York women’s lacrosse firsts once again claimed victory in their Roses fixture, in what has become a regular source of points for the White Rose over the last few years. Although their Lancaster opponents demonstrated the determination and spirit that is typical of an away Roses side, this match was bordering on uncompetitive at times, as York’s class showed through in style.
The home side made a statement of intent early on, as they raced into a large lead. The first goal was scored by York captain, Chloe Searle, after a well-worked move. Connie Shaw then rapidly added a second, and Joy Mendes de Costa chipped in with a third, as the White Rose turned the screw, dominating possession and dictating the pace of the game.
Claire Thomas added the fourth and fifth goals in quick succession, before another two were added just moments later, including a fantastically-worked team goal, which Searle slotted home. At the end of the first quarter, it was already not a matter of whether York would claim victory, but the size of the winning margin; although their play was not faultless, they had more than enough ability and scope to cover for slight lapses.
After the first break, York continued in dominant fashion, as Thomas and Shaw both added further goals to their respective tallies, to bring the overall score up to 9-0. Searle and de Costa were important to the York dynamic, although in truth, their dominance was based upon a consistently strong team performance.
Thomas demonstrated skilful confidence as she played in Kitty Leech, who made a good run, but the Lancaster keeper made a good save. Searle soon netted another, before Shaw also once again found the back of the net to make it 11-0. However, if York had creations on whitewashing their opponents, then it wasn’t to be as, after a rare attack, Lancaster worked their way into the area well and slotted home past Beth Reynolds for a consolation goal.
Lizzie Fox went close to scoring shortly afterwards, before she teed up Thomas for another scoring opportunity. However, the latter’s powerful shot was well-saved amidst some scrappy Lancastrian defending. However, before the end of the second quarter, Bronte Johnson got in on the act to make it 12-1 to the White Rose.
With the damage already done in the first two periods of play, the game began to slow down in the third quarter in the 22 Acres heat, and both sides seemed more relaxed in the systems they adopted. The highlight of this period of the game was a deft turn from Searle close to the Lancaster goal, and she finished with aplomb to score her side’s thirteenth goal of the day – matching the number of goals scored at Lancaster in 2014, with more than a quarter of the match still to play. Shaw then added two more before the end of the quarter to make it a resounding 15-1 scoreline going into the home strait.
As the final quarter got underway, both sides began to wind down and were happy to keep possession when they could. However, York weren’t quite finished yet, and the sixteenth goal was set up by Aine Moylett, as she picked up the ball, turned brilliantly and attacked with intent. Shaw added a seventeenth, before a rare Lancaster attack down the right presented York with a defensive problem. However, even though their back-line had been breached, Reynolds, who was a spectator for much of the game, had the danger covered.
One of the final acts of this contest – and for a number of third year York players who were playing their final match as a team before graduation – was a dynamic move between Thomas and Searle. However, they couldn’t find the back of the net again. It was Lancaster that scored the final goal of the game, but ultimately it didn’t matter, and York ran out comfortable 17-2 winners on the day.
Speaking after the match, outgoing York captain Chloe Searle told Nouse, “It’s been an absolute pleasure to captain this team for this season. I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of girls. The third years going out this year have been wonderful and I couldn’t ask for a more welcoming bunch of people.
“I have absolutely no worries about handing over to Laura Carruthers for next year. It’s been a wonderful year, and it’s the end of an era. I’ve enjoyed every second of it.”
York squad: Beth Reynolds (GK), Laura Carruthers, Rebecca Pay Savage, Aine Moylett, Kitty Leech, Abi Marcroft, Chloe Searle, Claire Thomas, Connie Shaw, Fenella Houlten, Hattie Whillans, Joy Mendes de Costa, Katie Gordon, Alex Bell, Amy Blumsom, Lucy Carr-Archer, Lizzie Fox, Bronte Johnson, Rachel Thompson.
Player of the match: Chloe Searle