THE women’s Lacrosse first team fought valiantly on Wednesday at Weetwood, but came up against a formidable opponent in Edinburgh. The team are arguably the best university team North of the Border and demonstrated that ability in a ruthless first-half display. Barely two minutes in and they were on the scoresheet. Edinburgh continued to push for a second goal, and were duly rewarded for their efforts, before Gryphon Polly Finch hit back to halve the deficit.
However, despite the goal, Leeds were not able to gather any momentum. Soon after they were 3-1 behind, and, despite putting together some good passing combinations, their opponents were putting in an obdurate defensive display. In attack, Edinburgh were devastating, cutting through the pitch at will, and it wasn’t long before star player Caitlin Baty, sidelined following a concussion in a previous match, called a time-out.
Following their pep-talk, Leeds initially seemed to be rejuvenated, closing the ball down much more readily than they had previously. However, the deluge of goals continued unabated as Edinburgh’s combination of intense pressing, fearsome running and unerring shooting ability meant that the home side were 12-1 behind at half-time.
However, the girls didn’t appear downhearted at half-time, re-entering the field determined to show their true colours. In Lucy Yates, Leeds had a player who was lightning quick on the break, with her superb close control and slaloming runs causing headaches for the Edinburgh backline. Leeds got back on the scoresheet through Katie Aird, who arrowed a terrific shot into the top corner to jubilant celebrations from the home contingent.
The main problem of the first half, keeping possession, was slowly being rectified, and another neat passing sequence found Lauren McLoughlin, who cleverly rolled the ball in off the post. Leeds were starting to put on an impressive display, but they were up against an unbeaten team and Edinburgh made sure that they kept the lead to a comfortable margin.
Finch popped up with a second goal to make the score 4-13, before the visitors responded in kind. It was then Ellie Dove’s turn to find joy in front of goal, before Edinburgh struck back once more. The second-half tussle contined as Yates was finally rewarded for her perseverance.
The rest of the match was similarly nip-and-tuck, with McLoughlin rounding off the scoring from a Leeds perspective, before a late Edinburgh double made the final score 7-18.
In a team missing four regular players, the girls in green can be rightly proud of their efforts. Although the first half was one-way traffic, the second half was an evenly-balanced contest.
Speaking to The Gryphon following the match, Yates did say that ‘the defeat hasn’t dampened our spirits, but has only made us more determined to secure promotion’, with team-mate Lydia Griffiths adding that it was ‘onwards and upwards from here’. A win away at York on 9 March could see them secure the title, provided that Durham slip up against Newcastle.
Featured image: The Gryphon