Picture the scene. It was 14:25 on Wednesday 23rd January 2019. The two teams were huddled at their respective ends of the rink, talking over team tactics and some last minute advice. It had taken months of preparation for this moment. York Floorball President, Alan Pedrassoli Chitayat, had been organising this since Autumn Term, putting in an unimaginable amount of hours and emails. The York Floorball team had been in the Arena since midday: building the rink; taping down the markings; and warming up. Warwick Floorball Club had brought a team packed with firepower, sporting their new red kits. Fifty spectators were watching on, with many more on live stream thanks to the work of YSTV. Floorball’s governing body, UKFF - UK Floorball Federation, were in attendance having supported this match from the start, along with University of York Students' Union (YUSU), York Sport Union, York Sport, YUSTART, and a plethora of sponsors and donors whom, without, this match would never have happened. The support from UKFF and the hard work from Universities Coordinator, James Robinson, has been invaluable in making this match a reality.
But, let’s back up a bit. The reason for this match happening was to showcase to British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) and UKFF that universities can realistically host high profile matches. Floorball is not currently a BUCS sport and York Floorball are doing their part to change this. This match would be an incredible opportunity not just for the club but for the whole of UK Floorball. Instigating the sport into BUCS would be instrumental for grassroots floorball, providing a platform for universities to bring floorball to a wide range of people, across the country.
With the clock striking 14:30 and the starting lines in the rink, the referee started the match. Warwick were immediately on the front foot, pressing high and testing the defensive resolve of York. There were a few York counter attacks, but these were either deflected by the Warwick goalkeeper (who ended the period with a 100% save rate), or extinguished by the Warwick defence. Making use of space in the middle of the rink, Warwick took their chances and the period concluded 4-0 to the visitors.
After a 10 minute break, the second period began. It was a much more open affair, dominated by Warwick attacks breaking down the compressed York defence. David Morrey, centre for York Floorball, brought a goal back for the home team, sweeping in a pass from York record goal-scorer Piotrek Przyborowski. A resilient display from York Floorball was not enough to claw themselves back into the match as the period ended 9-1 to Warwick, with 20 minutes to go.
There was a steep mountain to climb for York Floorball coming into the third and final period. It started in much the same way as the second ended, with Warwick grabbing a goal 8 minutes in to take them into double figures, and a hat-trick for a second player. However, the rest of the period went York’s way as their Captain, Alice Aldridge, scored for York, assisted by Annabel Jennings. York’s goalkeeper, Elijah Ssempa, displayed a series of valiant saves to deny Warwick any further goals (ending the period with a save rate of 88.9%, his highest of the match, and second highest overall). Eetu Jyvälä swept in a third goal for York after a cross following a free hit from Owen Dearman, bringing the score to 10-3. York brought on a strong line for the final minutes of the match, with Przyborowski scoring a fourth York goal, assisted by Jyvälä. The match ended with Warwick taking the win, 10-4.
Although ending as a loss for York, the match was a success, showing the quality of floorball that resides in university teams and the spectacle that a competitive match of floorball can be. An MVP from each team was picked, courtesy of Iamfloorball.co.uk, with Przyborowski from York, thanks to his goal and assist, and Jack Meadows from Warwick being the recipients. York Floorball would like to thank everyone who participated in the match, came to support, and the numerous organisations and individuals who were integral in bringing the event to fruition.