Durham’s Women’s Lacrosse 2s continued their 100% record in the Northern 1A Division with a comprehensive 23-6 victory over Leeds Beckett Carnegie University at Maiden Castle. The result perfectly epitomized the special #ThisGirlCan week, celebrating the achievements of women in sport.
The Palatinates were utterly dominant in the first quarter, taking the lead very shortly after face-off through Rose after a fabulous run. The home side would go on to score a further six goals without reply in the quarter, including a hat-trick from Sampson, who linked extremely well with captain India Hussain and forward Emma Buiserret. The visitors threatened just the once in the first quarter as Durham demonstrated the confidence of a side unbeaten in both league and cup competitions so far this season.
Durham’s focus did not waver at the start of the second quarter, despite the visitors managing to find the net for the first time in the afternoon, as Sampson and Hussain converted shortly afterwards from face-off either side of Leeds Beckett’s goal. The Palatinates’ link-up play was equally as impeccable, with Claire Thomas and Liv Bertolotti recording their first goals of the afternoon as a result. Leeds Beckett did manage to score past Durham goalkeeper Sloane on another occasion in the quarter, but they proved to be consolations already.
The start of the third quarter was extremely balanced, with the visitors applying pressure to the Palatinates. However, in spite of their three goals in the quarter, one of which came after an excellent marauding and surging run, they ultimately lacked the creativity and precision of the home side. Meanwhile, Durham increased the deficit, with the same culprits Rose and Hussain proving influential, not only in the scoring of their goals, but also in the eventual finishes of Claire and Hannah Thomas, in addition to Bertolotti’s, as they went into the final quarter 20-5 up.
Arguably the Palatinates’ most pleasing passages of play came in the final quarter, when patience and precision were key in searching for the best opportunity to have a go at goal. The game appeared to open up in favour of Durham, with a deluge of attacks resulting in some fine team goals as they added another three to their tally. Leeds Beckett may have had the final say, scoring from the last attack of the game, but it was Durham who overwhelmed and completely dominated their opponents.
Claire Thomas was delighted with the victory, drawing on a comparison with their season opener as a medium of improvement. “I am over the moon with how much we have improved from our first game which was a really scrappy encounter and we didn’t play as a team to what you see now.
“There were a lot of strong individual performances, but within that we played as a real unit. Our transition was fantastic and our composure in attack has come on leaps and bounds. The word we keep in our minds at the moment is ‘flair’, and I think we showed that today with some style as well,” she added.
On her hopes after the Christmas break, she stated: “The big target for this team, one which I would say is not unachievable at all, is to go the season undefeated; we have absolutely set our sights on going for both the league and the cup”.
Photograph: Matt Roberts