any attacks launched by York were effectively repelled by Leeds, who consistently punished them on the counter. Defending the shallow end seems to be York’s speciality, however, and once again they were much tighter in the last quarter, conceding only two and finishing strongly – unlucky to be without a score to their credit.
The scoreline may look unfavourable, but there were a lot of positives to take from this match. The women have had a pretty torrid season but have been improving and today was the next step for a fairly inexperienced team. They seemed upbeat at the end, and given that for most of the game they played in a spirited and competitive manner any encouragement taken is well deserved.
York Line-up: Jodie Wilkes, Emily Scott, Emily Hirst, Tharaki Siyaguna, Rachael Spanton, Nina Moss, Krissie Blenkharn, Cass Walker, Sian Waldron