Hucclecote 54 – Clan 54
Hucclecote welcomed Clan to Cheltenham for what was to be an exciting match.
With three key players missing Hucclecote were keen to show that they had the players to step up and put out a match winning performance. The game started well with both teams playing the ball well though court. Both teams were effective at converting their turnovers which resulted in a 14-14 scoreline at the end of the first 15 minutes.
Going into the second quarter Hucclecote needed to close down the Clan attack, especially ex Cote player Neala Brennan who was acting as playmaker around the circle. Great positioning from Chloe Cubello at GK enabled her to force several balls off the back line and get some critical turnovers. Hucclecote lost their way mid quarter which allowed Clan to gain momentum and score 5 goals in succession. A quick change saw Lauren Hancock go to GD which challenged Clan feeding the circle. However, Clan continued to dominate at ended the first half in front 24 – 30.
As the final quarter approached HNC needed to step up and find the form they have showed all season. With a 9 goal deficit to overcome the challenge would need all players to do their job. Goals were exchanged with Clan increasing their lead to 11 goals. Hucclecote continued to dig deep and started to gain the control they had needed all game. At 43 – 52 HNC took the next 5 goals bringing the score to 48 – 53. More changes saw Shona O’Dwyer come on at WD. She immediately shut down the Clan WA. As the clock continued to run down HNC did not let up another 3 goal run brought the score to 51-54. We now had Clan on the back foot. Clan looked to play a tactical game and moved the ball in the hope the clock would save them. O’Dwyer contested well and stole Clan’s possession right at the top of their circle. HNC took this to goal thanks to Eleanor Roberts and the score was 53-54. A Cote centre pass was delivered with the safe hands of Sarah Adams with less than 40 seconds on the clock. Experienced shooter Rosie Allison was composed under pressure and sunk the shot. With 12 seconds left to take their centre pass Clan looked shell shocked. The final whistle and a draw 54-54.
A relieved Hucclecote kept their unbeaten record thanks to the resilience and grit of the players on court and on the bench who really boosted the players throughout.
Squad: R.Allison (C),B.Gabriel, E.Roberts, S.O’Dwyer, L.Hancock, S.Adams, A.Lebe, C. Jones, L.Jones, C. Cubello