Having braved the elements once already that day, enthusiasm was in short supply as a skeleton 1sts squad left Cheam for an afternoon away Poly match v Old A’s:
The 8 mile journey took nearly and hour and a half.
It was an outside game.
The temperature was approaching freezing.
It was raining.
You would not describe the court as ‘all weather’. Or as having a whole lot of run off space, maybe half a metre before you hit the wire fencing.
It would be fair to say that we were not at our most motivated. That was until we saw who was playing for the opposition…….Then it became simple. A win was the only option.
The least said about the netball the better. It was not one of our best displays. There were slips, dropped balls and mistakes a plenty. Our usual running game was more than slightly hampered by the conditions and any defensive tactics thwarted by the random movement of the Old A’s attack.
We battled through 4 ugly quarters of netball, but with Marisa and Suz being consistently fed the ball from Apples and slotting in the goals at one end, while SJB and the returning legendary Annari took charge of the defensive D, we gradually built on a slight end of 1st quarter lead such that the result was in no doubt going in to the 4th quarter. Special mentions go to:
– Ali C for stepping in and saving me from a further 30 mins of a truely awful performance.
– Sammy for curtailing an exhibition of cross court movement, indication and pivoting not seen by a WA for many, many years.
– SJB for playing the equivalent of 3 positions when released from the confines of GK for the final quarter.
NUNS player of the match-it could only be one person. On her welcome return to the 1sts, Annari reverted to a habit of a lifetime and walked away with it once again. Totally deserved (as always).
Old A’s player of the match-former NUNs 1st team captain and Club Captain, Jen (or Jenny as her new team mates appear to call her) Duckworth (nee LaPointe), who gave a master class performance at GK. Now you understand why losing was not an option…….
We were all feeling a little bit rusty taking to the court for the first game this year, but our focus and determination throughout the entire match ensured a hard fought victory.
Having previously beaten Lavender Park, we got quite a shock as we went goal for goal throughout the first quarter, finishing one down. A few changes to team, a pep talk from our coach and captain and we went out hunting for the ball and resolute in keeping the opposition out of the middle of the court. Both worked a treat and we managed to capitalise on a number of forced errors, finishing 25-17 up at half time.
A few haribo, a shuffle round in the mid court and the intensity increased yet again! Nor did it let up in the fourth quarter. Our defence picked off tips here, there and everywhere, we used space effectively coming down court, and feeding was superb into the circle. Final score 58 – 36 and excellent preparation for our upcoming top of the table clash.
FIRM FOUNDATIONS FEED “THE NETRONOME”
WITH ruthless performances at both ends of the court the Capital Nuns maintained its 100 per cent winning record and left Walton & Hersham A fighting for scraps.
Despite being the last game before Christmas there was no sign of festive fatigue from the Nuns as their grip on the top of the table grew tighter with a 66-30 victory.
The Southfields court has become somewhat of a fortress for the home team and Walton and Hersham were the latest team to realise why.
As in previous outings, Marisa Theron slotted goals in an almost robotic fashion leading fans to affectionately nickname her “The Netronome”.
Here, the Suz-Marisa pairing proved irresistible.
As with any decent team though, sustained success is built on strong foundations and in the defensive base of Rafter and Sarah B, Walton and Hersham rarely broke through.
When given a chance though the visiting Goal-Shooter was potently accurate and scored with a few shots from the edge of the D.
However, on the whole, aggressive defensive pressure from Nuns caused the opposition to force passes from the back-line, playing into the home team’s hands.
In a perfect world there would have been fewer balls thrown across channels than Nuns were guilty of, but with goals going in at a fast rate there was little to complain about.
Although the game was mostly one-way traffic there were a few detours via some heavy contact from Hersham and Walton’s robust Goal Attack and one incident where Rafter found herself in an Hulk Hogan-esque arm-lock.
After a quick “clarifying of the rules” by Phillips the umpires looked to cut out illegal wrestling moves.
Play was also briefly held up when umpires outlawed the playing of “brick ball” on the side-line. Although it is “an exciting new ball game to challenge any athlete’s mental and physical prowess” the match officials said it was “distracting” to netball players.
Aside from any delays or stoppages Nuns proved once more their dominance in the league.
On a quick glance at the league statistics, Nuns’ goal average is evidence that the team has concocted an impressive balance of unwavering shooting talent, fierce defence and fluid link-play in the centre court.
Match Report by Capital MENS’ member Joe (aka Mr Lauren Rafter).