They might have had to endure one of the most convoluted routes to promotion of any university sport team, but women’s fencing are the toast of York today after they beat Newcastle 123-83 to reach Premier North.
This was their third promotion play-off, having already overcome Liverpool and Loughborough to reach the final, but the comprehensive victory on Wednesday guaranteed their place in the highest echelon of British university sport. Edinburgh, Birmingham and Durham are among the opponents in wait for next season as York could finally celebrate a representative at the highest level of the BUCS system, following the disappointment of the UYRUFC firsts being denied promotion on an administrative technicality last month.
The team completed the regular league season with a 100% winning record and then battled through the play-off system. They have suffered just one defeat in 2009-2010, against Oxford University in the BUCS Cup. Captain Kat Chzhen understandably proclaimed herself “very, very happy” with the result.
Newcastle took an early advantage in the sabre, their strongest weapon, but York recovered to win the first five bouts of the foil with Katherine Gracey, Louise Highton and Kate Horner establishing a ten point lead entering the épée.
In the final discipline, York showed their class, taking it 45-15, with Highton, Gracey and Becky Ellis guiding them to glory. Emily Scott, the York Sport President, commented that it was “a great victory” and the team “were incredible.”
In Wednesday’s other sport, the UYRUFC seconds now find themselves neck and neck with city rivals St. John at the top of League 3B after outclassing Sheffield Hallam thirds 66-5. York had beaten Hallam seconds 17-15 on Monday night and spared no mercy here as two early tries from Will Felgate set the tone. Hallam didn’t help themselves with some poor kicking and, at times, were opened up with effortless ease.
The UYRUFC seconds, who are very well placed for promotion to League 2B, host Sunderland on Sunday and then travel to York St. John on the final afternoon next Wednesday. Photograph by Peter Iveson.
York would look well-placed to gain promotion given their superior points difference, but with the league likely to be determined on head-to-head records, their 5-32 defeat at home to St. John back in December looks costly. However, the two sides meet across town in the final fixture of the season next Wednesday and a large win, coupled with three points at home to Sunderland on Sunday in their penultimate game, could see them take the championship.
The women’s hockey firsts’ hopes of bouncing back to League 2B at the first attempt took a hit following a 1-0 away defeat to title rivals Leeds University thirds. York now trail their Yorkshire neighbours by six points with only one fixture remaining.
In the day’s badminton action, the women’s firsts won 6-2 for the second successive week, Huddersfield the victims this time after Durham were beat last Wednesday. The side are currently third in League 2B, with promotion unfortunately out of their grasp as Sheffield Hallam enjoy a ten-point lead.
The men’s basketball team halted their recent slide of five consecutive defeats with a 70-55 win against Huddersfield and look set for a comfortable mid-table finish. The men’s squash seconds ended a poor sequence of six defeats by beating Leeds University thirds 2-1 in a relegation six-pointer.
The UYAFC fourths trounced Bradford seconds 7-0 on the road, the netball thirds lost 30-66 against Leeds Met fourths and the women’s lacrosse seconds were defeated 8-13 by Sheffield University in the day’s other sport.