Lacrosse men’s firsts secure league title

York men’s lacrosse firsts wrapped up the title with a 14-4 win over closest rivals Durham seconds on Wednesday afternoon, and are now on the brink of promotion


Images: Petroc Taylor

A sensational team performance was enough to hand York men’s lacrosse firsts a deserved 14-4 over closest rivals, Durham seconds on Wednesday afternoon. The win means that York secure the BUCS Northern 2B title with a 100% record, and are now on the brink of promotion to Division One.

With York sat top and Durham second before the game, there was a tense atmosphere at the start as the ‘winner takes all’ match began to develop. Both sides were well-prepared for a strong contest, and the Black & Gold quickly went on the attack. It was easy to see why these two sides occupy the top spots in Division Two, with a real showcase of talent on display at the 3G.

With a pulsating opening few minutes gone, York took the lead as Andy Thomas worked hard to get into the area and put the ball into the back of the net. York were lifted by taking the early lead, and quickly doubled it as club president Andrew Chalmers scrambled the ball over the line.

Two goals then became three when Dan Ball seized control of play after a Durham attack and calmly scored to give the Black and Gold a comfortable lead in the opening ten minutes. However, Durham’s quality was also clear and the game remained tense and highly-charged. Thomas soon made an excellent run up the pitch, but was thwarted, before Durham went on the attack themselves. From this, they managed to grab a goal back and at the end of the quarter, the game was close at 3-1 to York.

In the second period of play, Durham started with intent and very quickly scored two well-worked goals to bring the scores level. For a short period, this seemed to have York rattled and the away side were clearly in the ascendancy. However, an excellent team move then culminated in Thomas finding the net for the second time in the match, once again handing York the advantage.

Very quickly, York then extended their lead back up to two goals when Chalmers’ shot from the edge of the area found its way into the net. By this time, a significantly-sized crowd was gathering on the touchline to support the Black and Gold. However, given the importance of the fixture, Durham refused to lie down and pulled themselves back into it at 5-4 with what was probably the goal of the game.

The away side’s fourth spurred York on to attack, and Thomas soon made it 6-4. Swiftly after, a great team move initiated by Josh Illsley then resulted in Thomas once again finding the net. This convinced the North East side to call a time-out, with them in danger of losing a foothold in the game. After the restart however, Joe Tebbutt struck gold from the edge of the area and ensured that at half time, York held an impressive 8-4 lead.

As with the previous period of play, Durham began the third quarter well, but some brilliant defensive work from captain Greg Markes ensured that they could not find a way through a solid York back-line. Theo Paquet then worked the ball out of defence, and Illsley scored a real poacher’s goal from the edge of the area to give York a five-goal advantage.

Nevertheless, the match remained end-to-end and Durham continued to demonstrate their strengths as a team. Markes was again at hand soon after to ensure that any danger was mopped up at the back. After a period of patient possession, Thomas picked up the ball in the middle of the park and slotted home with rapid execution, before the opponents had the opportunity to react. And soon after, York’s eleventh goal followed as Ball grabbed another, which forced Durham into their second time-out of the match just moments before the third period came to an end.

In the final quarter, the match seemed to slow down in pace as York gained control. Illsley did well to score from a tight angle, before Thomas quickly followed this up with another. These two goals in quick succession seemed to knock the stuffing out of Durham, and ended the game as any real contest. With York retaining possession and dictating the pace of the match, their build-up play was patient and measured. Will Kosek pulled the strings well from the back, and this paid off as Thomas was able to round off the scoring at 14-4 shortly before the final whistle.

After the match, a delighted Greg Markes, club captain, told Nouse: “Promotion isn’t quite secure yet. We’ve managed to win the league and I’m really proud of that, but our work is definitely not over. We’ve still got the cup, and to secure promotion we have to win that and probably win another play off.
“But we’re going to enjoy this. We’re top of the league, and it’s a great feeling.”

Man of the Match: Josh Illsley

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

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