“Magnificent 7 Ride into Taunton Town”
Hucclecote Stars 49 / Galmington 44
After two postponed matches against Galmngton, due to snow and terrible travelling conditions, Hucclecotefinally got to play the first of two matches scheduled against the Somerset side.
Galmington’s home court is at Taunton Vale Sports Club,a dome like building with a brilliant blue floor surface which is really “grippy”, so very hard on the players ankles.
Galmington has had a progressive season so far, getting better and better as the year had gone on. Their biggest scalp was beating Bath just after Christmas so this team was not to be taken lightly.
The usual transition of Hucclecote players had pursuedon the run up to this game. Beth Gabriel had been drafted up to help Prem out and a few players unavailable, Stars ended up with a bare 7 travelling to play this match. 7strong players but the threat of injury hung over everyone playing!!
Coach Jac had handed the reigns over to Coach Lynne again this week for this encounter but with Lynne now having a few wins under her belt, this was no problem at all.
With players arriving from all sorts of destinations it was a relief when all 7 were on court warming up, it was a shame it wasn’t an outside game as the weather was glorious but inside the sports dome was freezing!!!
Galmington had a bench of 9 players with one or two familiar faces within them Arnieah Brown (Jane’s Hucclecote High 5 coach) and Carol Manley standing in as Galmingtons coach from the South West Region.
It is hard not to show all your cards when warming up especially when there is only 7 of you, but the same routine was carried out and everything was set.
The starting 7 were Jane Taylor GS, Brooke Vivian GA, Helen Hynes © WA, Mitzi Scott C, Bryony Smith WD, Lydia Jones GD and Izzy Robinson GK.
1st quarter and Galmington really came out of the blocks fast and with a well drilled team connecting with the ball,feeding their shooting circle with confidence. However, it wasn’t long before Lydia and Izzy got the two shooters styles read and immediately made life in their territory uncomfortable.
At the other end of the court Jane had unusually started the game at GS with Brooke commanding the GA bib but these two are so universal they worked seamlessly together regardless.
Goal for goal and end to end the ball went and with a couple of rebounds and a nice intercept by centre Mitzi Scott the end of quarter score was 15/12 in Hucclecotesfavour-Jane nailing a 100% shooting stat for this quarter (10/10).
Coach Lynne made no changes going into the 2nd quarter just advice to put pressure on the opposition GS and look after the ball.
Galmington also kept the same line up, and for good reason as they really bought the game back to Hucclecote, but Stars just soaked up the pressure andplayed as hard and fastback.
This game was going to be a very closely contested game with very few mistakes by both sides and the umpires were being fair and consistent with their decisions. Mid court were having their own running battles but Mitzi was controlling the centre position with confidence.
Galmington had managed to capitalised on a couple of Hucclecote’s small mistakes and the score line narrowed up immediately, there was now only 1 goal between the side at half time 23/24.
At this point in the match it was anybody’s game although the Hucclecote Stars were showing an air of unity about them regardless of the score.
When scores are this close in a match the 3rd quarter so often decides the outcome of the game with strategic player changes, with this in mind Coach Lynne swapped the goal shooting circle around with Jane let loose to run at GA and Brooke able to get up close and personal with the goal post at GS.
Another swap of players was in the defence circle with Izzy coming out to GD and Lydia dropping back to GKto practice her “Ballet” moves with poise and balance!
If there had been a fresh pair of legs available Helen Hynes would have grabbed them gladly at WA but there wasn’t so the mid court stayed the same.
Galmington also made a few changes with their most influential change at GS bringing on Laura Phelps, a well-seasoned young player with an accurate shooting style.
3rd quarter got going and with huge pressure being put on Hucclecote’s mid court. Likewise any transition of ball by Galmington was having no easy ride through Bryony Smith at WD, she just simply putting in the disruptive work to slow the ball down. Bryony was working well with Izzy and Lydia and the intercepts and rebounds were starting to come. Lydia was snapping up intercepts during this quarter 3 in total along with the aerial battle for rebounds.
It could not go without saying that Helen was trying to keep her accuracy together feeding the circle and with one or two feeds going astray she had let it get under her skin and this was showing in her frustrated play.
Although Stars were still in front by 2 goals the quarter end could not come quick enough so everybody could have a breather and take stock of the game situation.
Score was now 35/33 to Hucclecote.
The team camaraderie during this interval of the game was exemplary with each one of the bare 7 players rallying around one another to lift the team spirit.
You could see that there was a powerful unity of the team and they were going to channel this into a win whatever it was going to take!!
The 4th and final quarter of netball was as good a netballplayed as I have ever seen with every player on the Stars team giving 200%. The game was still close but a new sense of vigour ran through the entire squad.
Jane was simply on fire at GA and her accuracy on goal near perfect, she hardly let Brooke get her hands on the ball but whilst it was working everyone was happy to leave well alone!
Helen found that reserve of energy and everything just clicked linking with Mitzi who’s middle name should be “Smiley” as she had held a beautiful smile on her face the entire game.
Our “Lioness” at WD lay in wait pouncing on anything that tried to get past her and if it did they had to confront Izzy who had excelled in the defensive “D” grabbing intercepts and rebounds by the bucket load.
As the game was drawing to a close Stars not only had their sights set on a win but to try and depriveGalmington the close score bonus point, with the score sitting at 48/44 to Stars and the ball in Galmington hands Izzy and Lydia managed to force a crucial turn over and the ball was swiftly sent through court to the ever dependable Jane who slotted the all important goal.
Final score 49/44.
What a game played with shear grit and determination by every player not just Hucclecote but Galmington too, who had never given up the fight!
Galmington awarded the player of the match to Jane Taylor at GA with their coach Carol Manley personallycoming across to Jane at the end of the match with words of praise and shaking her hand which was a lovely gesture for our youngest player.
Coach Lynne awarded her player of the game to our nonestop-smiling Mitzi who had been so cool headed under immense pressure in the centre court.
From my personal point of view there were 7 players who deserved an award today hence the match report heading,
“The Magnificent 7”
Player of the match = Jane Taylor
Players Player = Jane Taylor
Coaches Players = Mitzi Scott
Squad = Brooke Vivian, Jane Taylor, Helen Hynes, Mitzi Scott, Bryony Smith, Izzy Robinson, Lydia Jones.
Coach = Lyne Vivian
Manager = Sarah Taylor
Primary Carer = Andrew Taylor
Scorer = Rachel Pruit