Pennine took the first centre pass and immediately converted. However, their early lead came courtesy of several Grasshopper mistakes. Once Grasshopper had settled down, the Leicestershire team drew level, and the quarter went goal-for-goal. Grasshopper even sneaked a goal-advantage to end the quarter 7-6 ahead.
Grasshopper’s disjoined first-quarter performance led to Coach Anne Melling bringing on Beth Smith to GS, and Donna Osborn moving to GA. In defence, Tracy Glover made way for Sarah Barber at GK. The changes helped: Grasshopper led 18-11 at half-time.
After the break Kara Kataiwai came on as WA, with Carly Varney moving to C. While Pennine entered a purple patch at the start of the quarter, sterling defending by Grasshopper Player of the Match, Sarah Barber, helped Grasshopper increase their lead to 28-19.
The final changes in the fourth quarter saw Carly Varney move to WD and Hannah Wale return as C. By this stage Grasshopper had built-up a comfortable lead but further solid defending in the circle helped Grasshopper extend their lead to the final whistle. Final score: Grasshopper 39-24 Pennine.
Grasshopper made a great start to their first game of 2018, winning the advantage of the first centre. However, this advantage was soon lost as Bridgford’s Centre intercepted the pass. In fact, the opposition’s Centre intercepted Grasshopper’s centre passes on several occasions, putting Bridgford on the front foot. This, coupled with a number of Grasshopper unforced errors, meant Grasshopper trailed 12-16 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was a closely fought contest but Grasshopper’s defence could not contain Bridgford’s shooters. This helped the opposition stretch their lead to 22-34 at half time. Grasshopper was in unfamiliar territory.
Coach Anne Melling made some changes at half time, switching Sarah Melling from WD to GD, bringing on Carly Varney at WD, reintroducing Hannah Wale as C, and moving Lois Taylor to WA. This change in formation helped Grasshopper. The quarter went goal-for-goal for long periods, and was eventually drawn 14-14, meaning Bridgford led 36-48 overall.
The final quarter saw Sarah Melling come off and Sadie Burch return to the defensive circle. However, the strength, height and accuracy of Bridgford’s GS was too much and Grasshopper could not catch up, despite a spirited effort. Final score, Grasshopper 49-67 Bridgford, Grasshopper’s first defeat this season.