Netball 3's match takes the roof off the arena

29/04/2023

York clinch a point in the netball 3's

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By Lilly Turley

If you want a match that leaves you clinging to the edge of your seat, this is the one for you. Both teams have had great seasons in BUCs, fuelled on determination and confidence as they went into this match this Saturday morning bright and early.

Immediately, the crowd was stirring. Split into Lancaster and York respectively the divide was obvious through the wave of red suddenly being cut off by the wave of white directly next to it, homemade banners and signs supporting each University and specific players dotted throughout.

The game was off to a striking start as the players immediately darted the ball down the court landing it in the Lancaster D. Their GS scoring gave Lancaster the first goal of the game, motivating the players that victory could be on the horizon. York however was not going to accept defeat and immediately fired back, upping their midcourt defence and delivering the ball

back to their territory for the chance to score. It was obvious that it was going to be a fast-paced match as the ball was zigzagging across the court at such a pace that interception was a constant in this first quarter. York soon managed to eventually gain the upper hand again, landing themselves in the lead with a score of 10-9 to York at the end of the first quarter, a leading score that would continue throughout the rest of the game. That is to say, that Lancaster wasn't going to give them an easy time at maintaining this stride to victory.

By the start of the second quarter, technical difficulties were remedied and the broadcast finally had commentary (aside from a brief mysterious voice stating “hello, hello, hello is this mic live? I hope this mic isn’t live. Testing, testing” which of course, was broadcasted with the game as the mic was, in fact, live). It was clear throughout all quarter breaks that some serious strategizing was taking place leaving us excited in anticipation as to what was going to come next.

The second quarter would see York storming ahead with the points, scoring three goals in just the time it took the commentators to go through the team line-ups. If you’re familiar with Netball you’ll know that, despite it being a ‘no-contact’ sport, netball players are very well acquainted with receiving an elbow to the face and smacking down on the floor, respectively. This game was no exception with the Lancaster WA meeting the floor early on in the second quarter but thankfully no injury or penalty occurred and the game continued until a timeout was called a few minutes later and she was switched with another player.

The crowd during the second quarter was increasingly mild, especially compared to the first quarter. It appeared that this was mainly as a result of York’s score driving up considerably, leaving the typically loud Lancaster crowds feeling potentially dejected. Despite York racking up the goals, Lancaster wasn't sitting back idly, they were gaining the goals too just not as rapidly as York. However with both teams consistently scoring, it was constantly all to play for, the crowd always knowing it could go either way at any time.

At half time, the score was 21-14 to York. Lancaster’s team message to their opposition was a very simple ‘watch out.’ How ominous…

The third quarter was fairly similar to that of the second, the scores were both creeping up but with York already with that seven point advantage, it was now harder for Lancaster to visualise themselves being the ones to take home the trophy. That is until the tides started to turn and the ball found a new regular home in the Lancaster shooters’ hands. The seven point divide was slowly diminishing until eventually, the divide narrowed down to only three goals. York managed to bring it back again with a 33-27 score at the end of the third quarter but the taste of victory Lancaster got during this time would push them to play better than ever in the last quarter.

Despite their previous nonchalance, the crowd was now invested thanks to the brief moment where Lancaster had gold in their eyesight. The chants were back and the crowd was electric, clinging to the fact that, even in this last quarter, it could still go either way. Lancaster’s score was inching up throughout the quarter at a rapid rate until, with only 2 minutes left of the game, the score was 41-40 to York. At a minute left, York went in to shoot only to miss the rebound, the ball being tossed back into Lancaster possession, travelling down the court at lightning speed. The crowd was losing their minds. The commentators were losing their minds. I was losing my mind. The audience benches were rattling under the pressure of people screaming while jumping up and down, the tension in the arena palpable.

With five seconds left of the game, York scored a final goal, winning the match 42-40. Lancaster didn’t get the win this time but they were unbelievably close. While the team huddled on court clutching each other with tears in their eyes after their win, the audience clutching their chests as the immense stress brought on by the last five minutes left their bodies.

Continuing the York Netball Streak, York gained one point to the overall score for Roses. Will it be enough? Only time will tell.