THE University of Leeds netball 1st team got their season underway with a crushing 56-12 victory over a lacklustre Newcastle 2s on Wednesday. The victory is the perfect start to a season in which the Gryphons will be potentially pushing for promotion.
Leeds asserted their dominance from the off as their quick style of passing proved to be too much for a sluggish Newcastle, who constantly struggled to get back into their defensive positions before the ball had made its way to the goal circle. It seemed as though the Gryphons had their opponents on the back foot and Leeds were able to capitalise on their early dominance in the first quarter. Both Sarah Haynes and Beth Horridge were looking in dangerously good form in front of goal, meaning that the teams entered the first break with Leeds 14-2 in front.
Somehow Leeds managed to step it up another gear in the second quarter, scoring an incredible 20 goals as Lucy Hemsley totally outplayed her opposing Newcastle centre. Newcastle failed to find any rhythm during the match, as a lack of concentration in the attacking third and complete supremacy from Bea Skingsley and Megan Clark in defence meant Leeds could take complete control of the game. Newcastle were beginning to look outclassed, so much so that they never even remotely troubled our girls in green. As the half-time whistle blew, the Gryphons were totally dominant, up 34-6.
Despite a couple of changes being made at the break and their clear advantage, Leeds ensured they didn’t drop the intensity and even extended their lead to 46-10 at the end of the third quarter. With the result now a foregone conclusion and both teams starting to tire, goals were becoming harder to come by for both and at the final whistle, with Leeds deserving 56-12 winners. It was an utterly dominating performance after an amazing effort from all the players – each comfortably getting the better of their opposing number.
The 1s unfortunately suffered relegation last year but they couldn’t have asked for a better start to this season’s campaign. The team look purposeful in attack and impenetrable in defence, and although this is just the season opener, the side are definitely worth getting excited about. It certainly is not every day that you see a side put half-a-century past their opponents, but it seems that we can be cautiously optimistic that this is not the last time the Gryphons manage to win by such a margin.
Featured photo: The Gryphon