After a week off, Falcons Yellow returned to Loughborough University to do battle against a very strong Brigg and District team, who were lying third in the standings before this weekend’s East Midlands Netball Regional League Division 2 games.
The Derby-based team got off to a slow start against Lincolnshire’s Brigg and District, who had set their stall out from the first whistle. However, Falcons Yellow were determined not to let their opposition open up a significant lead and kept their nerve to trail by just two goals at the quarter time break (10-12).
The second quarter was a different story. Falcons Yellow’s defensive trio of Tamsin Mason (Wing Defence, WD), Samantha Brown (Goal Defence, GD) and Beth Jackson (Goal Keeper, GK) all made a number of interceptions and tips as they applied increasing pressure on the excellent Brigg and District attack. At the other end of the court, Falcons Yellow’s attack came into their own with interchanges of passing between Laura Owen, Jo Holt, Nina Warren and Sarah Bottomley, which led to some superb attacking play. Laura Owen was on fire with some instinctive and at times exquisite feeds into the shooters who duly obliged by putting their shooting opportunities away. This was Falcons Yellow’s best quarter of the game and they went in at the half time interval, four goals up after a quarter score of 16-10.
At half time it was: Falcons Yellow 26-22 Brigg and District.
Half time changes were made by Falcons Yellow with Liz Stevenson replacing Jackson at Goal Keeper (GK) and Rebecca Simms coming on in place of Jo Holt at Wing Attack (WA).
With the changes made, Falcons Yellow took a little time to settle but were still brimming with confidence that they were now on the road to victory. However, Brigg and District came out in the second half, determined to spoil the party. The Lincolnshire’s attack was strong but Falcons Yellow’s defence showed their grit and determination and with a little help from Laura Own, continued to close down the opposition. Tips and interceptions were made all over the court as Falcons Yellow focused on ensuring they reached eight games without a loss. The Derby team opened up a five-goal lead but as the quarter went on, lapses in concentration and unforced errors allowed Brigg and District to bite back and reduce the deficit to just three goals. The quarter ended with Falcons Yellow 39-36 to the good.
Falcons Yellow made one more planned substitution before the final quarter with Beth Jackson returning to the court at Goal Keeper (GK) and Liz Stevenson moving out to Goal Defence (GD), allowing Samantha Brown to have a well-deserved break.
Falcons Yellow had plenty of work to do to seal victory in the final quarter. Brigg and District continued to press and their shooters converted nearly every opportunity available to them, even when under pressure from the Falcons Yellow defence. To make matters worse for the Derby team, Falcons Yellow were then forced into a substitution. Jackson came off and was replaced by Brown, who came on at Goal Defence (GD), with Stevenson dropping back to Goal Keeper (GK) to accommodate the switch.
Brown helped to turn defence into attack by providing some excellent support down the court. She produced two outstanding and pinpoint accurate feeds from mid centre court into the circle, which were converted with consummate ease by Bottomley and Warren. But even with this type of play, Falcons Yellow could not increase their lead and were continually pegged back by Brigg and District. In such an evenly matched game it was anyone’s guess who would come out victorious. However, as the final whistle blew, the quarter ended with twelve goals scored apiece, ensuring Falcons Yellow had kept their unbeaten record intact.
The final score was: Falcons Yellow 51 – Brigg 48.
It was a close call for this week’s Player of the Match but in the end it was awarded to Laura Owen, with Tamsin Mason and Beth Jackson very close behind. All in all, it was a good team performance, with all players contributing towards another win for Falcons Yellow.
Sarah Bottomley (Goal Shooter, GS), Nina Warren (Goal Attack, GA), Jo Holt (Wing Attack, WA), Rebecca Simms (Wing Attack, WA), Laura Owen (Centre, C), Tamsin Mason (Wing Defence, WD), Samantha Brown (Goal Defence, GD), Beth Jackson (Goal Keeper, GK) and Liz Stevenson (Goal Keeper/Goal Defence, GK/GD).
Next seek is another week off for Falcons Yellow but they return on 2nd December to do battle with second-place Iceni.