Image Credit: Image: Luke Snell
York’s men's handball team were beaten by Lancaster 23-8 in the sports arena on Heslington West. The home team had a lot riding on the match as, since the team was created in 2013, they had never won at Roses. York put up a good fight initially, but found the Lancaster defensive strategy hard to break as they fell tightly around the goal circle as soon as the home team came into possession. The away team were undeniably skillful in their attempts at goal, willing to take the risk of shooting from further away on the court, sometimes missing, but often rewarded on the scoreboard.
In the second half, with Lancaster already having a clear lead, the game became scrappy, with York players having to be penalised multiple times for holding and impending their opponents. The home players made a couple of excellent opportunities in this half, yet three times the ball hummed just past the right of the goal, slamming against the wall behind. Not close enough to score, but enough to panic the keeper. The same happened when, after aggressive blocking from a Lancaster defender, York were awarded a penalty.
With these near misses the York player’s frustration grew, as did the crowds. After a counter-attack, and a York defender grabbing the ball out of the Lancaster competitors hands, one York player was given time off the pitch but during this the team managed to hold the red roses off. The game became more argumentative as the away team continued to dominate.
In one moment a Lancaster attacker approached the York defender and had some less than friendly words with him- angry that he held one of the other outfield players to stop him making a pass. The defender raised his hands and stayed calm, and the referee quashed the argument, giving Lancaster a free-pass.
At the end of the match both teams were visibly tiring, and at the final whistle both were applauded from the stands despite a heavy 23-8 away victory. Later in the evening the Women’s Handball team won their exciting match by a score of 16-11.