Hucclecote 37 Linden 38
The Premier squad faced another tough side in what was only the second game of the season at home on Sunday. Linden, last years league winners travelled down from Birmingham for what promised to be an exciting fixture with both squads boasting a lot of their Superleague players whilst the season is yet to start.
Last year Hucclecote took Linden all the way, away from home losing by a narrow margin of just 3 goals but disappointingly later in the season the Premier team faced a heavier defeat. With last weeks narrow loss against Academy behind them after a good debriefing at training Hucclecote were in a determined mood and took the court strongly believing they were good enough to take last years winners all the way.
The first quarter saw Hucclecote take the lead soon stretching it to 10-4 in their favour and putting Linden and their stars like Olivia Murphy (ex England captain) on the back foot. Last weeks debutant, Rosie Allison was quick to get some scores on the board after some early misses and slotted the ball away with ease after a tentative start. The attack of Beveridge (GA), Henry (WA) and Captain Hemming at C were put under pressure from the away side often forcing us away from goal leaving only Allison as the long ball option, which at times was the home teams downfall.
Defensively, Francis (GK), Gabriel (GD) and Fletcher (WD) put the Linden attack under pressure often confusing the space for the feeds into the tall shooter and making them work for several phases until they were confident to put the ball in.
The target had been to go out in the first quarter, get up and stay up and that was what happened with Hucclecote coming off at quarter time 10-9 up but allowing Linden to claw back the score line was disappointing.
Essex interchanged with Hemming and was introduced at C for the 2nd quarter and linked well defensively with Gemma Fletcher on the WD. Francis and Gabriel switched circle defence positions and everything else remained the same.
Hucclecote were much more disciplined with possession this week and it showed in the scoreline pushing Linden all the way. This was a key area if the Prem team would go on to win as the Linden shooting circle attack rarely missed and so any error would be punished.
The score evenly matched at half time 21-21 (quarter score 11-12).
The third quarter saw Hemming reintroduced into C. Whilst the Home team continued to force them visitors into errors and turned over some good ball defensively, passing errors started to creep back into the game and too often the turnover wasn’t taken to an opportunity at goal, allowing Linden to remain in the game. As a result of this Linden took a 3 goal lead going into the final quarter.
The final quarter saw the home side come under increasing pressure with the deficit increasing to 5 at one stage, however, encouragingly the Prem team stepped up again and were quick to respond and closed the gap after some determined play by all. Allison rewarded her teams defensive efforts with some fine long range shots whilst the defence repaid the favour by bringing the ball through the court more frequently than ever to help ease the pressure that Linden applied through the mid third.
With the score going goal for goal it was a cruel end to the game when the final whistle went with the score at 37-38 in Lindens favour.
A much improved performance from last week will be a confidence boost for the team going into their next fixture on Tuesday night v local rivals TeamBath Toucans at Wycliffe College at 8pm.