University of Leeds 39 – Beckett 23
UNI 2s convincingly beat city rivals Beckett 3s to grab their first league win of the season. Their dominating performance was made sweeter by the fact that at no point during the match were they on the losing side and at the final whistle it was a delightfully easy read: 39-23 in favour of our Gryphons.
Uni took an early two-goal lead through goal shooter Emily Higgins, before Beckett replied instantly to bring the score back to one-all inside a frantic first minute. Led by goalkeeper Georgia Blessed, Uni managed to snuff out promising Beckett attacks which enabled Higgins to increase the lead to 4-1. Beckett fought their way back into the match at 5-4 after a sloppy five minutes of play from both sides. Uni upped the ante and found their quick passing, drawing countless fouls on our girls in green, allowing Uni to take a tight 8-5 lead in to the first break.
After an exchange of goals at either end of the court from the resumption, Uni asserted their supremacy for the first, but not final, time in the match to score five unanswered goals. Beckett continued the second period as they had finished the first by consistently fouling in key areas, and combined with exceptional rebound work by Higgins and goal attack Natasha Dawson, Uni made the most of their chances to lead 14-6. Despite constant shouts of “slow it down” from the sidelines, Beckett racked up the handling errors because of the outstanding pressure from all the Gryphon girls. Uni controlled the final couple of minutes and increased the gap even more to go in at half-time with a comfortable 10-goal cushion – 19-9 ahead.
Uni started the third quarter with amazing intensity and noticeably quicker passing around the court, which Beckett struggled to keep up with. They did, however, get one back after Uni scored a quick two from the break. Unfortunately for them, Uni once again utterly dominated proceedings to score an incredible eight unanswered goals to all but ensure the victory. Higgins and Dawson pushed Uni to a 29-10 lead with Blessed, Jess King, Bekah Aspin and Helena Grennan all comfortably getting the better of their opposing numbers and totally dictating play from the centre of the court. Beckett showed great character and fight to score five in a row themselves, but it was looking to be too little too late with the score 31-17 at the end of the third.
Despite shuffling the team around for the final period of the match, Beckett never managed to mount a serious challenge to Uni’s lead. Uni’s impressive passing was epitomised by a swift break which saw Jess Fogarty intercept and quickly pass cross-court to King. King launched it down court to an awaiting Dawson in the goal circle before she sharply moved it on to Higgins to finish, with most of the Beckett players still well out of position down the other end of the court. Both teams picked up a couple more goals as the match came towards a close and as the final whistle blew, Uni were deserved victors.
Uni will take this momentum into an exciting cup clash against Lancaster 1s next week after their superb performance over their local rivals.
Featured image: Matthew Norman