This week’s round of England Netball Premier League Division 2 matches saw Falcons Black host Turnford Netball Club in what turned out to be a tough, physical encounter (04/11/12).
Falcons Black got off to a bright start; the centre court linked up well with the shooters to give them a slight lead in the opening minutes. However, Turnford’s players soon found their stride and produced some great play to pull the score back level. An injury to Falcons Black’s Sofija Djukic then led to the introduction of Hannah Joseph mid-way through the quarter. Joseph settled in well and with the help of some great defensive turnovers, the first quarter ended 11-10 in Falcons Black’s favour.
No further changes were made at the break and both teams came out fighting, determined to establish a definite lead during the second quarter. This period proved to be particularly physical, which meant that both teams struggled to make the ball flow through the court. Even so, both sides produced some fantastic play at times. Falcons Black were particularly impressive in their work around the attacking circle, feeding into their shooters nicely, whilst Turnford’s effective circle defending meant that the home team found it difficult to always capitalise on their chances. Not surprisingly, the quarter ended all square at ten goals each, meaning Falcons Black went into half-time 21-20 ahead.
During the half-time break, Falcons Black’s coach, Donna Swann’s message was simple. The team had to focus on making those all-important interceptions and then successfully converting them. Fresh legs were also needed. Charlotte Roye came on at Goal Shooter (GS), Eleanor Durcan came on at Centre (C), Hannah Joseph moved to Wing Defence (WD), Jade Forbes-Wattley moved to Goal Defence (GD) and Issy Beighton moved back to Goal Keeper (GK).
As the Falcons Black players settled into the third quarter, the defensive pair of Jade Forbes-Wattley and Issy Beighton worked hard to turn over balls. However, the home team found it hard to break down the stubborn Turnford defence and struggled to get accurate feeds into the Falcons Black shooter. Turnford started to gain the upper hand and began to pull ahead, finishing the third quarter with a 31-35 lead.
During the short break, the Falcons Black Team brought Dominique McKee back on at Wing Defence (WD), whilst Hannah Joseph moved to Centre (C) and Eleanor Durcan to Wing Attack (WA). Coach Swann’s words focused the Falcons Black team on dictating their opposing player and ensuring that the attacks through the middle court were to a Falcons Black advantage instead of playing to Turnford’s strengths.
The home team made a fantastic start to the fourth quarter. In the defending circle, Issy Beighton and Jade Forbes-Wattley turned over the ball at will, whilst Dominique McKee and Hannah Joseph made it difficult for accurate feeds to be given to Turnford’s shooters. At the other end of court, shooters Christie Simpson and Charlotte Roye converted every turnover opportunity. As the quarter went on, Falcons Black upped the tempo and produced some excellent link-up play throughout centre court. The impressive team display ensured that Turnford were prevented from scoring for a full seven minutes. Meanwhile, backed up by solid defending, Falcon Black’s attack turned the game around to seal a 46-43 win.
Overall it was a great team effort by Falcons Black to come from five goals behind in the final quarter to win by three and showed the grit and determination that these players approach each game with. Hopefully they can use this win as momentum for the next game, away against Dudley Leisure.
Starting Line-up: Helen Hancock (GS), Christie Simpson (GA), Kate Flaherty (WA), Sofija Djukic (C), Dominique McKee (WD), Issy Beighton (GD), Jade Forbes-Wattley (GK)
Subs: Eleanor Durcan, Charlotte Roye, Hannah Joseph