By Kieran Moriarty
Durham Women’s Lacrosse 1s demonstrated their imperious form once again to overcome a tenacious Loughborough side in an entertaining match which saw the Palatinates record a tidy 11-7 win.
The Palatinates were confident going into this fixture on the basis of their current unbeaten record this season. Once again this year, the Durham team has been packed with top class players. Iona Dryden, Tessa Helf and Amy Graham have all represented Wales, Germany and Scotland respectively at the Euros this year, while Captain Emma Adams has previously captained the u19 England team at the junior World Cup. With such fine pedigree in the squad, it was always going to be daunting contest for the visitors.
The first few minutes were an accurate indicator of the thrilling contest to come. Loughborough immediately began on the attack and forced the Durham keeper to make a decent save from a long range effort, tipping the ball over the bar.
The Palatinates responded well to this early scare and soon took the lead. A fluid cross field passing move saw the ball clinically finished in the bottom right corner to make it 1-0 to Durham.
The opening goal energised the home players and soon they were the team exerting all of the pressure. Loughborough’s keeper was forced into making two fine stops to keep her team only one goal behind. However such sustained pressure from Durham was only ever going to lead to another goal and in a few minutes, the Palatinates had doubled their lead.
Loughborough seemed to be on the ropes but commendably rose to the challenge and fought back. Following a swift counter-attacking move, the visitors got themselves on the scoresheet to make it 2-1.
In the closing stages of the first quarter, Durham began to turn on the style. Two goals in quick succession gave the home side some welcome breathing space and saw them finish the quarter in a 4-1 lead.
Durham carried their momentum into the second quarter. Once again, the Loughborough keeper was called into action to make some important blocks while the team in white were also guilty of some wasteful finishing in front of goal.
Nevertheless Durham began to pull away from the visitors with four goals. Loughborough could only muster one goal in response, ensuring the home side went into the half time interval with an impressive 8-2 lead.
The third quarter began as a carbon copy repeat of the second. The Loughborough keeper once again intervened to keep the score credible for her team, saving unorthodoxically with her face from a point blank effort. Nevertheless, the goals continued to come for Durham and in a matter of minutes, it was 10-2 to the Palatinates.
It was at this point that Loughborough rallied. After getting their third goal, Durham called a time out to regroup. As it transpired, this break had the opposite effect as Loughborough came out of the restart a completely revitalised side. In two minutes, Loughborough’s number 4 scored two incredible long range efforts to make the scores 10-5.
With the visitors smelling blood, they continued to press for a way back into the game. Durham scored early on to settle the nerves of the home crowd on the side-lines yet Loughborough refused to accept defeat. Another scoring flourish saw them score another brace of goals, bringing the scores to 11-7.
Thankfully, this team are not champions for nothing. Like true professionals, Durham shut down the game with ruthless efficiency and the final whistle soon followed.
Another great win for this incredible lacrosse team who seem to get better year upon year.
SCORERS: Iona Dryden – 5, Lauren Goerz – 1, Alice Goodinge – 1, Emma Adams – 1, Tessa Helf – 1, Amy Graham – 2.