Vanbrugh were pitted against Durham’s Castle in the mixed hockey firsts fixture. Vanbrugh fought hard until the full-time whistle in this nail-biting encounter, ultimately losing 5-3.
Vanbrugh started the game with a high pressing and attacking mentality, which clearly paid off as they took the lead almost immediately after push-back.
Rory Blight’s powerful hit surged up the pitch and found lone striker James Walsh, who skilfully manoeuvred passed the Durham defence and struck the ball high and to the right of goal, giving Vanbrugh the lead.
However, Castle replied instantly with clever play. Durham pressurised York at the half-way line and secured their first goal of the game as they worked the ball well outside the circle and converted a tap-in at the far post.
After an explosive start, Castle and Vanbrugh began to cancel each other out as both attacked in numbers and at pace. Vanbrugh’s Andrew Watters often found himself marked by several Castle players, however, he consistently managed to find space to run at goal and carry the ball up field.
Castle played to their advantages as they frequently played down the wings, pushing threatening balls into the D. Castle’s high pressing and quick succession of attacks paid off as they took the lead. This time, they simply outnumbered Vanbrugh in front of goal.
Though the goal was not the most aesthetically pleasing, Castle had established a two goal lead for the first time. Castle fought hard to extend and maintain the lead. Tabas in the Vanbrugh goal made a series for phenomenal saves.
As the game approached the 35-minute mark, Castle extended their lead to 3-1. The Durham side sustained their high tempo, attacking rhythm as Vanbrugh were pushed another step further away from Varsity glory.
The ball fell to the Castle striker, who hit low and powerfully slotted the ball into the goal. The game reached half time with Castle leading Vanbrugh 3-1.
The second half saw Castle solidify their hold on the game. Castle won a long corner and were able to intricately pass the ball between themselves and convert the attack into a goal.
Despite this, the second half continued at a ferocious pace with Rory Blight enthusing his team to push on and play to their best.
This soon paid dividends as Lennox’s fine run and slap shot was directed passed the Durham ‘keeper by James Swash, taking the score to a thrilling 4-2.
However, this enthralling game soon reached its climax as Castle almost took a three goal lead, but York were resilient and continued to persevere through their fatigue.
This was encapsulated by super-sub Dom Scott, who raced forward, passing several Durham players, and slotted home. Durham added some gloss to the scoreline, scoring the game’s eighth and their fifth of the game, meaning the game ended 5-3.