Sport | Leeds women's lacrosse clinch Premier promotion
The University of Leeds women’s lacrosse 1st team have earned promotion into the BUCS Premier North league after beating Warwick and Edinburgh in the final playoffs held on April 29 and 30.
The promotion comes following an incredible season for the team, which culminated in a 29-0 victory over Warwick and a 13-8 win over Edinburgh.
After a long and rainy coach journey to Edinburgh the team were ready to play the game they had been waiting for all year. Following a long and strong warm-up, sports scholar and team Captain, Caitlin Baty delivered a positive and heartfelt team talk, preparing the team for the game ahead.
The game started quickly. After a draw win from Baty, Cecily Melsom scored the first goal from the crease, giving Leeds an instant 1-0 lead. Edinburgh reacted quickly, matching Leeds with a fast break from the centre to equalise.
Leeds maintained possession for a while, yet failed to get a goal from their set moves. However, after a drive from behind the goal, next season’s Captain Lucy Yates made the score 2-1. The game followed this pattern, making the score 3-2 with only five minutes to go to half time.
Determined not to be distracted by the prospect of losing their chance for promotion, the team continued their momentum, with Melsom and Yates securing two more goals after a fast break from Millie Coyne and the defence to make the score 5 – 3 at half time.
The team talk at half time made it clear that the team were not going home without a win. Returning to the pitch, Leeds immediately scored another goal. Edinburgh quickly retaliated, adding two more goals and making the score 6-5. Emulating the first half, Leeds quickly scored again to be faced with another goal on the crease fold from Edinburgh.
Recognising the need for more than a two goal difference over Edinburgh to ensure a comfortable lead, Grace Haworth and Fleur Adderly secured two more goals, extending the lead to 9-6. A further goal from Yates made it 10-6, just as Edinburgh called a time out.
Leeds came back on the pitch fiercer than ever, maintaining possession with another goal from Haworth. Baty then answered with two consecutive goals, taking the score to 12-6.
With a comfortable lead of six goals and just six minutes to go, Leeds played possession. Edinburgh pushed back, gaining two more goals. Determined not to let this get them down, the Leeds defence stamped their authority back on the game, stopping the Edinburgh attack from getting back in the fan to the goal.
After a final goal from the Leeds attack, the scores stood at 13-8. With the final whistle the Leeds girls ran screaming on to the pitch; many of the older team members in tears of joy.
Harriet Newton commented, “This is an immense achievement from the girls who have never made it into the Premiership before. We are very much looking forward to showing the leading teams in the North what we are made of, and to continue our upward momentum.
“It could not have been a more perfect last match of the season. Those who are leaving will be very much missed, but there is no doubt that the first team is in for a fantastic season next year with Lucy Yates leading the team.”
Leeds’ success was recognised by their competitors, Edinburgh, who tweeted shortly after the game: “Well done to @LUWLC, deserved winners. @EUWLC fought to the end but were beaten by the better team.”
Image courtesy of LUWLX