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On Friday, Week 2, Lancaster University College select netball team triumphed in a closely-fought match against their York rivals, winning 29-23. The ten woman team, made up of Lancaster’s finest college netball players, upped their weekly training to daily sessions in order to prepare for the match which is renowned for its competitive action. York University, who were defeated in their last game at Lancaster, came prepared with 13 players. Their tactic was to keep the positions rotating to ensure play remained strong throughout the game.
The game started quickly with both teams eager to score the first goal. Lancaster pulled through with two goals in quick succession from Gabi Wilson, securing the team the early lead. Another goal from Lancaster was met with York’s first as both teams appeared to settle into the game. The first quarter saw very fast play with both York and Lancaster capitalising on their opponent’s mistakes, however Lancaster maintained the lead throughout. Consistent shooting from Gabi Wilson and Emily Firth ensured Lancaster’s efforts were not in vain, yet alarmingly York began to creep back into the game, with a goal’s difference between the two teams.
Second quarter saw some new players switched onto the pitch, bringing fresh legs to the game. As centre, Hannah Cakebread among others, added new vitality to the team, maintaining the pace and keeping Lancaster on par with York, even during a tense few minutes where both teams were level. Lancaster soon pulled away, securing more goals and turning York’s centres around to their advantage. Defence in this quarter was tight with Beth Fletcher and Sophie Millington holding the already faltering York players at bay. Shooting in the D became difficult for the York Goal Shooter and Goal Attack, who became heavily reliant on their centre third players. This slowed down the game, helping Lancaster to maintain a healthy lead.
During the third quarter, York attempted to push back, causing Lancaster to concede a couple of goals. However, the girls turned it around, closely marking York players and pushing the ball forward. Their efforts were rewarded with a number of great, long shots from Emily Firth, securing Lancaster a 22-17 lead at the end of third quarter.
Throughout, the game had been a close one, with York continuing to fight what was, ultimately, a losing battle. Lancaster immediately took the lead with goals in quick succession from Gabi Wilson, taking their total to 27-19. However, in the final minutes York’s defence improved, stopping a number of goals due to pressure from the goal keeper. This allowed the York team to score four more goals. As the whistle blew Lancaster scored their final goal, bringing their total to 29-23.
The well-deserved win secured Lancaster another point in the Roses battle and again emphasised the quality of college netball at this level.
Megan Lovett, a fantastic player throughout the game, surviving two nasty falls, told SCAN: “We can’t even begin to believe that we’ve won. All the girls are so pleased that our extra efforts have paid off. It’s fantastic to represent Lancaster University in Roses and we can’t wait to celebrate our win – after we’ve watched some more netball!”.