Wednesday 5 November 2008
Sports teams of all varieties and expectations clocking up mileage, criss-crossing the north in eager pursuit of that precious and hard-earned commodity; BUCS points – it must be Wednesday. York’s teams did battle on grass, Astroturf and concrete, duelling with swords, sticks and rackets, but there would always be mixed fortunes, as so it transpired.
The men’s badminton firsts have undeniably hit the ground running this season and a flawless record in the doubles contest formed the nucleus for a 5-3 victory at home to Northumbria, their third successive triumph. Both doubles pairs – William Wiseman, the team captain, and Patrick Clarke as well as Ricky Kanabar and John Choi – were undefeated, although encouragement could also be found in the singles performances. Unfortunately, the men’s seconds slipped to a 5-3 defeat away to a strong Durham side, but the women’s team collected a valuable point in drawing 4-4 at Northumbria, maintaining their unbeaten start.
With the women’s fixture postponed because of a late injury in the Sheffield Hallam team, the only volleyball on offer was the men’s match against the same opponents. Despite a spirited fight back from a disjointed start, York were beaten in straight sets by the Steel City outfit, whose clear advantage in height and confidence paid dividends. The team must dust themselves down for a pivotal double-header against Leeds Met in the next two weeks, as they seek to maintain their lofty berth in BUCS northern division 1A.
An exemplary performance from York captain Harry Whitwell in the foil discipline delivered York’s fencing team a 135-119 victory over Newcastle. The points were gained through York’s competence in all three forms of the sport, as they emerged victorious in the epee and sabre as well, preserving their winning start after victory over Keele last time out. Away at Northumbria, there were contrasting fortunes for the women’s team, who slipped to a narrow 117-128 reverse.
Out on the 22 Acres, the women’s rugby team cruised to a 29-5 win over Hull, Emma Cooper grabbing two tries in a gritty team showing which continues the feel-good factor from the 2007-2008 season, which saw promotion in the BUCS system and victories at Varsity and Roses. On the adjacent pitch, the men’s seconds were edged out 19-12 by Northumbria fourths and travel to Bradford next for an important-looking basement battle. York’s thirds were defeated by their Leeds counterparts 24-0 as the search for the season’s first victory continues.
After a glut of goals in their last two fixtures, against York fourths (BUCS Cup) and Bradford (NUL), the football firsts lost their way at Durham, crashing 3-0 and in the process hammering home the difficult realities of their new league. Back at home, the seconds were beaten 3-1 by high-flying Northumbria fourths, bringing to a sudden halt an impressive four-match winning sequences. There was a thrilling climax to the third’s home fixture with York St. John fourths: a stoppage time winner for the hosts moments after the cross-city rivals had squared the score at 2-2. The fourth team, meanwhile, made light work of Hull sixths, winning 6-1 on the road.
It was an exceedingly disappointing afternoon for York’s hockey teams as defensive competence went out the window. The first team suffered a jolt following last week’s BUCS Cup victory as Durham seconds smashed five goals without answer, while the seconds were unable to set aside their cup heartache, going down 4-0 at Northumbria.
In the netball action, York firsts were rather heavily defeated at Huddersfield by 54-27, although victories in their opening two BUCS League matches against Northumbria and Sunderland recently mean they remain third in Northern Conference 4B. The second team snatched a dramatic draw at Leeds Trinity and All Saints, the match finishing 31-31, while the thirds easily beat Sunderland seconds 48-8.
York’s tennis teams slipped to narrow reverses on home territory: the men’s seconds very credibly losing 4-6 to Teesside firsts and the women’s firsts by an identical score to Leeds Met thirds. The men’s firsts were on their travels, unfortunately well beaten 8-2 by Durham seconds.