The “Lioness” in Defence turns the game !
Hucclecote Stars 50 / Whitchurch 42
This week saw Hucclecote Stars play the return match against the Somerset side Whitchurch. This team had been newly promoted into Regional 1 league this season and the first encounter with them saw Stars benefit from a home fixture and support, winning 66/39, however the shoe was firmly on the other foot as we travelled down to Midsomers Norton.
The squad for this game had been sorted through the week but then at the eleventh hour or I should say “the midnight hour”texts and WhatsApps started to fly. Players unwell, players moving up to help Prem out and players being sourced and cleared to play with Netball South West right up to the point we arrived at the venue.
So with Beth Gabriel ill and Lydia Jones drafted up to Premwho were playing all the way up in Chester, North Wales , Stars were a bare 7. With no coach Jac so coach Lynne stepped in to control proceedings.
The management and Sarah had frantically tried to find another reserve player and located Mitzi Scott, Sarah managed to get her cleared to play only one hour before centre pass, she was still in transit as the girls warmed up on court but made it in time for the first whistle.
Starting 7 were Brooke Vivian GS, Jane Taylor GA, Helen Hynes WA (Captain), Felicity Elvidge C, Bryony Smith WD, Izzy Robinson GD, Katie Cruickshank GK with Mitzi Scott catching her breath on the bench.
Whitchurch have some very tall players in defence and a very established GS who used her maturity to show Stars a thing or two.
The first quarter saw Whitchurch take the upper hand with some very fast ball through court to the GS who was netting everything.
Hucclecote’s defence was being penalized hard and had to adjust their game to suite the umpire’s parameters never the less you could not take away Whitchurch’s determination to succeed.
It was quite a shock for Stars to be trailing 8/12 by quarter end.
There was plenty to talk about during the small interval and between coach Lynne and Captain Helen one or two pointers were passed onto the players.
Defence to keep their shoulders up and give 4 feet, Brooke to draw the opposition defence as well as Jane to open up channels of attack.
2nd quarter was under way with no player changes, a lot less obstruction was instantly observed in the defence which made the Whitchurch shooters have to shoot long. Katie at GK snapped up an intercept along with Bryony at WD during this quarter.
Flic had really ran hard in the first quarter and was showing signs of centre fatigue but she soldiered on keeping the ball flowing through to Helen who with pin point accuracy was feeding Jane and Brooke. These two were now getting the better of the long armed and long legged Whitchurch defence.
At the quarter end Stars had regained the 4 goals down and added a further 4 to their tally. Half time score 24/20 to Hucclecote.
There were a couple of changes coach Lynne made going into the 3rd, Our drafted up Mitzi Scott took over the centre court duties and Jane and Brooke swopped bibs giving Jane a 15 minute breather playing GS.
This game was still anybodies game with only 4 goals separating them so Stars had to be clinical with every ball or Whitchurch would be right back in!
3rd quarter saw both teams trading goals and both shooting circles were showing incredible accuracy, Whitchurch’s mature GS simply didn’t miss no matter where she was stood in the “D” which made Izzy and Katie’s job so much harder as she also had height on her side too !!
The Stars player that really was showing her metal was Bryony Smith at WD, she had a steel like determination to disrupt any Whitchurch ball before it entered the shooting circle. She also was reading the game play and took a lovely clean intercept which was sent swiftly back down court and converted. This was the only difference between the two sides during this quarter as Stars only increased their lead by 1 goal with the quarter end score now 37/32 to Hucclecote.
The 4th and final quarter saw Jane and Brooke swop bibs again with no other changes.
Mitzi Scott had slipped into her position like a professional and the team were glad of her dedication to step up to the plate.
This quarter was all about looking after our centre passes and working on anything else.
The player for Stars who was showing a master class at Wing Defence play was Bryony, she really did make the difference during this last quarter with 3 clean intercepts and the look of a “Lioness” hunting down her prey!!
The whole team lifted their game and Whitchurch began to throw around panic ball, even their dependable GS started to miss a few shots which was unusual.
The clock counted down and what I thought was the final whistle of the match actually turned out to be Brooke at GS in open space trying to get the attention of the feeders, instead of shouting “Here” or “Yes” she shrilled in a high pitch squeek“EEEEEEEEK” like an over grown mouse !!!!
We did all laugh but she did get the ball and closed the game out by scoring the final goal.
Final score 50/42.
Whitchurch had really bought the game to Hucclecote and although at the bottom of the league table at the moment they certainly do not deserve relegation with the performance they showed in this game.
Opposition’s nominated player of the match went to Jane Taylor who tends to always make space and creates a big presence on court along with accurate goal shooting.
The players and Coach certainly got the right player in their nomination with Bryony Smith “ The Lioness” with her spirit of steel !
Player of the match = Jane Taylor
Players player = Bryony Smith
Coaches player = Bryony Smith
Squad = Brooke Vivian, Jane Taylor, Helen Hynes, Felicity Elvidge, Mitzi Scott, Bryony Smith, Izzy Robinson, Katie Cruickshank.
Coach = Lynne Vivian
Manager = Sarah Taylor
Primary Carer = Andrew Taylor