Lacrosse 1's vs York 1's: George Dury at 22 Acres (University Of York Playing Fields)
The sun was low in the sky over the University of York playing fields on Wednesday afternoon. The sun shone with a weak intensity that warned of winters impending arrival as a palatable tension gathered in the air. Newcastle University Men’s lacrosse 1st team, recently crowned as the league table leaders arrived to a cut the tension, and transform York’s apprehension to dread. The outcome of the battle that would take place was already decided – all that remained was for York to choose when and where to meet the inevitable.
With the battle lines drawn, the two forces sought to get the measure of one another as warm ups commenced. The York squad had brought close to 25 men to the field; providing them with a distinct advantage in terms of endurance over the course of the 80 minute game. Newcastle, on the other hand, had arrived at the field with only 12 men to achieve victory. Outnumbered 2 to 1, what Newcastle lacked in quantity, they made up for in quality. The day would go to prove that Newcastle’s men were worth 2 of every York player at the very least.
The opening whistle blew, with the first faceoff being gained by York. The defensive unit, led by Goalkeeper Jack Clohessy was steadfast in their defence of the initial York offensive possession. With an offence that relied heavily on cutting misdirection, it was crucial that the defensive players stayed alert.
Goalkeeper Jack Clohessy easily repelled attempts to win the first goal, and longpoles Miles Moran, Harman Singh, and Matthew Rees were ready to move the ball up to the midfield clearing units. The reclamation of possession rang hollow, as midfield and attacking units had difficulty breaking through a much-improved York defence. The first quarter ended 0-0, neither team able to break the deadlock.
Inspiring words by Captain Patrick Kearney at half time inspired the small squad of players to fight harder to beat their adversary who outnumbered them greatly; the day must be won at all costs. The second quarter opened with George Dury winning the faceoff and the offensive unit capitalising on the opportunity, striking the first blow and scoring the first goal. Goals quickly followed as the midfield and attack units went to work of the rapidly crumbling defence.
Step-downs with immense torque from Nicholas Beauchamp, precision underarm corners from Matthew Tute and masterful quick stick shots from Jasper Piper added to the goal tally, which was rapidly mounting. An on the run laser from Joseph Chartres found the back of the net for his first goal of the season, breaking his 5 game duck. Frankie ‘the lefty Bomber’ Lees muscled his way to the centre of the pitch to drop one off, and Captain Patrick Kearney still couldn’t catch anything even if his life depended on it, despite being the starting X attackman.
For attackman Luke ‘Rambo’ Ramsbottom, finding the back of net was not the main obstacle to overcome; the York defence could not stop the relentless onslaught of dodging and goals coming from the Manchester native, however a loose shoelace, possibly untied as a cowardly act of sabotage by disgruntled Captain and potential York spy Patrick Kearney, led to the only takedown of the game.
Enraged by this affront, and the offence it gave, Rambo decided to retaliate with a measured, but appropriate show of force; he threw a ball at the York defender. A scuffled melee ensued and was rapidly and decisively finished by Newcastle enforcer Matthew Rees. As if to serve as a metaphor for the game; the end of the scrap signalled the collapse of York resistance. As the York defence began to crumble, goals began to pour in from all short stick players (except Captain Patrick Kearney), with Goalkeeper Jack Clohessy taking an attempt at his first goal of the season.
Sun Tzu, Chinese military general and writer of ‘The Art of War’, once said that “Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems.” When Midfielder George Dury found himself one-on-one with the Goalkeeper, he attempted to find the opportunity to a problem which did not exist. Dury behind the back went wide, earning him the Goon of the Toon accolade, the 2nd time Dury has been fined for such an offence.
As the final whistle blew, the day belonged firmly to Newcastle, who next play the University of Strathclyde in their first cup game of the season. Final score Newcastle 12 – York 2. MOTM – Joseph Chartres.
Match Report – Newcastle 2nd vs Sheffield Hallam 2nd - Harrison Booth at Longbenton Sports Ground
Haway the lads! A tremendous effort on all fronts; from solid D to fierce attack the twos have only gone and bloody done it! 8 goals, the best of them all an absolute ripper from Tom Cox leaving the poly team shaking in their cleats.
The match began with Newcastle winning the face off and Dominic Aldridge putting in a real shift in hoovering up the ground ball, quickly snatching possession and sending it through into the attacking half where the lads deftly set up into possession. The ball, sadly, was conceded and Sheffield managed to get one under their belts quick! It seemed that maybe this match would be in a similar vein to earlier fixtures. With a rally from the troops and a contagious cheer from the side-lines raising morale tenfold Newcastle then began to hammer it home, with goals from Kieran Burger, Will Herford and Harry Cash. But it was cat and mouse for the entire first half. Equalising, pulling ahead. Equalising, pulling ahead.
With the game at neck and neck Newcastle gained ground with two goals early in the third quarter. There wasn’t long to go for the Newcastle lads. Into the final quarter, the score was 7-5 to the hosts. Another face-off, another easy win by George Thompson, making light work of the task.
The team were keeping the ball moving, and maintaining possession. But alas, the poly’s lack of teaching real subject matter has produced some halfway decent players and they manage another quick steal leading to a goal. Into the last ten with the pressure was mounting, yet this seemed to only spur the Toon on. A screamer right down the pipe pushing the score up to 8-6! Only a few minutes left now and a win almost certain, keeping it in their half, biding our time. The whistle blows. A cry from Sam Yates resonates with all of us “let’s fu***ng have it”. Final score 9-7 to the Toon.
My only regret? Having to watch for 4 minutes from the side-lines.