Match 1 – County vs Fairlands.
Pertinent facts going into the game
1. Downs are 2 points clear at the top of the table, with 1 game less played than everybody else and only us and bottom of the table teams left to play (Ark x2)
2. We are 2nd, with Cobham and Fairlands joint 3rd
3. Fairlands are our absolute bogey team and we lost to them by 3 goals pre-Xmas, in a frustratingly error filled game.
Starting line up – T, SJB, Sammy, Laura, Rosie, Apples, Becki subs – Annari, Vicks & Suz
Mentally we were feeling pretty confident that we had improved massively since the last time we played them and that everything we had been doing in training had been really improving game, however we got off to a slightly more nervy start than we intended. Plenty of turnovers coming out of the defense and we were making it really hard for the, disrupting what is their normally unflappable flow, but the unforced errors, mostly in our passing, just crept in and we couldn’t quite convert. Finished first quarter 9-10
2nd quarter was more of the same, some stern words from Joan, but just couldn’t quite find our rhythm (or our passing!!). Too much movement as we brought the ball down the court and into attack, meaning that their very long armed and floaty players were picking off way too many hesitant balls and tips. Finished 2nd quarter at 19-18
Some further stern words and some substitutions to ring the changes, with Vicks coming on to WD and Suz to GS. With strict instructions to prop our ourselves against our players and make one clean drive, the rhythm of our play and confidence in what we were doing finally stepped up and we started to convert the turnovers and pull away. Despite the attitude and uncontrolled contacts that were flying round the court, we managed to pull away to take a 5 goal lead 28-27
Final quarter – looks like a bit of confidence was what we needed, they had a fortuitous substitute of a key defensive player due to injury which knocked their flow a bit and we stormed away to win 43-30.
It wasn’t pretty and it also wasn’t that pleasant – every single ball was a battle and every single move/bit of space had to be fought for. Good on us for having the mental capacity to dig deep and concentrate on playing our game, the better game!!
Awesome – this secures us 2nd place by 4 points and leaves us well placed should there be any crazy upsets (1sts note – Ark beat Cobham by 9 goals yesterday so who knows what they could pull out against Downs normal team… the pressure is never off!!)
Match 2 – Poly vs Tiffin
Apparently we are lying approx joint 3rd in this league – joint with Gems. Who needs more motivation to secure a win than that!
Starting line up – T, Annari, Sammy, Marnie, Rosie, Apples, Suz – subs SJB, Laura sadly out due to niggling injury
Always a hard game as Tiffins are very switched on, technically really well drilled, accurate and unrattleable, plus most of them look like olympic athletes. Don’t have the score card for this one but as far as I remember we finished the first quarter slightly down. Annari’s fresh legs working a treat in defence and again we were getting plenty of turnovers. Once again though, struggling to convert as we struggled to get the ball from the center third to the goal. Tiredness (mental as much as physical) and adjusting to completely different style of defence took its toll
2nd quarter they stepped it up a bit and we still struggled to cut out the errors and keep our heads in the game. We still made it really hard for them and there was some amazing pressure being put on all down the court, but we weren’t quite getting the better of their mid-court/end-court defence. Some great work from Marnie though, stepping in to the C bib as if she’d been playing with us all her life! They were really packing the court out and our vision and decision-making just started to let us down as we gave too many telegraphed/easily picked off balls. Finished about 5/6 down
Slight change at half time moving Annari to WD and bringing SJB on to GD. Still some fab moments of play but our tiredness increased our error rate and they managed to creep ahead by another 5 ( I think – have no score card and was a little wary by this point!)
Another change with Rosie going to GA and me going to WA, plus Sammy going back on to WD. Some determination to go out on a high and a new “get busy” style of defence to be implemented. The changes in attack seemed to make a real difference and shake us up in to being more effective. Great vision and passes in from both Marnie and Rosie, plus some fab shooting from both shooters ensuring we capitalised on the turnovers that were still coming from the other end, and we managed to win the quarter and hold the score at approx 10 down.
Not a bad result against a Regional 1 team having played a really mentally and physically challenging game already. We should be pretty please with ourselves.
Next games on March 24th – it’s the big ones!! County vs Downs at Cheam (which is a must win if we want to hang in the title battle just in case Downs should crumble against one of the others), and then Cumberland at home. If anybody fancies a day out, we would massively appreciate the support at Cheam, and if anybody just wants to watch a fast, feisty game of netball, the Cumberland one would be a great one. It’s our last home game and we had what is probably still one of our best games of the season against them last time, so we are more than up for it. All/any support always much much appreciated