Round 16 Match: BRUNEL HURRICANES v TEAM BATH
Venue: Guildford Spectrum At: 2000
Umpires: Deborah Morgan,Kylie Woodhead & Dawn Heron
Q4 & FT: 41-51
Tickets sold out weeks ago for this top test with the best team the Co-operative Netball Superleague has to offer and fans of the Brunel Hurricanes were treated to a sizzling warm up as the Talent team took their league title with a 46-25 win over their Team Bath counterparts. It made for a real buzz around the Guildford Spectrum where the Hurricanes play-off plans have blown off course in recent weeks. Protecting a perfect league record has been order of the day for Team Bath who have topped the table all season and that means fielding the best available side; the England players may have been part of a three match international series in the past week but they were still out on court for their club this weekend.
Selecting key personnel for the starting line-up suggests the table-toppers were keen to get the result in the bag as soon as possible and it was one of the fastest games of netball the league has seen for some time, the pace of playing Jamaica perhaps, overflowing into the domestic game. As always Pamela Cookey played the high standard of netball we’ve come to expect although Brunel’s GD Jamie Galley was able to keep the GA under pressure in the first 15 minutes and there was very little between the sides by the whistle.
The second quarter did not go well for the 1500 fans packed in to see if the Hurricanes could consolidate their fourth place in the table. For 15 minutes the home side made silly errors that stopped the ball being fed into their strike force, the scraps the shooters were left with means in that period they could only get 4 from the 7 attempts on goal; Team Bath continued playing by the book and so by scoring for 19 of their 23 shots blasted into a sizeable lead that suggested it was game over by half-time.
Substituting players on and off is a dark art, more sophisticated than the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school of thinking. Brunel’s boss Natalie Swift made a good call by bringing on Kate Ricks and Chioma Matthews to strengthen the centre court attacking options. They were both outstanding clearing the passage in to shooter Vicklyn Joseph who accepted their gifts and popped them in the net. Team Bath could be forgiven for thinking with such a lead it would be okay to rest players including Eboni Beckford-Chambers but her absence certainly helped the home side’s effort to close up - they got more ball into the circle and won the quarter by six.
Eboni was back for the final quarter that again was a close run thing. The damage had been done before half-time and Team Bath were able to sit tight and chalk up another win, watched from the stands by the statuesque Jamaican shooter Romelda Aiken - it’s 13 out of 13 now a maximum 26 points. Brunel Hurricanes however have just 14 are have been joined by Leeds Carnegie in the push to finish 4th in the table to earn a place in the place-offs. A superior goal tally keeps the Hurricanes ahead and we may have to wait until the penultimate match of the regular season to see if they can hold on; Leeds Carnegie are at home on 7 March in a tough derby match with Northern Thunder - Brunel Hurricanes play Loughborough Lightning on 14 March.
Brunel Hurricanes Coach Natalie Swift said afterwards “ It was a much better performance and there were moments when everything clicked for us. We need to work on our 2nd quarter and delivering consistency for the whole sixty minutes. In the second half we played a much more disciplined game and are just starting to find ourselves again. More of the same is required next week and we need to try and keep that consistency for the whole match but I was very pleased with the second half performance and there were lots of positives for us to take forward.”
GS: Vicklyn Joseph
GA: Asha Tett
WA: Louise Moffats
C: Becky Nash (capt)
WD: Donna Fearon
GD: Jamie Galley
GK: Sonia Mkoloma
V. Joseph 27/39 = 69%
A. Tett 14/19 = 74%
GS: Rachel Dunn
GA:Pamela Coookey (capt)
WA: Tamsine Greenway
C : Serena Guthrie
WD: Sara Bayman
GD: Eboni Beckford-Chambers off in 3rd
GK: Stacey Francis
Rachel Dunn 18/23 = 78%
Pamela Coookey22/27 = 81%
Monique Wood 11/16 = 68%
MATCH: Celtic Dragons versus Leeds Carnegie
VENUE: Welsh Institute of Sport, Cardiff AT: 1400
UMPIRES: Chris Wilson-Smith, Kim Burns and 3rd official Alison Smith
Leeds Carnegie could still finish in the top four this season and take part in the end of season play-offs and they appeared to relish the chance to take another step closer with thumping win over Celtic Dragons. We’re up to round 16 in the Co-operative Netball Superleague and that means there aren’t many more points to be banked although goals scored could yet shape up the way the fourth place in the table is decided.
It was 56-28 in favour of the visiting side at the final whistle but it could have been much worse after Celtic Dragons stalled at the start of the match twelve goals down at the end of 15 minutes is more than an uphill task for any side and to be 21 adrift at the half-time interval doesn’t do much to encourage a comeback in the last part of the match.
Leeds ran the drills in the first half with Amanda Martin proving herself a class act as usual in and around their attacking circle and they had little to trouble them as the score proves, their only substitutions were enforced by injuries to Jo Walker and Lisa Ferneyhough in the later stages of the game.
After 30 minutes of punishment the Dragons woke up and join the game - they only lost the 3rd quarter by one goal and were 9-6 up at one stage but as has been their wont this season they failed to sustain the success into the final whistle. Carnegie banked the points and a significant goal advantage but it could have been more.
Celtic Dragons performance director Ian Root said after “We can do the good stuff but are just not consistent. We can’t sustain our concentration for long enough.” He also paid tribute to their opponent “Leeds’ defence is very good, very physical but in goal-attack Amanda Martin they have a very clever playmaker…. If Leeds can sustain that kind of performance they could make it into the play-offs.”
Marion Lofthouse assistant coach with Leeds Carnegie told us “We are very pleased with the win because it means we are still in contention for the 4th spot but felt we could have scored more goals. We need to push harder and finish stronger.”
GS: Chrissie Munroe
GA: Cara-Lee Moseley
WA: Amanda Trounce
C: Steph Essex
WD: Sian Carrington
GD: Sara Hale
GK: Lindsay Keable
Chrissie Munroe = 69.5%
Cara-Lee Moseley = 72%
GS: Joanne Walker
GA: Amanda Martin
WA: Danielle Bloomfield
C: Jennifer Fields
WD: Lisa Ferneyhough
GD: Ama Agbeze
GK: Jo Davis (capt)
Joanna Walker 21/26 = 83%
Amanda Martin 22/31 = 78%
Darcy Worsdale 3/5 = 60%
SUPERLEAGUE ROUND 16: MAVERICKS V GLASGOW WILDCATS
VENUE: HERTFORDSHIRE SPORTS VILLAGE
DATE AND TIME: 27TH FEBRUARY, 2009. AT 2000
Glasgow Wildcats have been proving something of a revelation on the road in the latter stages of this season and London teams seem to be bring out the best in them. Certainly in the first 15 minutes of Co-operative Netball Superleague Round 16 match against Mavericks there was no pussyfooting around by the visitors. Springing into a 3-1 lead they dominated the quarter, their zone defence working a treat in keeping Mavericks shooters as far from the post as possible, while at the other end captain Lesley MacDonald was having it all her own way in the circle. She was able to take the ball in plenty of space giving her even more time to net the ball in her calm efficient way. On the rare occasion possession was lost the goal-shooter was quickly out of the circle and on the defensive and it was her efforts that ensured Wildcats led by 5 goals after 15 minutes.
Mavericks needed to up the ante to stop the slide and turned to Louisa Brownfield, who has had a busy week. The shooter was part of England’s squad that handed Jamaica at 3 match defeat in the Co-operative International Netball Series. Her arrival on the court at the beginning of the second quarter inspired the Mavericks attack, providing more purpose, more presence and more stature in the goal area and despite looking a little jaded after three other match preparations in the last six days the 22-21 lead at half-time was pretty much down to her efforts in the attacking third.
In the third quarter Mavericks started to dominate playing the kind of netball that has guaranteed them a place in the Superleague Play-off. Defensively the home side came out stronger and shut down Glasgow’s route into the circle and with Louisa Brownfield netting 100% the home side took an unassailable lead.
Glasgow Wildcats moved their skipper into the GA bid in the last quarter in an effort to bring more ball into the circle. Lesley McDonald is a mobile goal-shooter and just as handy in the goal attack bib, she was certainly speeding across the court when she collided with her own wing-defence; an ice-pack sorted her face but poor Stephanie Docherty had to play on with a chunk of zinc plaster on her bleeding lip - she looked like some had stuck a post-it note on her chin. On the plus side the appendage served to highlight how well she was playing. Karen Atkinson came on for a cameo in the last 15 minutes. The England captain played all three hours of the series with Jamaica but looked fresh as she came out on court to lead her Superleague side to another win. She was presented with yet more flowers and must now be in serious need of a spare vase after collecting a carpet of blooms having made her 100th appearance for her country on Thursday 26th February in Nottingham.
Glasgow Wildcats coach Denise Holland wasn’t disappointed with the defeat “I’m really pleased with the performance tonight. We played with game intelligence and really worked hard to capitalize on our strengths”.
Mavericks coach Kendra Slawinki admits it was tight to start with: “It was a nip and tuck game in the the first quarter and Glasgow has the edge in the first quarter and I felt the changes were fitting in well because by the end of the second quarter we were much more competitively.”
GS: Michelle Hall
GA: Ella Clark
WA: Gemma Wiseman
C: Camilla Buchanan
WD: Natalie Seaton
GD: Hazel Schofield
GK: Naida Hutchinson
Michelle Hall 23/28 = 82%
Ella Clark 1/4 = 25%
Louisa Brownfield 24/27 = 89%
GS: Lesley MacDonald (capt)
GA: Rachel Holmes
WA: Gail Higgins
C : Carlene Hamilton
WD: Claire Brownie
GD: Claire Cooper
GK: Hayley Mulheron
Lesley MacDonald 30/34=88%
Rachel Holmes 2/4 = 50%
Jennifer Dingwall 36/48 = 75%
Gail Higgins 0/3= 0%
– but the sailors praise the new boats
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo