LEEDS University women’s lacrosse 1s once again proved their superiority over Beckett, trouncing them at Weetwood. After a 20-8 win over the same opponents at Varsity, the team are on track to secure promotion at the first time of asking, having dropped down from the Premier North at the end of last season.
The weather was certainly not kind, and although it did improve in time for kick-off, conditions underfoot were soggy, which was not ideal for either side.
Beckett made the brighter side, with their No.7 causing problems with some late runs into the half-circle. However, Leeds keeper Tati Rutherston was equal to the task, and it wasn’t too long before the Gryphons had broken the deadlock through Polly Finch. Beckett drew level soon after, but Leeds quickly reasserted their dominance. Finch ran through to convert, before England international Caitlin Baty showed great agility to dodge a few Beckett defenders and fire home. Beckett could have got back into the match, as a flick from a Leeds defender inadvertently went beyond Rutherston, but the home side continued to rack up goals at a rapid rate.
USA international Aimee Turner received a pass from Baty on the right-hand touchline. She then went on a mazy dribble, showing the Beckett backline a clean pair of heels before finishing with aplomb. Turner then repeated the feat a few minutes later, and it was becoming increasingly clear that Leeds would not let up on the attacking front.
Beckett weren’t going to lie down however, and an incisive passing move was finished off emphatically. Despite this, Leeds’ attacking prowess was still shining through, and two goals in quick succession put the hosts firmly back in control. The team have a smattering of county and international players, and it showed in their lightning-quick transitions from defence to attack, and in their willingness to track back and close any gaps that Beckett might have exploited. Two more goals from the Gryphons, including one from Katie Aird, built a convincing lead going into the interval.
The second half began much like the first, with Beckett mounting the first offensive play. A good interchange from two of their strikeforce led to the ball flying into the back of the net, before Rutherston thwarted a solo run from a Beckett forward.
From this point on though, the floodgates opened for Leeds. Some good interplay between Baty and Finch saw the latter ghost past the attentions of a few defenders to finish comfortably. Lucy Yates then showed similar athleticism to brush off her marker and score.
Following these two goals, a raking pass found Bella Hitchcock in space, and she made no mistake to make it 13-4. The finishing from the girls in green was ruthless, and nine minutes later Leeds had netted four more goals to add further gloss to the scoreline.
To their credit, the underdogs never gave up and scored a consolation, but they simply had no answer to the consistent wave of green shirts pouring forward at every opportunity. As the light started to dim, the sun was also setting on Beckett’s chances, and Yates punished their beleaguered defence with two more eye-catching finishes. It was then the turn of Hitchcock to score a brace in quick succession, with the score ending 23-6 to the Gryphons.
Speaking after the match, captain Lydia Griffiths told The Gryphon that the side had their eyes set on promotion, and with a 100% record in four games so far this campaign, and 84 goals scored and just 20 conceded, it is safe to say that there is enough star quality in the team to realise that objective.
Featured image: Alex Bowmer