York open NEMLA campaign with resounding win

The men’s lacrosse team beat Heaton Mersey in fine style on Saturday afternoon in the perfect start to their season

Photograph: George Lowther

Photograph: George Lowther


Saturday 10th October 2009 – North of England Men’s Lacrosse Association Division Five

The men of the University of York lacrosse team must have sorely missed their sport of choice during the summer break, judging by the way they ripped into Heaton Mersey on the 22 Acres this afternoon. A goal to the good after thirty seconds, they didn’t once look back in an uncompromising performance against modest opposition.

Heaton Mersey’s ‘A’ team compete in the top flight of the North of England Men’s Association (NEMLA) pyramid but, fortunately, their ‘C’ outfit, a collection of middle-aged enthusiasts who conversed impenetrably in Scouse, proved a pale imitation in this one-sided contest.

For Benedict Robinson, York’s goalkeeper in his first game as Captain, and who was understandably nervous beforehand, the 14-5 result was the perfect tonic. “It was a fantastic debut to the season, several players were outstanding,” he gushed at the final whistle.

York’s mystery man – who can only be alluded to as ‘Beanz,’ in unflattering testament to his energy levels – thundered his team into the lead from the edge of the attacking third before Michael ‘Stash’ Leahy, the official, could even locate his whistle. And in the time it would take to boil up one of the 57 varieties, York had opened a three-goal advantage through Luke Shilling and Rob Cosslett.


Krishna Balan, battling here for possession, was outstanding in York’s 14-5 triumph over Heaton Mersey on Saturday. Photograph by George Lowther.

It wasn’t just a lead, it was a gaping chasm. Krishna Balan was ubiquitous and tireless, darting here and there to snare the ball. James Menon had been blessed with boundless energy as well, controlling his flank without fuss. By the fifth minute, ‘Beanz,’ an international with USA West – a composite of Californian talent – was showboating with the visiting team, who largely ignored pleas to ‘get stuck in.’

Phil Harrold slammed home a fourth on the stroke of quarter-time, in order to settle the game. The second quarter brought no respite for the Scousers, who looked cut adrift. Robinson, meanwhile, had seen his pre-match anxiety evaporate into undistilled tedium as the game unfolded at the opposite end. Cosslett, ‘Beanz’ and Balan were the protagonists as a 7-0 gap was established.


York on one their many attacks during Saturday’s game. Photograph by George Lowther.

Given the freedom of the park, Balan netted again for eight and there was touchline talk of replicating the unprecedented 28-0 annihilation of Lancaster at Roses. Thankfully, Mersey finally remembered their basics and grabbed a consolation as half-time beckoned.

An interval in which Robinson warned against complacency sandwiched another Mersey goal but, with York dictating, and decelerating, the tempo, a comeback was never even a remote possibility. Balan completed his hat-trick out of the blue, Cosslett rang up the double figures and Menon – a.k.a. the guy who never scores – scored. That’s six in two matches if the Roses match in May is counted – rather prolific.

With the exemplary fitness standards promised by new York Coach Jim Lenke not quite in evidence, the final quarter proved open, with the guests claiming some crumbs of comfort by matching the home side’s scoring. Cosslett raised his personal tally to five with a late brace, before Balan, fittingly given his man-of-the-match display, notched the fourteenth to cap a fine afternoon.

The skipper, Robinson, was cautious, however: “We have a tough game against Birmingham in this division next weekend, with the first BUCS fixture against Hull in midweek. Hopefully we’ll see another win there.”

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