Shooters Brownfield and Dunn matched each other shot for shot,once the Surrey Storm shooter had dropped the ball in the net to level the score at 4-4 - it was her 800th successful shot of the season, a remarkable tally.
With a minute and 17 seconds on the clock Storm engineered a mid-court turnover allowing Dunn to convert and take the team ahead for the first time in the match; a straight forward centre pass was also netted before the whistle signalled time up and Surrey Storm had a two goal lead.
The visitors picked up where they left off at the start of the second period that saw a little more cautious approach from the teams. In the 15 minutes the best Storm could do is double the lead but couldn’t pull further in front and three minutes before half-time, Mavericks rallied and converted a turn-over to help them win the quarter but still trail by one goal.
Game winning changes were made at half time by Mavericks boss Maggie Jackson: Louisa Brownfield came out to GA and Vicklyn Joseph took up position under the post, Guscoth and Keable swapped duties in the defensive circle. Storm couldn’t touch the Hertfordshire outfit as they levelled before moving six goals ahead.
Surrey’s skipper Tamsin Greenway called a medical tine-out and after treatment used the opportunity to swap bibs with Gemma Cosentino moving into the shooting-circle. The game restarted but the stadium clock didn’t, within the minute Storm had closed the gap by two goals before the clock was “stopped” again. Natalie Seaton was speedily treated by Storm’s physio for a severely dislocated finger – we couldn’t quite hear the click as it was relocated - there was no question of her playing on and she left for the bench in pain and distress.
Fran Desmond took her place and when the whistle was blown, this time the clock did restart. Mavericks again surged ahead into a seven goal advantage but Storm made the most of the final seconds in the quarter, (were there a few more than usual?) to cut the deficit to four.
The final sprint was played in the same spirit of the match but Mavericks got stronger and more inventive as the end of the season loomed. With 8 minutes to play Storm were still in the game trailing 45-42. Maybe the memories of previous Grand Finals spurred them on as from then on in it was the Hertfordshire side all the way. You can appreciate all the tips, rebounds and turnovers when Sky Sports reshow the match. It was a great finish to a grand final.
A year ago Maggie Jackson was banned by this reporter from using in the post-match interview the “c-word” a favourite of hers. “Consistency - Consistency - Consistency” was her constant cry either “We lack…” or we need… even “we crave” consistency” the word was there after every game (win or lose).
I think it’s probably a good time to let Maggie reintroduce it to her vocabulary because after topping the table, and after 8 other teams joined them in contesting a total of 75 matches across the FIAT Netball Superleague in 2011 - it was without a doubt the most consistent team Hertfordshire Mavericks were the most deserved winners.
POST MATCH QUOTES:
Hertfordshire Mavericks coach Maggie Jackson: “Great.. good ...I’m just delighted that for me, a squad won the game.”
“The last quarter we turned balls over, Karen Atkinson and Camilla turned balls over that I’ve been asked them to turn over all season: suddenly we went back and up we were taking balls on the circle edge we were forcing errors."
“Rachel and Tamsin are a class act and Gemma was linking in well as Becky was, Mary’s done a great job with them, but we actually split them up and we started putting pressure and errors crept in. When they looked and saw Layla in there (at GK) they wouldn’t feed it over her. Lindsay was doing a good job (at GD) she hasn’t been out there much … very proud of them and they’re the youth, so that’s what it’s all about.
Winning captain Louisa Brownfield: “I’m so pleased, so pleased it’s been a fantastic season for us. The last couple of weeks we’ve had our ups and downs, we’ve pulled through and it’s just a fantastic end to what’s been a great season. We’ve had an amazing squad, everyone gets on, there’s great banter all the time, the work ethic is immense and everyone out there was going after the same dream.”
Louisa was also full of praise for her coach Maggie Jackson: “There aren’t words to describe what Maggie Jackson does, she’s absolutely amazing,” she said. “She underrates herself but among players she’s highly respected. She made the key changes, she went with her gut feeling and they paid off for us.”
Surrey Storm’s skipper Tamsin Greenway: “What a game! Obviously I’m disappointed, I’m disappointed we lost but I have to put it out to them, fair play… For half a game we were the better team in terms of what we did to them defensively but didn’t take our chances. In attack we let ourselves down tonight and that’s disappointing.”
The Storm skipper was also complimentary about the eventual winners: “They were good you can’t take it away from them Mavericks are always a solid team. They don’t do anything amazingly different they just work hard, play well do their job really really well turnover ball and take it to goal and they did that today. When we rattled them they changed and it worked - well played.”
Storm head coach Mary Beardwood: “Congratulations to Maggie as coach of Mavericks I thought she made very, very, good changes in the second half which killed us off at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. I thought we held them well for half an hour; we played some really good classy netball but the changes we didn’t react quickly enough. Credit to them I thought they played really, really well. We couldn’t have done much more, so credit to my players because they gave it their all but were second best on the night. My team were tremendous the way they started off and we finished with some youngsters in there at the end the WD and GD who finished - Fran (Desmond) and Katy (Holland) 19 and 17, well in a Grand Final at the age… can’t be bad.”
photo Getty Images