The University of Leeds Hockey Mens 1s tough start to the season continued as they suffered a heavy defeat to Loughborough 1s on a crisp afternoon at Weetwood.
With their opponents having won last year’s BUCS Championship, the Gryphons knew they faced a stern test. However, Leeds displayed their faultless determination and intent from the off and Max Evans looked dangerous every time he received the ball in Loughborough’s half. The away side demonstrated their class from the first whistle but they struggled to break Leeds down as James Wheaton and Tom Berry held the line well and tried to feed the Gryphons attack. Leeds had the pick of the opportunities in the opening exchanges but unfortunately they just couldn’t take their chances.
Loughborough took the lead against the run of the play after a well-worked move from a short corner that saw the ball worked short and then fly straight into the net. Leeds responded well and had a good spell of pressure, yet they struggled to muster any real openings. The game then went flat for a brief period, before the away side doubled their advantage 10 minutes before half-time. Goalie Charlie Claisse made a good save but the rebound fell to Loughborough player, who accepted the opportunity and scored.
The visitors continued to press after their second goal and they were soon 3-0 in front after another smart penalty corner. Leeds managed to reduce the defecit from a short corner of they own, but any hope a comeback was extinguished as Loughborough scored their fourth just before the break.
Leeds came out fighting after the interval and Evans again demonstrated his ability with some impressive dribbling. However, Loughborough soon settled into the half and stretched the lead to 5-1 with a good finish from the edge of the circle.
To Leeds credit, they never gave up and Wheaton almost notched a consolation as before a goalmouth scramble resulted in a penalty corner. The Gryphons did make chances in the second period, but Loughborough were just too strong for a side that were only promoted in the Premier North division last season. The away side made it six after their attacker cleverly rounded Claisse and finished. The Gryphons then seemed to run out of steam before full time and Loughborough added a seventh with the last flick of the game.
Leeds are finding life tough in the top league but there were definite glimpses that this side has what it takes to start getting some points on the board. The team face a tricky next game away to Sheffield Hallam, who are so far unbeaten this campaign, yet the Gryphons will be more determined than ever to claim their first victory of the season.
Image courtesy of sport.leeds.ac.uk