With the majority of the squad available, Loughborough-based Falcons Black aimed to build on their previous performance in an attempt to move away from the relegation playoff places in their latest England Netball Prem 2 game (3 March 2013).
Dudley Leisure were known to be a strong and experienced side but Falcons Black made a promising start against the away team. Both sides matched each other goal-for-goal for most of the first quarter, but four important turnovers from Dudley saw them take a slight advantage going into the first break, with a 14 - 10 lead.
Dudley kept their line up the same for the second period but Falcons Black changed things up, swapping Issy Beighton from Goal Keeper (GK) to Goal Defence (GD) and Lauren Steadman from Goal Defence (GD) to Goal Keeper (GK), to try and apply more defensive pressure on their opponents.
Just like in the first quarter, the second fifteen minutes were extremely tight. This was until just before half time. Dudley Leisure’s defence increased their pressure on the home team and particularly on Falcons Black’s centre pass, which allowed the visitor to take the quarter by 3 goals. The half time score saw Falcons Black trail Dudley Leisure by 19 goals to 25. However, Falcons Black were not too disappointed because they knew that the game could change with the conversion of just three turnovers.
The half time break allowed both teams to make some changes and bring on some fresh legs. Falcons Black’s Anna Mulderrig moved from Wing Attack (WA) to Wing Defence (WD) and Eleanor Durcan was introduced at Wing Attack (WA) to replace the departing Dominique McKee.
Falcons Black’s changes allowed the home team to approach the game in a much calmer fashion and it wasn’t long before the home side began to dictate the play. Falcons Black held the majority of their own centre passes with Katie Flaherty (Centre, C) and Eleanor Durcan (Wing Attack, WA) linking well. Suddenly, balls, which the Loughborough team had struggled to get into the attacking circle during the second quarter, were finding the shooters again and the chances were being comprehensively converted. It was now Dudley Leisure’s turn to throw balls away as Anna Mulderrig (Wing Defence, WD) stuck to her player like glue and Lauren Steadman (Goal Keeper, GK) was on hand to pick off any balls that did get through. All of the Falcons Black players put in a great performance during the third fifteen minutes and won the quarter 14-13 to close the gap to just five goals (Falcons Black 33-38 Dudley Leisure).
With a win in sight, only one change was made to the Falcons Black line up for the final quarter. Issy Beighton was replaced by Jade Forbes-Wattley (who also plays for Loughborough Lighting), whilst Lauren Steadman moved back from Goal Keeper (GK) to Goal Defence (GD).
Falcons Black began the fourth quarter with confidence and brought the score line to within one goal. It seemed as though the Loughborough-based team were closing in on victory but then unexpectedly, three errors in the attacking end allowed Dudley Leisure to break away at pace and this proved costly for Falcons Black as the gap in the score line widened again. Both teams dug deep and maintained their own centre passes for the remainder of the quarter and the game was played out in goal-for-goal fashion. It had an impressive quarter from Falcons Black, which had seen them take it 14-12 but the goal-for-goal ending meant that the home team could not close the gap anymore.