Heavens open for hockey teams as they renew old rivalries in the rain

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Lancaster and York played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the pouring rain in the last hockey game of the day.

The match started at a fast pace that never let up. Lancaster, who had been narrowly defeated the day before in the indoor game, dominated the opening exchanges, winning a number of short corners and always looking threatening. However, it was York who looked like they would open the scoring after they were awarded a penalty. The umpire ruled that a Lancaster player’s foot had blocked the ball on the goal line. Goalkeeper Sam Quilleash stood tall, and dived to his right to successfully save the penalty from Andy Harris.

Lancaster’s confidence grew and they started to press, cheered on by a crowd who were in good voice despite the weather. They were rewarded soon after when the home team managed to create a goal from nothing. Captain Lyam Hollis received the ball on the left wing with a defender closing in. Instinctively, he knocked the ball behind him and span round the York player. He ran through on goal and finished with assurance to cap the goal that his piece of skill deserved.

Lancaster could have scored again minutes later, with Alex Halls unlucky not to double the lead when he sent an effort narrowly wide. York rallied, and the game developed into an even, end to end affair, with chances coming thick and fast. Quilleash in the Lancaster goal was in fine form, making a string of impressive blocks and saves. He was helped by a solid defensive partnership of Ali Cowper and Craig McIntyre, who were doing well to prevent the visitors from drawing level while delivering some fine lifted balls forward which troubled the York backline. Lancaster also looked dangerous on the counter. They have scored a lot of goals this season, and you could sense the understanding shared by the attacking players as they took their time finding the passes to break down the opposition defence. This was all the more impressive considering the slippy conditions, with the wet surface causing several players to lose their balance and inviting hard challenges from the opposition.

“All credit to Lancaster, they made things difficult for us. However, I think that their goals were caused by our mistakes, and losing a man made our job difficult, but we probably edged it today.” – Andy McIlwraith, York Captain

York were being held at bay, but rather than becoming frustrated, they began to play some of their best hockey of the match. A good passing exchange between the York attack led to Henry Meller finding himself in space. He produced a fine shot that cannoned off the left had post. Just before half time, York saw Mark Inman sin binned after swearing at the umpire, handing Lancaster the numerical advantage for the beginning of the second half.

They re-started brightly, and it was not long before they doubled their lead. Philipp Schacht, Lancaster’s German International, took on several players with some great work on the wing. He cut inside the area and set up Hollis, who was well placed to score his, and Lancaster’s second.

It was hard to see York coming back into the game following the second goal, but to their credit they did not let their heads drop. They continued launching attacks, and James Branton gave the away side hope when his shot from the edge of the area went through a crowd of players and into the goal.

Showing what a difference a goal makes, the contest took on a very different complexion, with Lancaster doing most of the defending. Quilleash was forced into making some more good saves, and York were forcing a number of short corners. Eventually, their pressure resulted in the equaliser that the home crowd feared, as Nick Latcham found space in the area to fire into the corner of the goal and complete an impressive comeback.

The game was in its closing stages as the weather brightened slightly and both teams tried to produce a winner. However, when the umpire finally brought a tight contest to a close, the draw was probably a fair result.

After the game, Hollis said,

‘we didn’t do enough to seal the win, but both sides took their chances well and I am pleased with the effort that we showed today.’

His York counterpoint Andy McIlwraith agreed, saying

‘all credit to Lancaster, they made things difficult for us. However, I think that their goals were caused by our mistakes, and losing a man made our job difficult, but we probably edged it today. I’m proud of the team.’

Lancaster and York saw out a very close game in the torrential rain, battling to a 3-3 stalemate that was overshadowed by an injury to York’s Charlie Bartlett.

York had already won two of the three games played earlier in the day, and they started brightly in this match, taking an early lead through Rachel Faustino. Lancaster looked for a quick response, and came close twice before Aveline Cruickshank managed to grab a well-taken equaliser.

The rain started to fall hard, and the surface became increasingly slippy. It was York who adapted to the conditions better, as they began to pressurise the Lancaster defence. Soon, good work from their midfield created an opportunity for Emily Lucas to put them back in front.

Unfortunately, York’s Charlie Bartlett then received a nasty looking injury to her left eye, after being struck by the ball and her stick. She was taken to hospital and York looked understandably shaken by the incident. However, they did manage to score again, manipulating some anxious Lancaster defending that allowed Faustino, who had continued to threaten all game, to claim her second and York’s third. The goal left Lancaster facing an uphill struggle to gain anything from the match.

The home side though, to their credit, did not look like a demoralised team and began to dominate proceedings. They displayed plenty of desire going forwards, coming close from a short corner and then again in open play.

An incisive move forwards won them a penalty, which Annika Hall coolly converted to give them hope. The goal buoyed Lancaster, and soon they were on the front foot. The horrendous weather conditions meant that the game sometimes struggled to flow, but with a large and boisterous crowd cheering them on, both teams pushed hard to find another goal.

In the end, the pressing of Lancaster proved too much for York to deal with. They sealed the equaliser when a hit into the area went through a crowd of players, and seemed to deflect of Cruickshank and into the goal. The York players complained that no contact had been made with the ball inside the D, but it looked very close and the umpire was well placed to award the goal.

With the scores level, it was a very tense final ten minutes. Lancaster were well and truly in the ascendency now, forcing more short corners and looking the more likely to grab a winner. However, they were running out of time, and after a good defensive block ended a promising attacking move, the umpire blew the final whistle to ensure that the teams finished with a share of the spoils. It was a remarkable comeback though, and a deserved one, and the Lancaster players looked delighted.

After the game, Captain Hannah-Beth Robertson said

‘I am very proud of the effort put in by the girls today.’ She added that she was pleased with the end result, but disappointed that they had not been able to take all their chances to secure a victory.

• In the Men’s 2nds York earned a 1-0 victory earning two points. However, the men’s 3rds won 4-3 in an entertaining match. The match was, however, this year played as an exhibition. The women’s 2nds also lost 2-3. Full reports can be found on SCAN Online.

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