A thrilling second half comeback saw the Leeds Uni Netball 1st team secure an impressive 37-30 win against Northumbria 1sts on Wednesday.
Spirits were already high amongst the team, having secured an outstanding victory against Loughborough a week earlier, and the Gryphons carried that momentum into the fixture against Northumbria 1st. The home side opened the scoring from the first centre pass, courtesy of goal attack Nat Haythornthwaite, but the visitors quickly responded. This set the tone for the rest of the first quarter, which ended 9-10 in Northumbria’s favour.
Northumbria dominated the next period though, as their goal shooter Kayley Moss found her clinical edge in front of the net. Leeds weren’t completely out of the game, but certainly looked second best as they struggled to find opportunities at goal, and trailed 15-20 at half time.
The Gryphons found a new lease of life in the second half though, with the added energy of substitute wing attack Shana Potgieter and the words of coach Alex Kirk still ringing in the players’ ears. Leeds found their lethal touch as Haythornthwaite and goal shooter Ciara Crosbie kept Northumbria on the back foot throughout. The home side upped the intensity, with goal defence Lauren Potter making several crucial interceptions, and managed to level the scores at 21-21.
Buoyed by their fine display in the third quarter, the Gryphons had the belief that they could edge out their opponents in the final period, with Kirk urging her players to keep calm. With the home supporters cheering the Gryphons on the team powered ahead, as Crosbie hit fine form and goal keeper Georgia Blessed protected her team admirably.
By the final drinks break, Leeds had stormed ahead to 33-27, with only five minutes remaining. Northumbria desperately battled to claim something from the match, with their goal attack Darcie Worsdale leading the charge, but it was not enough as the Gryphons scored four more points to secure a 37-30 victory.
Coach Alex Kirk was rightly pleased with her team’s performance: “It was a fantastic game for us, we’re improving all the time, we’re getting better and better, stronger and stronger. The girls have worked really, really hard. We only turned up in the last quarter which we need to improve on that but a good result overall.”
Image courtesy of Leeds University