A tense 10-10 draw ensured that the honours and points were shared between York and Lancaster in this year’s Roses men’s lacrosse clash. Having beaten Lancaster twice already this season in the BUCS calendar, Greg Markes’ side were disappointed not to complete a treble of victories over their fierce rivals. Nonetheless, there were plenty of positives to take from a superb attacking display, spearheaded by the lively Andy Thomas and marksman Daniel Ball.
The White Rose began the game with strong attacking intent, though it was the visitors who had the clearest early chance, as York ‘keeper George Balmford showcased his quick reactions to keep out a threatening Lancaster shot. Balmford’s save sparked York into life, and the hosts were soon ahead after fine play from Andy Thomas, who launched the ball home for a 1-0 lead. Not long after, the hosts doubled their advantage through Dan Ball.
The Red Rose mustered a response, as they pulled one back with a well-constructed counter-attack, but were unable to prevent Ball from earning himself a rapid-fire hat trick with two quick goals to take the scores to 4-1. York failed to protect their comfortable lead, however. In a topsy-turvy closing period to the first quarter, Lancaster pulled back two further goals to reduce the arrears to 4-3, and leave themselves within touching distance by the start of the second quarter.
The second period began with the two sides trading attacks, with both defences holding firm. Lancaster were initially restricted to shots from the edge of the area. The lull in goalmouth activity was not to last, however, as a flurry of goals ensured that Lancaster had brought themselves level to 5-5. Sensing the Red Rose’s growing threat, the home crowd’s support grew increasingly vocal, with the megaphone-led banter reaching new heights.
York’s vice-captain Michael Steele-Moore sought to launch a fresh offensive on Lancaster with a darting run, and his energy resulted in a broken stick following a collision with a Lancaster defender. The second quarter came to a halt with the scoreline finely poised at 5-5.
The White Rose started the second-half relentlessly, seeking to regain their lead in front of their goal-hungry supporters, and Sam Pick duly obliged with a fine finish to re-establish York’s lead at 6-5. To their credit, however, Lancaster were unperturbed, and produced some fine lacrosse for the remainder of the third quarter. They equalised following a well-worked training ground routine, and as Andy Thomas once again reasserted York’s lead at 7-6, Lancaster again produced a riposte to level up at 7-7.
Buoyed by their continuous ability to respond to York’s attacking prowess, the Red Rose then stunned the hosts by taking the lead for the first time in the match, finding a defensive gap to lead 8-7. Suddenly, the hosts found themselves two goals behind at 9-7, with the game threatening to slip away. Goalkeeper Balmford produced some form to ensure Lancaster did not extend their lead, as the visitors deservedly went into the final quarter with their lead intact.
The final quarter was predictably intense, but York responded, as Dan Ball once again provided the finish. The equaliser followed not long after, and York went for the jugular as the clock ticked down. Captain Markes rallied the team, and Sam Pick lashed home what appeared to be a superb winner, taking the score to 10-9 with just five minutes remaining. There was a final sting in the tail, however, as the away side ensured they came away with a share of the spoils, equalising at 10-10 following a time-out. The final whistle brought what had been a tense clash to an end.
After the game, Greg Markes told Nouse: ‘We played against a really good Lancaster team. We’ve beaten them twice already this season, but they came out firing on all pistons. We unfortunately led our early lead slip by half-time. After they went two goals ahead, I thought we showed great character to get back to a goal ahead in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately it wasn’t our day. We put our bodies on the line and it was a great effort overall.
‘As always, our star player Andy Thomas shone, as did our other attackman Dan Ball. Michael Steele-Moore was instrumental in defence, but it was a team performance. Everyone put in 100% and I’m proud of them all.’