The York Women’s Lacrosse 1s team drew with Newcastle 2s in an 18-goal thriller. Both teams are dancing around the top of the BUCS Northern League currently, in joint first place.
Although the draw means that York are not in as secure a position as they might like to be, the game showed them to be a real contender for the top spot.
York had some frustrating moments in the first half and Newcastle took every opportunity they could to make it difficult for them. The captain of the York side, Katherine Trantor, was out of action with an ankle injury, but was still on the pitch as one out of the two umpires.
Newcastle had an early lead and were up 3-0 by the second quarter, but a quick break from Grace Waddington saw York’s first goal. With this to spur them on, York quickly equalised; a first goal from Lucy Hatherall slammed into the left side of the goal, quickly followed by another as she calmly converted a chance from the wing.
For the first time since the beginning of the game the sides were on equal ground, although the away team did not seem worried in any way, quickly beginning another attack.
Newcastle’s dexterous number 58 slowed her pace while circling around the York goal before suddenly accelerating to shoot. The quarter ended with a Newcastle lead - but only a thin one.
The rest of the half didn’t pass without accident: a rogue pass hit Lizzie Coney audibly on the side of the head. The game was not halted and Coney played on.
The second half acted as a turning point for the York players who seemed to suddenly click as a team. After half-time the home team took immediate possession and an almost immediate goal was scored by Violet Beaumont. Newcastle came back strongly, however, with 58 leading the rest down the pitch, that produced a good shot, which was matched by an even better save. The pressure around the goal continued and eventually the away team got the stroke of luck they were looking for.
Newcastle made for goal again but lost possession. York’s tenacious Emily Cumming made pace down the field but was not given the time to take the shot. However, York continued to dominate. Newcastle’s defenders were forced to fall tight around the goal. As York gained momentum, playing increasingly as a united front, the Newcastle players were forced into using more scrappy tactics to try and break back. Collisions and slicing sticks meant the game was halted frequently; the fractured play slowing York’s unremitting attacks.
“Team flirt” Beaumont was flirting with the scoresheet for a long time, having one shot skip just above the goal and another saved by the keeper. She scored with her third, turning a close pass into a shot. Newcastle scored soon after with a pass splitting the York defence.
The game became messier as time to score was closing in. Hatherall gained possession only to lose it again in a flurry of Geordie elbows. The play turned quickly from end to end. A free pass for York dangerously near the Newcastle goal meant a moment of verbal altercation between the referee and away team, but no penalties were needed.
At the final whistle the scoreboard showed the teams to be equal.
Although the 9-9 result does not change standings in the league table the game was revealing of both teams. Newcastle’s ability to quickly adapt to changes in the direction of play will be crucial in their next games. While York were made to work hard in the first half of the match, in the second they seemed to click and began to take more risks on the field. Today, the risks proved rewarding.
Up next for the table-topping York side is a visit from Durham tomorrow, Wednesday 13 February, in what could be a crucial match in deciding who wins the league title and promotion.
Durham currently sit third in the table, one point behind both York 1s and Newcastle 2s, who sit jointly top on 14 points, with York 1s’ 13-18 victory over Newcastle earlier in the season breaking the deadlock. If the current pace continues, that early win could prove crucial.