By Kishan Vaghela
St Aidan’s Mixed Hockey were beaten 2-0 by Alcuin College in the first hockey match of the York Varsity at York’s JLD.
The game from the start was played through the wide areas, with Durham receiving some joy down the left-hand side through. However, Alcuin eventually took control of the game and penned St Aidan’s into their own half. After Mike Wallis dragged his shot wide, the hosts took the lead through Sophie Raffan, after Mike Wallis had squared the ball to her. Alcuin could have made it two soon after, but Matt Cox skewed his effort wide when well-placed.
Cox did eventually extend the home side’s lead, beautifully clipping the ball past the onrushing Ralph Tushingham after being put through by Wallis. St Aidan’s failed to pose a real threat to Alcuin’s in the first half despite an unconventional attempt from William Janney, although Alcuin goalkeeper James Titterington was alert to smother a potentially dangerous through ball and the York College’s defence also held firm after a series of Aidan’s short corners.
Aidan’s attacking threat increased in the second half as they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, with Alcuin content to play on the break. Ollie Vercoe failed to capitalise on Aidan’s dominance, spurning an excellent opportunity, whilst Janney was again unlucky not to find the target with an audacious reverse stick flick.
Alcuin’s second half tactics did not see their attack totally nullified, with Raffan, Nicholas Yates, Wallis and captain Hettie Leslie all being denied, when certainly the latter ought to have scored. St Aidan’s pushed for a route back into the game, but after Lewis John missed a glorious opportunity at the back post with just a few minutes remaining, it was clearly not the Durham college’s day.
On the defeat, men’s captain Rob Cullinane, who missed out through a thumb injury, said “I think today’s game showed the importance of playing together as a mixed team, and how it heavily outweighs the value of the individual talent we possess. They were a more composed and assured team, highlighting how significant and beneficial the experience of playing as a mixed team is. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic experience for us to represent Durham University”.
Meanwhile, Aidan’s winger Janney stated “I believe that more training as a mixed team would have vastly improved our performance in the first half which, arguably, is where the game was lost”.
Photograph: Kishan Vaghela