THE under 15 boys and girls Yorkshire Cup was battled for with true Yorkshire grit on Sunday at Whitby Leisure Centre.
With entries from South, West and North Yorkshire the battle was on to be the Pride of Yorkshire.
Youngsters from the city of York pushed the local sides the closest in both competitions.
In the girls’ competition, North Riding started strongly with the experience of captain Eva Elias and Izzy Shackleton leading the local team to early victory.
However, if local girls thought it was going to be easy they got a shock as York VC bounced back from their early defeat to come at the home team all guns blazing and a point-for-point battle ensued.
It was the steady setting from Alice Richardson that kept Eagles on the attack in this match.
The game concluded in the home team’s favour with Sarah Powell claiming a good run of points from her serving.
While the older more experienced North Riding girls were locked in what turned out to be a title decider with York, the younger of the North Riding girls team was finding things were getting better after a heavy first game defeat.
The youngsters were growing in confidence and good serving from Fiona Searle brought the the North Riding girls back into the competition and Hannah Peverell and Jessica Edwards moved around with confidence, making some excellent volleys.
Georgina Hatch was making all the difference to the team’s confidence with her good receiving back court.
It was lovely to see them settle down to play three-touch volleyball. Abbie Robertson was vocal on court and inspired her team-mates to victory. With Ella Jones setting wide attacks Jess Slater got on the scoresheet and North Riding took a credible third place in the final rankings.
Over in the boys’ section it was clear the cup was going to end up in North Yorkshire as York and North Riding had parents and coaches on the end of their seats in a nail-biting even game.
North Riding took the first set only to see York come back and take the second in what was the boys’ final and it went to a decider - first team to 15 points. North Ridings captain won the call to serve and Rory Munroe switched from a gentle underarm serve to a hard hitting overarm taking players by surprise as he claimed the first points for the home team.
Neil Janknowski was outstanding and caught the eye of the Yorkshire selectors along with a cool Ben MacDonald who even as the final set was matched point by point, refused to buckle, never rushed a shot and kept putting quality passes across to his team-mates.
James Goswell was benefiting from the good technique of his team-mates as he spiked home vital points. With York leading 10-8 a timeout was called.
A cheer went up as The North Riding Eagles U15 girls had won the girls Yorkshire Cup after a commanding performance in the final game by Paige Sweeny, Eva Elias and Izzy Shackleton.
York served and James Mcewen made the call of the day “out” - a close call but one that brought the score to 9-10.
Mitchell Kelly held his nerve and served, only for York to panic and the game was 10-10.
His next serve was blasted back on first touch but Edward Bainbridge moved across and dug the ball up for Ben McDonald to volley it back court and take North Riding into an 11-10 lead.
Kelly put his serve in but York won a good rally to level. A strong serve from York looked to be an ace but Janknowski controlled the ball and Goswell leaped to tip a home point before Ben MacDonald served an ace.
York broke the serve to come back, only for another close line call, this time Rory Munro called it for North Riding, 14-12 and set point.
Goswell sent a strong serve over the net and as York tried to take it high, the ball spun off his hands out of court and North Riding had won the U15 Yorkshire Cup. A smashing double victory for all young players.