University of Leeds 3rds 36 – 44 Sheffield Hallam 2nds
LEEDS were always going to be in for a challenge, facing top-of-the-league Sheffield Hallam, who were spearheaded by a feisty attack and immaculate shooter on the opposition. Despite Leeds’ loss of 44-36, the crowd was treated to a fast-paced and entertaining performance from both teams.
From the outset Sheffield Hallam dominated possession, asserting their skill in the first few seconds of the match. Sheffield skipped past Leeds’ defence where they bagged five successful goals within the first three minutes of play. The opposition’s shooter made it look far too easy as she, quite artfully, gained point after point, leaving Leeds behind on the score board.
Amongst Sheffield’s success, Leeds had a few unsuccessful attempted goals, but still succeeded in pushing Sheffield out of their comfort zone by regularly winning back possession and posing a threat to their defence. Leeds certainly took longer to settle in, but Alice Gargan’s well judged shots did manage to bring the score up to 12-8 by the 11th minute. Despite fairly even possession, the first quarter ended with a score of 14-9.
Struggling to make up for Sheffield’s strong opening minutes, play seemed to be back and forth with both teams alternatively scoring within seconds of each other, bringing the score to 17-13 25 minutes in. Sheffield seemed determined to keep this gap open to secure a safe win, although it was still a game of even possession.
Leeds experienced a slight dry spell in the middle of the second quarter, struggling to take any points. However, the efforts of Angel Wu and Tarnia Bleasdale to slow Sheffield down were really showing. Unluckily for Leeds, in the closing minutes of the quarter they saw the biggest gap yet of 23-13. Responding well to this, they ended the second quarter on 23-15, thanks to Tash Dawson, closing in on Sheffield slightly.
A Leeds come-back, with an eight-goal difference, was on the cards as they brought the score up to 28-23 by the 38th minute. However, the sharpness of the oppositions shooter was undeniable as the opposition began to pull away once again, just after Leeds’ rally of goals, bagging 31 goals to Leeds’ 23, who struggled to find anymore in the middle of the quarter. The teams ended the third quarter on 34-27.
A few successful and a few unsuccessful attempts at goal later, neither team seemed to be tiring. Despite the accepted fate of this match, the valiant Leeds players battled on and reduced the deficit to 38-31 in the 54th minute. After this, Sheffield seemed, once again, to fly through Leeds’ defence and widen the score gap to 44-34, which is how the match ended. However, Leeds’ Captain Tarnia Bleasdale commented that “the girls put everything in and can feel positive going into our next BUCS game”, following a pleasing result against the top side in the division.
Featured image: The Gryphon