On a surprisingly warm and sunny afternoon at Weetwood, Leeds Hockey Womens 5s won a close game against Hull 1s 3-2, and in doing so climbed above Leeds 4s in their BUCS League table.
The match started brightly for the Gryphons, with plenty of sharp, incisive passing and free-flowing attacking play. They were particularly adept at catching Hull on the counterattack, waiting until the visitors had most of their team in the forward positions before breaking at speed.
It was therefore no surprise when they eventually scored the games first goal, Hannah Cowie finishing off a period of sustained pressure around the area by finishing in composed style from close range. The 1-0 lead was no more than the team deserved for keeping the pressure on and not allowing Hull any respite.
It was soon 2-0 as Hull were carved open by a lovely team goal. Running from deep, a Leeds midfielder made excellent ground, running past 2 Hull challenges, before sliding a well-timed pass into Sally Addison, who had stolen in behind the Hull defence. One clinical finish into the bottom corner later and the lead was doubled.
With a halftime score of 2-0, the Gryphons needed to make sure they guarded against complacency. Captain Alice Littler was vocal in her insistence that the first half standard should be kept up right until the final whistle They certainly continued to keep standards high initially by scoring a third early on in the second half. Josie Blagborough got it, finishing well at the end of another period of pressure in and around the Hull area.
However, Hull immediately reminded Leeds that the game was still far from over by starting to make some headway of their own. The Hull forwards in particular were enjoying some new-found space as the Leeds backline started to push up, and eventually a long pass in behind the defence left a Hull player clean through on goal. Despite the best efforts of keeper Joanne Harding, who had already made several important saves, she finished well and reduced the defecit to 3-1.
3-1 soon became 3-2 as exactly the same move worked again for the visitors. A move which petered out around the edge of the Hull area left several Leeds players stranded upfield, and the ball was eventually worked through to the same Hull attacker, who bore down on goal before again finishing well. Despite essentially letting Hull back into the game, Leeds showed no signs of panic, continuing to dominate the game and create chances.
There were a couple of nervy moments around the D, but Leeds dealt with those, and as the full time whistle blew the players could reflect on a win that saw them overtake the 4s in the BUCS table, and a performance that fully merited taking the spoils.
Image courtesy of sport.leeds.ac.uk