The University of Sheffield’s Women’s Lacrosse 1s won their sixth successive game in all competitions to end the calendar year second in the Northern 2B league.
Their 14-7 win over the University of Newcastle 2s looked to have put Sheffield on top of the tree over Christmas. However, Leeds Beckett’s 22-2 win over the University of York means Leeds top the table on goal difference.
The Lacrosse W1s’ main target on Wednesday was just to beat the University of Newcastle and avenge their 7-6 defeat from the opening day of the season. They were expecting a stern test as Newcastle arrived at Goodwin as league leaders; having lost just once all season.
However, Sheffield stormed into a three-goal lead inside the opening 15 minutes of the match. Roisin Doyle put the hosts ahead in the third minute with the first of her seven goals, before Anne-Marie Du Preez scored a great individual goal to double Sheffield’s lead. Doyle scored her second and Sheffield’s third in the 12th minute after patient build-up play around the Newcastle net.
Sheffield goalkeeper Emma Willan was excellent when called upon, but she could do nothing to prevent the visitors pulling a goal back in the 16th minute. Two goals from Doyle – including a superb solo effort – saw Sheffield take a 5-1 advantage into half-time.
The second-half, however, was much more of a contest with both teams enjoying periods of dominance and momentum. Sheffield Sports Officer Emily Roche extended the hosts’ lead to 6-1 within seconds of the restart. Newcastle immediately responded from the face-off to reduce their deficit, before the visitors scored again to cut Sheffield’s lead to three.
Normal service resumed when Doyle scored her fifth and Sheffield’s seventh to make it 7-3. However, after what appeared to be a convincing and comfortable lead, another shift in the momentum saw Newcastle draw within one goal of the hosts after scoring three goals in four minutes.
Sheffield captain Naomi Shaw called a time out has the hosts looked to disrupt Newcastle’s momentum and secure the points. It proved to be very effective as Sheffield scored seven unanswered goals in the final 10 minutes of the game.
The standout goal in the 10-minute blitz was Doyle’s sixth goal of the afternoon as she somehow got a shot away while being marked by three players and Holly Knowles’ brace was also impressive, with both goals coming after great runs.
Newcastle pulled a goal back in the last minute, but it didn’t matter because Sheffield had produced an unassailable lead and won 14-7. The victory not only extends their winning run, but puts Sheffield in a very good position heading into the New Year as they target promotion.
Naomi Shaw, the women’s BUCS captain, told Forge Sport: “I don’t think we could have had a better Wednesday to finish the semester with; a win and level on points at the top of the table. I think a lot of teams will be worried about playing against us after Christmas.”
Shaw added: “I think Newcastle were quite shocked as their centre said to our centre ‘God, you guys are good’ because we have improved so much since the first game. It’s just amazing to see and I am so proud of the girls.”
Rachel Parkes, the women’s club captain, said: “This season is going so well. I don’t think we ever saw this happening at the start of the season so it is a great way to end before Christmas.”