The YUSU ‘One to Watch’ this week was unsurprisingly the Netball Club’s 1s fixture against Sheffield 2s, to coincide with York’s ‘This Girl Can’ week; the fixture also came just a day after Nouse exclusively announced that Netball will be taking centre stage in the Roses Opening Ceremony, so naturally all eyes were on the local sporting celebrities of the week.
In what was a great settler for any early Roses nerves, a cracking atmosphere was drummed up in the Heslington West Sport Arena, with visitors from Heslington based Lord Deramore’s Primary School forming a wall of sound to spur the home side on.
York haven’t had an ideal start to the season; already out of the cup and having lost two of their opening three league games. Although last week’s convincing victory over bottom side Leeds Beckett 3s has seemingly sparked a turnaround. The University of Sheffield 2s arrived at the Sport Arena also with just one win this season, rooted bottom of the Northern 3B League on goal difference.
The opening quarter was a tense affair, ending 12-12. There was little to separate the two sides, setting up what many assumed would be a close encounter for the remaining 45 minutes. However, York were able to pull away in the next 15 minutes, taking a slender lead of 28-21 into the half time break.
Sheffield were on top for the early stages of the third quarter, reducing York’s lead to just five points after 10 minutes of the 15 allotted. The realisation that their lead was under threat spurred York on to regroup and go again to reclaim their half-time cushion, and as such they reclaimed dominance over the quarter, pushing the points gap to nine, a 42nd point being scored for York on the stroke of the buzzer, leaving the score at 42-33 at the end of the third quarter, a comfortable but not unassailable lead for the hosts.
York kept their focus upon the start of the final quarter, pushing the lead to 13 points after just five minutes, the scoreboard reading 48-35 with 10 to go. Sheffield were somewhat resilient, creating many chances to reel the York side in, but some wayward shooting meant that those chances went begging and York cemented their superiority through some top class shooting from captain Pascale Fisher. The game as a spectacle was end-to-end and exciting for the onlooking kids, who were so supportive and loud that one would have been forgiven for mistaking them for some Netball ‘ultra’ super-fans. Towards the end of the match, a Sheffield personnel change saw their finishing problems ease and save some valuable goal difference, but ultimately York were the better team, taking the victory by a score of 56-42. At the end of the match, the York team showed their class in greeting their faithful supporters with a swathe of hi-5s and hugs, which were warmly received.
This was the Netball 1s best performance for some time, notching their highest points tally since the 26th November 2014 when they overcame Liverpool 2s 61-30. The team certainly benefitted from the loud support, showing they can not only cope with the pressure of spectators, but thrive from it. The win puts York on six points, level on points with Leeds 4s, Sheffield 2s and Sheffield Hallam 2s. Leeds 3s lead the way on nine points, but York will be looking to chase this down as the season goes on.
50% of York Netball 1s BUCS Victories in 2018 have been against Sheffield. (2/4)
This was the most York have scored in a BUCS match for 1,456 days, since they beat Liverpool 2s in November 2014.