Falcons Yellow put out a reasonably strong and experienced side against a young Sleaford Barge team and the Derbyshire-based club started the game in fine form, turning over Sleaford Barge’s first centre pass. Unfortunately for Falcons Yellow, the team failed to convert their chance and this allowed Sleaford Barge to settle and take an early lead. The Lincolnshire team’s shooting was accurate and this soon left Falcons Yellow 3 goals down. Falcons Yellow then rolled their sleeves up and pulled the deficit back to one goal but unfortunately they couldn’t capitalise on any further turnovers during the quarter because of a solid Sleaford Barge defence. Falcons Yellow’s defence were also on the top of their game but this didn’t stop Sleaford Barge increasing their lead, edging their noses in front 6-10 after the first fifteen minutes.
The second quarter was a different affair. Falcons Yellow made some changes in attack with Rebecca Sims coming on at Wing Attack (WA) and Weller Howard replacing Sarah Bottomley at Goal Attack (GA). Even though it was a new combination the shooters settled well and gave Sleaford Barge something to think about. Falcons Yellow’s defence was again solid at the back with Samantha Brown (Goal Defence, GD), Lynsey Cover (Wing Defence, WD) and Liz Stevenson (Goal Keeper, GK) unsettling the Sleaford attack. This time Falcon Yellow’s turnovers resulted in goals for the team, which were no doubt aided by some great attacking play and feeds into the shooters by Rebecca Sims (Wing Attack, WA) and Laura Owen (Centre, C). Howard and Rolling worked well together too and converted their shots with ease. Falcons Yellow won the quarter 12-8 and went into the half time break with the overall scores even at 18-18. However, they still felt that the score line did not reflect all of the hard work they had put in.
The team made another change for the third quarter by replacing Owen with Melanie Brenan at Centre (C). Falcons Yellow tried in vain to improve on their second quarter performance but were thwarted by Sleaford Barge, who were pressing hard. Both sides made unforced errors but in the end, the Lincolnshire team converted enough of their chances to win the quarter 6-7 and go into the final fifteen minutes with their noses in front once again, leading 24-25 overall.
The final quarter saw Bottomley come on at Goal Shooter (GS) to replace Rolling. Once again it was a tight affair with Falcons Yellow pushing Sleaford Barge all the way. Falcons Yellow’s attack worked hard throughout but the team were still unable to convert their chances and this allowed Sleaford Barge to increase their advantage to 4 goals. It could have been more had it not been for Falcons Yellow’s defence which was outstanding, especially Stevenson’s and Cover’s performances.
Falcons Yellow refused to give up and managed to close the gap to within one goal, however, they just could not get over the finishing line and in the end lost out to a disciplined Sleaford Barge team who widened the overall score line to two goals by winning the quarter 7-8.
The final score was Falcons Yellow 31 – Sleaford Barge 33.
Weller Howard had a great game, as did Melanie Brenan who worked very hard and produced some wonderful feeds throughout the second half but in the end the accolades have to go to Stevenson and Cover who jointly received the ‘Player of the Match’.
Falcons Yellow will still retain top spot but now they have dusted off the cobwebs they will have to work hard and remain focused next week and be ready to do battle in what will be another tough match.
Squad – Charlotte Rolling (GS), Sarah Bottomley (GA/GS), Weller Howard (WA/GA), Laura Owen (C), Lynsey Cover (WD), Samantha Brown (GD), Liz Stevenson (GK), Subs -Melanie Brenan (C), Rebecca Sims (WA).