Coach Pauline Brasher (soon to turn 70) was in high spirits after last week’s game and it was clear from the start that the whole team had a hunger and passion for this game as well. The defence (Louise Shaw WD, Emma Warren GD and Karen Fellows GK) turned over every one of Leicestershire’s TFC Too’s centre passes. In attack the ladies worked hard to drive the ball down the court – the speed and agility of Murphy and Campbell being complimented by the conversion rates of Nina Warren (GA) and Sarah Thornhill (GS). In fact, Warren scored the first three goals and was ably assisted by Thornhill who made it 4-0. At the other end of the court, Southgate’s tight defence did not allow TFC Too any chances – the recently-engaged Karen Fellows in particular marked TFC’s shooter so closely that it took over ten and a half minutes for the opposition to register a point on the score board. ‘’She’s playing a blinder!’’ squealed Brasher from the bench. As the whistle went for quarter time Southgate were up 20-4.
Murphy and Captain Warren seized the opportunity to bring on fresh legs as Southgate charged into the second quarter with Brittany Coleman (GS) and Kay Sparkes (WD) unleashed. Nina Warren continued her assertive play, driving onto the ball and standing strong in the circle, whilst the accuracy of Southgate’s shooting meant the points difference between the two teams continued to rise. Kay Sparkes, who has recently joined Southgate, stuck tight to her opponent forcing TFC Too to make mistakes in attack. As both teams left the court at half time the score board showed a 33 goal lead to Southgate (43-10 overall).
With an improvement in the accuracy of the TFC shooters, Southgate agreed at half time they needed to up their game. Murphy, and the Warren sisters took a well-deserved rest on the bench allowing Thornhill, Shaw and Berzanskis to go out strong and refreshed for the third quarter. Julia Berzanskis was fired and wired as she made her debut performance in the Regional League (having sat out the first game due to a gymnastic-related back injury). Julia showed strong defensive skills as she battled for any loose ball and leapt high with outstretched arms in the second stage of defence. Louise Shaw had an exceptional quarter at Centre despite spending most of the time on the floor; her athleticism and determination was clearly on show. The Southgate ladies’ efforts left the third quarter with a meaty score of 66-14 in Southgate’s favour.
With Tamikah Campbell going off to get some ice for a knee injury the team made some more changes for the last quarter. Fellows and Thornhill joined Brasher on the bench for a tense finale as Southgate pushed hard for 90 goals. Coleman displayed excellent levels of skill, managing to hold onto the powerful passes delivered by the former international, Murphy. Sparkes also upped her game, making several impressive interceptions. The ladies on the bench looked on in awe as their team mates racked up an outstanding final score of 87-20.
Great sportsmanship was showed by both teams throughout; it was a clean, fair match with high quality umpires who allowed the game to flow. A splendid sporting attitude was demonstrated by Campbell in the last few minutes which led to a standing ovation as she gave up her ice for an injured TFC Too player. TFC Too fought hard throughout the game and did not give up; Southgate players agreed after the game that despite the difference in scores TFC played a good, strong game, making Southgate work hard throughout.
The following shooting statistics were accurately calculated by Jackie throughout the game, while Sarah Guy was nominated as the team’s official photographer. The shooting trio of Warren (78%), Coleman (78%) and Thornhill (76%) were pleased with their overall score but are aiming for 80% success-rate in the next game.
And despite a late night for Thornhill she was thrilled to celebrate her 31st birthday by being nominated as the Player of the Match by TFC Too. The Southgate ladies are looking forward to more team bonding time at Coach Brasher’s 70th Rip Roaring Barn Dance before their next big game against Grasshoppers.