Due to illness and unavailability, Falcons Yellow took to the court in the East Midlands Netball Regional League Division 2 game at Loughborough University’s Netball Centre this week (30/09/12) with a squad of just seven players.
The team was pitched against young and agile Sleaford Barge players from Lincolnshire, who were no pushover and took the game to the Falcons Yellow seven.
The match got off to an intense start, which set the tone for the remainder of the game. Initially Sleaford Barge nosed in front by two goals but this only seemed to fire Falcons Yellow up, who ended the first quarter five goals to the good at 15 -10.
The second quarter saw a tightly contested game with Sleaford Barge pushing Falcons Yellow all the way to close the gap. However, Falcons Yellow kept their cool in the shooting circle to win the quarter 12-10 and take a 27-20 advantage into the second half.
Unlike Falcons Yellow, Sleaford could call on players from their bench to provide fresh legs for the start of the third quarter and this is exactly what they did. The only switching Falcons Yellow could manage was a tactical one where Sarah Bottomley and Nina Warren swapped their shooting positions. It also meant that Falcons Yellow’s defensive line, which was new for this match, remained unchanged. However, by the way the Falcons Yellow ladies played in the third quarter, it would have appeared as though the team had played in their respective positions since the beginning of the season. Although the Sleaford attack was shooting well, Falcons Yellow worked hard and kept the pressure on, meaning their took the third quarter 15-14 and went into the last quarter 42 -34 ahead.
The final quarter saw Sleaford come out fighting again and really tested Falcons Yellow to their limit. Understandably, Falcons Yellow’s legs were tiring to the point where the score was an extremely tight 45-44 in Falcons Yellow’s favour. Sleaford Barge created a couple of good opportunities to draw level and even get their noses in front with only a few minutes left but luckily for Falcons Yellow, both Tamsin Mason and Samantha Brown made some crucial and timely interceptions to keep their side ahead. The attacking combination of Laura Owen (C) and Weller Howard (WA) also kept their cool during the remaining minutes and used the ball well to give Falcon Yellows’ two shooters the chances they needed to convert the all-important goals and give Falcons some breathing space. Under extreme pressure from a very good Sleaford defence, Falcons scored enough goals to hold onto their lead, coming out eventual winners, with a score 53-48.
This was a compelling match that could have gone either way in the end but it was not necessarily easy-viewing for either side’s bench. Even though Falcons Yellow came out on top, probably the biggest winner was the Regional League Division 2 itself as level of play from both teams was outstanding.
Once again the trio in defence receive players of the match.
Team – Sarah Bottomley (GS), Nina Warren (GA), Weller Howard (WA), Laura Owen (C), Rebecca Simms (WD), Samantha Brown (GD), Tamsin Mason (GK).