York crush Sheffield Hallam to maintain perfect start

York men’s lacrosse firsts thumped South Yorkshire side Sheffield Hallam 35-0 on Wednesday to remain top of the league and move closer towards Division One


Images: Petroc Taylor

York lacrosse men’s firsts began 2014 with a huge victory over Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Hallam on Wednesday, to maintain their 100% record in the league this season and inch closer towards promotion to Division One.

In chilly conditions on the 3G, the home side made a strong statement of intent from the off as Andy Thomas fired into the back of the net from close range to open the scoring. This was then quickly followed up by a Tom Beetham goal and a well-worked team effort which was eventually slotted away by club president, Andrew Chalmers.

Having built up a commanding lead in the opening 3 minutes, it was clear that it was going to be York’s day, and they were already putting themselves in total control as Thomas once again scored to hand his side a four-goal advantage. The Black & Gold were employing direct tactics and attacking aggressively, putting the Hallam defence under sustained pressure and punishing every mistake they made.

Progressing down the left, Sam Pick fed the ball forward for Beetham to score his second, before Dan Ball and Chalmers decided to also get in on the act to bring York’s lead up to 7-0. Switching play, Nile Portal then released the ball down the right wing for Michael Steele-Moore to smash the ball home, followed by another great goal from Ball which made it 9-0 with the game still in its infancy.

The ball eventually entered the York half for the first time in the match in the tenth minute, but strong work from Matt Harris and captain, Greg Markes snuffed out what turned out to be a relatively weak Sheffield Hallam attack. The South Yorkshire side were punished for not taking their chance when it came, as Thomas then scored three more goals in quick succession. Chalmers then slotted home another, and Thomas finished off York’s fourteenth goal of the game as the first quarter came to a close, with the home side running riot.

At the start of the second period of play, Chalmers scored the goal of the game as he picked up the ball in his own half and made an excellent run into the area to cap off a superb individual effort. It was soon 16-0 as Joe Tebbutt capitalised on some good work from Pick and Josh Illsley to once again lay the holes in Hallam’s defence bare. A further flurry of goals sailed past the away side’s beleaguered goalkeeper in the ensuing quarter, as Tebbutt, Ball and Thomas each scored a further one, two, and three goals respectively. York held an impressive 22-0 scoreline at the half-way point, and the game was effectively over.

In the third quarter, York continued to dominate proceedings and were more patient in possession, playing some attractive lacrosse as they worked openings in their opponents’ defence. Chalmers scored York’s 23rd goal, before Thomas and Tebbutt made it 25-0. As the match progressed, York maintained their control of play, and after Chalmers found the net once again, Harris and Illsley both added their names to the score sheet with skilfully executed goals. Ball and Beetham then also scored to ensure that with just fifteen minutes left to play, the score was 30-0 to York.

Before the start of the fourth quarter, talk on the touchline concerned whether York could match or beat their biggest win of the season, a 39-1 victory away at Durham Thirds. Nevertheless, Sheffield Hallam were more defensively solid in the last 15 minutes with the game already gone, making the Black & Gold work hard for their remaining goals.

After some frustrating build-up play, Markes provided a great ball for Thomas to make it 31-0, and the 32nd, 33rd and 34th goals soon followed as Hallam’s confidence was once again knocked. Shortly before the final whistle, Steele-More also joined in the action having worked hard all game, and the match finished an extremely convincing 35-0 to the home team.

York now face an enthralling home game against second-placed Durham Seconds next week, with both sides on 15 points having won all five of their opening fixtures. The outcome of the match may go a long way to deciding who clinches promotion at the end of this campaign.

Speaking after the match, York captain Greg Markes told Nouse; “I’m very pleased that we managed to get a big score on the board. The boys put out a pretty magical game today. We used our staffs well and got the result we deserved.”

Man of the match: Andy Thomas

York squad: Steele-Moore, Ball, Thomas, Beetham, Harris, Balmford, Chalmers, Markes (C), Portal, Pick, Tebbutt, Illsley, Kosek.

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