Leeds Beat Durham in Nailbiter

HAVING suffered a disappointing defeat away to league-leaders Liverpool last week, Leeds rekindled some of the form that saw them thrash Newcastle on the opening day of the season to come out on top 35-27 against a spirited Durham 1s.

Durham started the brighter of the two teams but were unable to capitalise on the pressure as their shooters failed to make the most of the chances that came their way, a recurring feature of the match.

Jess Whitworth exploited some poor defence from Durham, allowing goal shooter Beth Horridge to open her account and give Leeds the early lead. Leeds quickly settled in to their fast-paced passing to shift the ball into Durham’s goal circle before the defence could get back into position and went 3-0 up early on. Durham proved they weren’t going to lie down though and managed to come back to level the match at three apiece before taking the lead and finding themselves 5-3 up. Leeds were lucky as both Durham shooters struggled to find any consistency despite having the lion’s share of chances. Two intelligent interceptions from Bea Skingsley and Finnuoala Crossbie in defence respectively provided Sarah Haynes with two chances to level the match, which she confidently took. At the first break, Durham were ahead 6-5 after grabbing a final goal before the whistle.

Leeds started the second quarter in fantastic fashion, as their increased tempo once again showcased their unparalleled passing game, scoring three unanswered goals to reclaim the lead at 8-6. Durham replied with one themselves before the tireless work of Lucy Hemsley in the centre provided two more opportunities for Haynes and Horridge which ultimately gave Leeds a three-goal cushion. Blows were evenly exchanged before Durham once again got right back in to the match on the stroke of halftime after some decent rebound play around the post. At the half-time break, the score was tantalisingly close: 12-11 in the Gryphons’ favour.

Durham quickly levelled after the break, but the fresh legs of Katie Cresswell and Emma Crofts gave Leeds a new-found impetus and, combined with some more quality work in defence from Skingsley and keeper Wilsher, Leeds were able to score four unanswered goals to take a 16-12 lead. Once again goals were exchanged between the two sides before a period of lacklustre concentration from Leeds allowed Durham to crawl their way back in to the match yet again, moving within one point of their opponents.

The pivotal part of the match then occurred as Leeds’ defence displayed some incredible application to ensure they didn’t concede any goals whilst Horridge and Crofts both expertly took their chances at the other end. The period yielded a 5-0 score line to Leeds and arguably all but ensured the win. Durham tried to bounce back but couldn’t close the gap as the third quarter ended 27-20 to Leeds.

The final period of the match saw a tiring and desperate Durham consistently giving away sloppy fouls all over the court which disrupted any serious attempt at a comeback. Leeds showed amazing discipline throughout the final 15 minutes to snuff out any signs of a Durham resurgence, leaving the score 35-27 in favour of our girls in green. The win gives them their second in the league this season to go alongside last week’s loss, but they are still hungrily pushing for promotion.

Matthew Norman

Featured image: Matthew Norman

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