For the most part, the Easter break is a time to rest and relax at home after a long winter term, but for some of York’s premier sportsmen and women it turned into a chance to gain York some valuable BUCS points. It has been a period of much success for the men’s lacrosse firsts, the men’s table tennis firsts and the women’s basketball firsts respectively.
A successful sporting period was led by the men’s firsts lacrosse, triumphing in the BUCS Northern Conference Cup with a hard fought 11-6 victory over divisional rivals Leeds men’s firsts. Cup victory was made all the more sweet as York dealt Leeds, who has been previously been unbeaten, their first loss of the season and went one better than their league result where they only managed a draw.
York had looked elimination in the face at the semi-final stage – two scores down in the third quarter before a miraculous late rally to pip Durham seconds – but the turnaround in fortunes will give them the much needed confidence to take into the showdown with Lancaster’s lacrosse side at Roses, whom York defeated 19-6 in 2010.
Switching to the indoor sports, the men’s table tennis firsts also fired a warning shot to Lancaster in preparation for Roses, defeating our historical rivals 10-6 to also bask in cup glory. In what has been to a season to remember for the ping pong heroes, finishing a close second to Durham in BUCS Northern Conference 2B, York produced a stunning display when it mattered most to take down a side that romped home to victory in the equivalent BUCS division over the other side of the Pennines.
The women’s basketball firsts made it a triple header of wins for York, sauntering home to league glory in BUCS Northern Conference 3B and putting the ghost of last season to rest, where they missed out on promotion by half a point. A twelve point gap between nearest challengers Newcastle seconds underlined a side that could be in the process of resurrecting their fortunes after relegation two years ago. A strong intake of freshers and the retention of some key third year players formed the base for York to realise their potential, according to captain Lydie Mariutto. Mariutto enthused at the prospect of rekindling a rivalry with Newcastle firsts, who they edged out by three points in a run to the semi-finals of the cup this season.
The breadth of success across a variety of sporting disciplines again highlights the ever increasing diversity of sport on offer at York, which totals fifty nine clubs. With a home Roses tournament looming and both universities investing in sports – York with £9 million development on Heslington East and Lancaster scheduled to open their new £20 million development this summer – both institutions are looking to add a sporting dimension to their university experience, already boasting strong academic reputations.
The results leaves York in 49th in the latest BUCS standings, five places down on 2009/2010 but a mere eight points behind Lancaster (who sit 47th). York remains a considerable distance in front of Varsity rivals Hull (69th) and cross city rivals York St John (96th).