The long distance journey to Oaksway with an overnight stay certainly eased the burden on the Hucclecote squad of 8. Refreshed and close to the venue they arrived fully focussed. Hucclecote welcomed Michaela Iffil and Carly Taylor into the squad as a shortage of players meant they needed reinforcements and both slotted in well.
The first quarter Oaksway got off to a strong start whilst Hucclecote took time to settle with a new look line up of Cook at GS, and Iffil at Centre. This quarter went in Oaksway favour although Hucclecote had more attempts at goal putting up 17 shots v Oaksways 14. Oaksways shooting partnership showed more consistency and understanding and this in part was what gave them a 3 goal advantage 12 – 9 at the end of the first period.
A switch for the 2nd quarter saw Sarah Lee move to C and Iffil to WD and this certainly made a difference with Iffil taking on ex England Vicky Burgess and keeping her out of the game and Lee adding more pressure to Oaksways centre pass. Meanwhile behind them the unit defence of Gabriel and Barrett impressed with Barrett particularly taking intercepts and rebounds with great confidence and determination. This was Hucclecote’s best quarter and from a 3 goal deficit, with the defence on fire and the attack moving the ball well and at their pace, Hucclecote suddenly edged ahead by 2 goals 19-17.
Carly Taylor was introduced to GS in the third period, and with Oaksway also making changes bringing on Oaksway /Team Northumbrians Natalie Conor and taking off Vicky Burgess at WA, this favoured the home side during this time. Hucclecote’s GA Olivia Beveridge worked tireslessly as did Becky Hemmings at WA however Oaksway stuck to their task and with dogged determination clawed back the deficit to take the lead by 4 goals going into the final 15 putting Hucclecotes attack under much pressure.
With Cook back on at GA and Beveridge to GS, Hucclecote continued to battle it out with Rosie Barrett at GK gaining player of the match for an outstanding and best performance so far this season. Oaksway managed to get on a run of goals and with Cook physically pushed to the ground off a CP a quick change saw Cook take GS bib with Beveridge back out on court. This steadied Hucclecote’s play down and from a 10 goal deficit which Oaksways had to managed secure, Cote pulled back scoring 3 in succession with Cook producing a 72% conversion during the game..... an impressive performance for a talented player who has played only GD/WD this season.
The last few minutes stayed in Hucclecote’s favour but with Hemmings receiving a facial injury with a poke in the eye, and this being their 2nd time out in this period, Hemmings had to leave the court with Taylor stepping into the WA position. A determined Hucclecote continued to work hard but with less than a minute on the clock the game went in Oaksway’s favour by just 6 goals taking the game 42-36. This was an outstanding performance for Hucclecote with a new look line up and regional 1 players stepping up to the mark demonstrating how strong the strength and depth now is within the club. With Oaksway being a mixture of their superleague side Team Northumbria this result was a really encourage one.
With Oaksway having the advantage of being at home, Coach Gilly Salter was pleased with the determination and support that her squad showed. She is also convinced that this result will be reversed when Oaksway visit Gloucestershire on the 9th May as Hucclecote will maintain the squad from today as well as being back at full advantage with all other players available.
Thanks to Sue Wainwright for driving and taken the burden off the players for a journey that was over 500 miles in distance and to Barb Warburton for her continued as Team Manager.
Squad: S Cook , C Taylor, O Beveridge, B Hemmings, M iffil,S Lee, J Gabriel (Capt), R Barrett
Coach: Gilly Salter