Image Credit- @leedsunifutsal
With a league title for the Leeds University’s Second team and a runners-up finish for the First, the 2019/20 season has been a campaign of real success for the futsal club at Leeds.
In their first ever season in BUCS competition, Leeds Futsal Second Team have won the Northern 4b division. Further up the BUCS ladder, the First Team has also made a landmark achievement, having secured the highest league position of any side in the club’s brief history with a second-place finish in the Northern 1a division.
The futsal calendar got off to a perfect start in September with Varsity, as Leeds fielded a new-look side that comfortably beat Beckett 7-3.
In the following league fixtures before Christmas, Leeds First Team suffered a mixed bag of results as they sought to find their feet in a new division.
Highlights from the first three match days included a 4-2 victory over Newcastle and a 4-4 draw with Sheffield, as well as a 7-1 drubbing of Hallam. These accomplishments were offset by disappointing defeats to Durham and Manchester, however, leaving Leeds precariously placed in midtable before the start of the winter break.
Meanwhile, Leeds’ Second Team were finding consistency and results easier to come by. Despite a disappointing cup exit to Durham, the team showed resilience in the league with a 6-6 draw with Beckett 3’s. This was followed by the destruction of Hull, York and Sunderland, winning 9-4, 12-3 and 9-6 respectively, which left the 2s in pole position for the title heading into the new year.
League performances for the second team were particularly pleasing given that much of the squad had never played futsal at a competitive level before. Under the guidance of second-year Jaz Barker, the team developed a technical and free-scoring approach, and several players were able to make the step-up to the first team throughout the course of the season.
After Christmas, both the First and Second team reached their peak performance levels, winning all their remaining league fixtures. A highlight for the Firsts along this run was a 5-4 victory over the eventual league champions Manchester, coming from 3-1 down to secure the win thanks to a clever switch in tactics.
Although the Firsts would later lose 7-5 to Manchester in the cup, the fact that only two league points could separate the two sides by the end of the season shows that Leeds are not far from promotion quality.
Club President Conal Gallacher was full of praise for the First team at the season’s end, “We had a slow start, but to finish in 2nd only 2 points away from playoffs to the national-league is incredible. I think our individual quality really showed through in the end”. He also hailed the captain of the second team, “real credit to Jaz for taking the 2s through an unbeaten season”.
Leeds Seconds were able to secure promotion from their own division on the final day, as they did what was required of them by winning all 3 matches, including an 8-4 destruction of rivals Beckett.
It has certainly been another year of progression for futsal at Leeds, leaving the club on an upward trajectory moving into the future. There are still things to look forward to for the current squad, however, as the Christie Cup and a team-bonding weekend in Newcastle await.