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Netball thirds lose out to Lancaster in tight affair

Lancaster collected the first available point on Roses Sunday, but a determined York pushed them every inch of the way in the netball thirds match (Thumbnail credit Image: Philippa Grafton)

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Lancaster collected the first available point on Roses Sunday, but a determined York pushed them every inch of the way in the netball thirds match.

In the overall context of a tournament long since prised from their grasp, the point gained in this 24-21 victory was pretty Pyrrhic for the Red Rose, but this will be of little consolation for York, who gave absolutely everything across four tightly-fought quarters.

The host's cause was not helped by the eleventh-hour withdrawal of captain Kate Copson, who suffered an ankle injury in the warm-up and was forced to watch the year's highlight from the sidelines. And as though affected by the pre-match drama, York took most of the opening quarter to find any kind of passing momentum as Lancaster forged an early advantage.

However, helped by a Lancaster defence which frequently committed unforced errors, Goal Shooter Rhia Stevens-Leach was able to find her range, connecting well with Wing Attack Jess Roberts to leave York trailing by just two at the changearound.

A string of unlawful obstructions allowed York the lead early in the second quarter but this proved all-too-fleeting as their attacking opportunities dried up. Attention switched to the opposite end, where Goal Keeper Lottie Knight and Goal Defence Tess Webb kept York in contention at half-time with a number of timely interventions and unrelenting commitment.

Trailing 9-13 entering the third quarter, York found an extra gear and rediscovered their attacking edge with Claire Smith in the Centre feeding a succession of dangerous passes into the goal circle. Stevens-Leach and her partner in attack, Eliza Ackland, converted many opportunities but Lancaster were still able to maintain their three-point advantage, albeit with everything to play for in the final 15 minutes.

And at one point, when the deficit was closed to a single point, it appeared Lancaster were mentally crumbling. Sadly, this wasn't the case and, despite the best efforts of Knight, Webb and Wing Defence Paisley Ross, they snatched a crucial trio of points half-way through the quarter, before closing out the game 24-21.

University of York: GK - Lottie Knight, GD - Tess Webb, WD - Paisley Ross, C - Claire Smith, WA - Jess Roberts, GA - Eliza Ackland, GS - Rhia Stevens-Leach

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