No damp spirits despite defeat for women’s hockey firsts

York women produce an encouraging display but eventually are defeated 2-0 by Durham firsts in BUCS…


BUCS Northern Conference Women’s 2B, Wednesday 12th November 2008

Ever since David first lobbed a stone on to Goliath’s bonce, it has been widely recognised that underdogs sometimes pull something a bit special out of the bag and take out the big guy. York were certainly the underdogs going into this game against a very strong and organised Durham team that had dominated their previous three matches.

Also, York hadn’t had the best start with one defeat and two draws to their name for the season to date. The odds it seemed were stacked against them. The sun was setting on the horizon, as usual, and the moon was fat in the sky, lending an eerie atmosphere to the occasion. Could there be an upset on the cards?

Sadly for the romantics amongst us, the answer was ‘no’. The odds had been correctly stacked and Goliath metaphorically ducked the stone: Durham’s class and organisation told, particularly in a second half during which York faced a perpetual barrage of pressure in their own half.

But it hadn’t always been that way because for the first 30 minutes York held their own. York midfielder Andrea Pisesky exerted an increasing influence on the game, with her dextrous wrist movements and turns befuddling the opposition. The hosts played some free-flowing stuff and frequently encroached into Durham’s territory.

But like a dragon perturbed by a presumptuous knight errant, Durham struck back with aggression and poise. After securing a short corner, the north-east outfit found a way through the miasma of yellow and black shirts to clip home the equaliser past the excellent Cass ‘Cassie’ Barker between the posts. The first goal, as so often in sport, was to be crucial.

Firsts Hockey vs. Durham Seconds, 12.11.08, Photo: George Lowther.

York put in a battling display but couldn’t get the win

(George Lowther)

From them on, York struggled to find a way past the worryingly Teutonic ruthlessness of Durham. The theme of the second half was York resistance to a torrent of Durham pressure and short corners. While York struggled to clear their lines in defence, the superb Durham midfielder Katie Gledhill started to run the show in midfield with some classy, guileful play.

Alas, the pressure told, with Durham once again capitalising on another short corner, with a rebound strike by Katie Astin, and proceeded to close out the game against a valiant but, by the end, exhausted, York defence.

While there was disappointment after the game that the giant-killing had not come about, there were positives to be taken. York can certainly take heart that the new brood of freshers were certainly not wet behind the ears, and showed a maturity beyond their relative inexperience at university level.

Firsts Hockey vs. Durham Seconds, 12.11.08, Photo: George Lowther.

Lizzie Hollins runs at the Durham defence (George Lowther)

York’s Captain Jaimie Unsworth justly singled out the two freshers, Laura Pepper and Imy Eldergill, for particular praise in wake of the defeat. So as the sun set on the day, the clouds relumed pink, the game but a memory, both sides trudged off for the post match ritual of the warm down. York may well have lost the game, but they could also hold out hope for a bright future.

York squad: Cass Barker (gk); Imy Eldergill , Charlie Bartlett; Jaimie Unsworth (c) , Laura Pepper, Anna Smith, Katie Wilson, Andrea Pisesky, Lizzie Hollin  s, Becky Bradley, Leila Asrari, Karen Wallace.

Durham Squad: Fiona Smith, Lauren Aspden (c), Helena Parker, Kate Ashby, Anneke Kent, Kate Gledhill, Sanna Pearson, Kat Hart, Claire Whitworth, Amy Bell, Katie Astin, Kate Le Serve, Steph Thompson

In the day’s other hockey action, the men’s first team travelled across the city to confront York St. John, but succumbed by a 3-1 scoreline. There were better fortunes for the seconds, however, who romped to a 5-1 victory over Sheffield University, courtesy of goals from Will Fresson, Rich Morton, Joe Lancaster, Matt North and Gordon Harrison.