Hucclecote Panthers sponsored by Peter Hickman Hairdressers, played in the final play off matches at Bath University against the other top 3 Clubs where the 1st and 2nd placed clubs could earn a place through to National Finals in May.
Having already played and won 12 league matches this season, Hucclecote went into the South West final play offs as favorites and they certainly showed why !
With each game lasting 40 minutes duration, Hucclecote Panthers took the court with confidence against Team Jets from Jersey and stormed to a 21-6 lead at half time. With Captain Ella Powell Davis leading her team well and with great defensive support from Caitlin Santacroce at GK and Izzy Robinson at WD, and this allowed shooters Emme Hale and Jane Taylor many opportunities to put the ball in the net. Their confident performance also enabled Coach Gilly Salter to utilise all 12 players during this game where they ran out winners 33-17.
Their second fixture against Bath saw a messy start with a few balls going astray particularly in attack, and their normal clinical finishing was slightly off. However a 7-3 lead going into the second quarter soon saw them up the pace and with Lucy Martin and Elisha New linking well some slick play took place and with Taylor netting 8/10 this helped to extend their lead to 16-8. One switch with Beth Adkins on to WA saw her make a real impact. Using good decision making skills, she was also able to intercept 3 balls having one of her best games to date. The final 15 minutes saw Taylor at the top end of her game with 10/10 and with Emme Hale also putting out a good strong performance netting 73%, Bath just couldnt stop them and the scoreline of 35-18 in Hucclecotes favour secured their place through to the Naitonal Finals even prior to their last fixture taking place.
Their match against Lawn saw a different line up take the court with Eve Saunders at GK and Ellie Spark on at WD. Spark had a storming start itaking 3 clean intercepts and tipping ball which her team picked off and this helped them to secure an 18-9 lead at half time. Utilising the whole squad again saw more changes with Hannah McCoubrie on to GK initially prior to switching out to GD for the third quarter where she did well combining with Ella Powell Davis at the back. Having taken the lead out to 16 goals, and with Ellie Parker playing well at WA , Salter took off Captain Powell Davis, Jane Taylor and Eliha New, and even though this was a big change to their team, Hucclecote Panthers pounced again and stormed to a 34-18 victory, leaving them undeated champions of the South West Region and placing them in the top slot the number one club representing Gloucestershire County and South West at National Finals in May.
This was yet another aweome display of netball at the highest of level and thanks must go to the very supportive management team /bench and to the parent volunteers for their support throughout, and particularly to Sarah Taylor, Team Manager who has completed a stirling role this season.