The women’s hockey 2nd team earned the University of Leeds a vital point in Varsity 2014 with a 3-2 win over a competitive Leeds Beckett side at Weetwood.
Perhaps due to the occasion, the game started at a relatively high tempo and both teams enjoyed spells of possession; however Uni grew into the game and gradually took hold of the match. Emma Brown was at the centre of the action, pulling the strings in midfield as the Beckett defence succumbed to consistent Uni pressure. The home side finally got their reward midway through the first half when Captain Kirsten McCully rifled the ball into the net after previously being denied by the Beckett keeper.
The goal seemed to kick Beckett into gear and they proved that they weren’t ready to lie down with some good battling across the field. Jess Hole was a key figure in the Uni defence as they were called into action on numerous occasions and it took an extraordinary effort from an extremely tight angle for Beckett to equalise shortly before half-time.
Uni looked a determined side after the break and enjoyed a dominant spell before Beckett took the lead against the run of play. Yet, it didn’t take long for the Gryphons to get back on level terms and McCully soon made it 3-2 after good work following a short corner. The skipper was now controlling the game and could have added a fourth on the counter attack, but the through ball was inches too long.
Despite Uni’s dominance in the second period, Beckett once again came back at them and a string of fine saves by goalkeeper Tamara Bailey was required to keep the home side in front. With Beckett looking to get back into the game, the feistiness of the first half returned and a good effort from the edge of the shooting circle came within millimetres of drawing the game level after a Beckett player left the field with a head injury.
Uni managed to hold on for a good win against their biggest rivals and earn a valuable Varsity point. Stand-in Coach Jonathan Redfearn spoke of his delight after the game: “This is a good, hardworking side and they deservedly won the battle in the end after a tough finish”.
The girls will be hoping that the victory can springboard them to success in the league this year and they look forward to their first BUCS fixture against Durham University 4ths on October 15th.