All three Lancaster teams put in an extremely confident performance on Saturday afternoon. The First team were able to score a decisive victory, securing four points, but for the Second and Third teams York proved too hard to catch.
Lancaster Firsts took an early lead with five goals in the first three minutes of the game, with an impressive performance from goal shooter Claire Riddlestone backed up by team captain Claire Higgins. Over the entire first quarter Lancaster continued to run rings around York with neither Sophie Dodd (Centre) or Gemma Pearson (Wing Attack) allowing possession to fall to the White Rose. After only five minutes of play, eight goals had been scored in what proved to be a fast and furious opening gambit for dominance- sadly for York, only one of these went their way, the score standing at 7-1. Emily Hinz (Goal Defence) was lightning fast and, alongside Rachael Taylor (Wing Defence), gave York only limited opportunity to shoot. After a period of stalemate, Higgins finally broke through to bring the score to 9-2 and York continued to offer limited resistance. The pace only started to slow after a few missed Lancaster shots caused a moment of hesitation, allowing a slight York fight back and finishing the quarter 13-4.
The second quarter had a slower start with a few more unfortunate misses on the Lancaster side. However, York were unable to make good this advantage which they followed with a hat-trick of poor shots from their Goal Shooter. Riddlestone followed up with two leisurely goals and the score moved up to 17-6. Hinz continued to prove her worth, blocking the York counter attacks time after time. However, this quarter proved to be slightly more balance with Lancaster perhaps a little tired after their punishing early efforts. The second quarter closed on 28-13.
The third quarter saw Taylor move into the Centre and Turner coming on in Wing Defence. Despite these changes, the third quarter had a much slower start with neither team capturing a significant advantage. York continued to show their inability to place even the easiest of shots and their attacks crumble in the face of Josephine Tyas’s (Goal Keeper) exceptional marking. York finally started to make a comeback in this half of the game, edging upwards to bring the score to 32-18, although they never looked capable of catching Lancaster. A sensational block by Higgins put York on the back foot followed by an exceptional goal which put an end to any sense of fight from the White Rose. The quarter ended 35-21.
In the final quarter, Lancaster once again dominated with two early goals with all attempts of a fightback by York being matched goal for goal by the Red Rose. Even with both teams exhausted Lancaster continued to pile on the pressure taking the score to 43-24. Hinz continued to prove invaluable to the team by blocking almost every attempt by York to move towards the goal ring. In the closing moments of the game, York’s defence crumbled completely, and a fast volley of shots saw Lancaster claim 6 goals in only 3 minutes. A final goal by York in the last minute proved a shallow attempt to save face and the game ended with a spectacular victory to Lancaster. 51-27.
Lancaster Seconds also but in a very solid performance and sadly were not able to gain any points to match their exceptional prowess. Player for player, the Red Rose was without a doubt the stronger side, but York had brought a secret weapon. Despite their First team having a fairly weak Goal Shooter, their Second team counterpart had almost god-like abilities, scoring with every single ball put into her hands. Despite greater possession by Lancaster throughout the game, neither Ellingham nor Archer (Goal Shooter and Goal Attack) were able to make the same gains that their York rival could despite a number of excellent shots which demonstrated the skills of both. The second quarter ended with York in the lead with 19-11. In the third quarter, Zoe Wren stepped in as Goal and quickly made her presence felt, and Vicky Ferri put in a very competent performance as Goal Keeper.
However, by this point York’s lead was simply too large and they ended the third quarter with a lead of 32-18. In the final quarter, Charlotte Ellingham returned and scored almost immediately. Grace Biggins proved to be a strong centre, blocking a number of advances, but nothing was able to prevent York’s Goal Shooter from putting York in the lead, with a final score of 41-26.
Netball Thirds had an unlucky game again a fairly evenly matched foe. After a strong first quarter, York made a comeback which put them in the lead. A closely fought third quarter saw Lancaster make their presence felt once again with the quarter ending on an extremely close 33-27. However, in the final quarter and despite a very strong defence, York surged ahead to claim a stronger lead. Goals in the final minutes from Megan Lamb and Rosemary Spencer proved an admirable final attempt to regain victory but the game closed on 42-34 to York.
Speaking afterwards, Claire Higgins (Captain of the First team) said that she felt all the netball teams had fought extremely hard and that it was worth the amount of training which had been put in: “York always bring it on the day, but [all three teams] were really good and gave an excellent performance.”
The Captain of York Firsts was unavailable for comment but Captain of York Third team said she was “really proud of the girls from York for fighting so hard against a strong opposition” especially as they were playing away from home.