Hucclecote Comets vs Titans Lightning 2nd December
This Saturday saw Comets away against Titans Lighting, sitting above HNC in the table. The starting line up saw Megan at GS, Anna Stephens making her debut at GA in Emily and Alex’s absence, Mitzi as WA, Darcey at C, Georige at WD, Harriet at GD and Elaine (captain) at GK, supported by Tee on the bench.
Comets have been yet to win an away match, but again the team were showing a more cohesive set up in performance and a mental strength that was exciting.
Over the weeks one of the challenges for the squad has been to hold the attack up on the second phase ball following a centre pass. This was set as a particular target with stats being taken to see how many balls we could pressure to remain in the centre third after a centre pass and analyse the link with possession lost from the opposition.
It was not until the oppositions 8th centre pass that Comets were able to force more than the first pass in the centre third. It was in fact, 4 passes that were needed and the result was an interception by Georgie at WD. The following opportunity saw two passes being upheld and the ball being forced off the goal line.
In the attack it was a slightly unsettled start, with players adjusting to the new line up but a confident shooting start for Anna who secured her first shot from range. Megan had a fantastic quarter securing 10/11 opportunities and Harriet and Elaine combining to take 4 rebounds in the opposite end. At the end of the quarter the score was level.
The Goal Shooter had come out for the second phase ball on 6 centre passes for Titans. Therefore Elaine new to be aware of this and Georgie / Harriet ready to drop back to take the steal. This immediately had an impact with Elaine getting a clean intercept on the first, and then two tips on the next two. However with resilience the shooter maintained this tactic and when successful, offered a double play with the centre court to get into a strong shooting position. The shooters had been reminded to use the circle rotation which helped Anna go from 3/5 to 4/5 this quarter. Mitzi was under pressure and finding herself penalised by the umpire for contact on a couple of occasions so had to work even harder to find space without the whistle going. Harriet was becoming frustrated and her lack of interceptions, but her relentless tracking of the GA forced her to be so tired she missed 5/6 attempts at goal.
The third quarter saw Tee come on at GK and have an immediate impact. This quarter Comets found their form and were building their goals in three comfortable, giving them a four goal lead entering the final quarter. It was noticeable from the bench the centre court were having to work so hard and Darcey with honesty confirmed she was tired. Georgie went into the middle, Tee to WD and Elaine to GK. An unsettled start saw 6 unforced errors by Comets in the first 5 minutes. Titans were creeping back into the game. After time was called by Elaine, Tee went back to GK and Darcey back to the middle. However Titans had found confidence and regained their earlier lead. Comets were now trailing by one goal with 4 minutes left on the clock, but were able to equalise on their own centre pass, but now it was back to Titan’s possession. Following the third quarter we had discussed the need for relentless defence from all players. With two minutes to go, Anna and Mitzi flooded the oppositions centre. Mitzi almost reached the ball but the pressure led to a pass to the GD that Anna was able to steal. Safe transition enabled the opportunity to be converted, Comets had recovered the lead with a minute to go. Possession was played and the ball was sent to the D, with a rare missed attempt. Just moments after the final whistle went. Comets secured the win by just one goal. An amazing game.
However, what we are noticing as a squad is that we are limited with options that have maximum impact in all areas of the court, a challenge with the squad not all being able to train together due to Severn Stars commitments but definitely a target to work on at the next available match opportunity.
Titans player of the match – Harriet (GD)
Players player of the match – Mitzi (WA)