Today saw a clash of the big guns, with Grasshopper playing Nottingham Knights – first vs second in the East Midlands Division 2 Regional League. Grasshopper started with the first centre pass, but lost it, which allowed Notts Knights to score. They took a 2 goal lead before Grasshoppers began to claw it back. By the end of the first quarter, the score was 8-8 and both teams had to fight hard to get the ball up into their attacking circle.
The second quarter was no different, but this time Notts Knights had a slight advantage, with the first centre pass. It was another fiercely contested quarter and the two teams matched each other goal for goal right through to half time, when the score was 16-16! There was nothing to separate them and it was a thrilling match for the spectator.
At half time, Coach Anne Melling made some changes. She brought on Sarah Barber at GK, with Tracy Glover making way for her; Carly Vardy came on at WD, as Sarah Melling was taken off with a suspected muscle strain. Sofi Mills remained at C and young Lois Taylor was replaced by Katie Long at WA. Stacie Racz and Donna Osborn remained as GS and GA respectively. Sadie Burch remained as GD, but not for long; she had to leave the court after going over on her ankle, so Tracy Glover came back on into defence and she and Sarah changed positions as a result of this injury and their defensive dominance went from strength to strength. From being several goals behind Notts Knights at one point in this third quarter, Grasshoppers fought really hard to pull back and be in the lead by just one goal at the end of the third quarter – leading by 26-25.
The fourth quarter began with Lois Taylor coming back on as WA and Katie Long coming off. However, due to GA, Donna Osborn, feeling ill during the fourth quarter – Katie Long was soon back on as GA and combined well with Stacie Racz to keep popping in the shots. Notts Knights began to feel the pressure – from some particularly effective circle defensive work by Barber and Glover; the centre court players linked better with the defence to bring the ball up and finally, it was successfully being converted in the shooting circle and Grasshopper began to edge away. Notts Knights did put up a strong fight towards the end of the quarter, but just could not catch Grasshoppers, who finished final winners: 35-31. It was a thrilling and exciting game to watch, with all spectators full of nervous tension – wondering which way the pendulum would swing, but it finally rested in Grasshopper’s corner – which meant that their 100% unbeaten record this season continues. Player of the Match this week was Sarah Barber once more, with more excellent defensive play.