ucclecote Dragons pulled out all the stops even after a disastrous start at Regionals on Sunday to secure a place at National Finals in May.  They were slow off the starting blocks and with 24 errors made in the first half Poole Ferns capitalised on this punishing Hucclecote through every area of the court leading by a staggering 13-1 at half time. The second half proved to be better, and with nerves settled, Hucclecote drew the second half 4 a piece showing what they were capable of, but still lost 17-5 having left it far too late in the game to turn it round.  
 
Having put the lid on the loss, they started positively as they took the court against close rivals Bath and at this stage both teams looked evenly matched, although defensively Connie Trendle and Sanderson at GD did force errors which Cote failed to capitalise on.  However the scores stayed close at 4-4 and then 8-7 at half time. A switch in defence placing Capt Harriet Sanderson back to GK with Megan Knight to GD and Alix Neilson on at WD made a huge impact and with coaching instructions to put two players defensively onto Baths GS who undertook all of the shooting, paid dividends as Hucclecote took 4 clean interceptions at the back.   Meanwhile, Eva Andrews produced some strong drives through court to help bring the ball through to their shooters and combined with Amy Cook fed Katya Jennings and Alex Baird well.  Confidence began to flow and the shooters notched up 100% conversion in this phase of play leading the game 13-11 at 3/4 time.  Bath shooters had little opportunity in the final quarter and it was Hucclecote who rallied home with some wonderful passages of play taking victory 20 goals to 12.
With one win and one loss, it was down to the last game of the day against Poole Emeralds that would decide who would take the runner up slot to go through to National Finals with Ferns safely through. 
 
Hucclecote started well and whilst they picked off ball and created more opportunities to goal, their transition to attack didnt always pay off.  Poole defended hard keeping the score within reach although Cote ended up 3-2 at quarter time.  It was the second quarter where defensively the trio of Neilson, Knight and Capt Harriet Sanderson really stepped it up and stamped their authority rebounding and intercepting balls and this ultimately secured a good gap.  Katya Jennings in the shooting circle shot superbly nailing all 6 shots scored in this quarter.   Beard at GA played a clever role, her excellent feeds along with team mates Cook and Andrews left Emeralds struggling to break this down and because of this Dragons crept into a 9-5 lead at half time. One switch saw Olivia Garrard onto WA to add fresh legs.  The third period ended up with Hucclecote still four gaols up at 14-10.   Knowing both teams had it all to play for, the last 7 minutes had spectators , coaches and players on the edges of their seats waiting patiently for the final whistle to be blown. It couldn`t come soon enough as Hucclecote`s now leading  by 5 stayed that way until the final 2 minutes when their Captain Sanderson had to leave the court with a blood injury.  Phoebe Gerrard stepped in to the fold and held up the Emeralds key player and GA long enough to keep her out of the circle until the final whistle was blown, leaving Hucclecote ecstatic as they had earned the victory 17-12 and a place at National finals.  
Coach Gilly Salter said "this was a huge effort by all today, and I am really proud of their journey since we rebuilt this squad back in the early part of the season.  A place at National Finals has added the icing to the cake as they will be competing with the top 18 club teams in the Country.  I am one very proud coach "
 
Hucclecote would like to thank their amazing group of volunteers who assisted with scoring, timing and stats throughout the day, and to the many parents who had travelled to support the club.  In addition to the players, some of whom just didn`t get court time but were supportive in every way. 
 
To complete their successful day, Hucclecote went on to win both the Team Shoot Out Competition, and individually Alex Baird GA went onto the  individual Shoot Out.  All in all a very successful day.
 
Squad: K. Jennings, A. Baird, J. Carson, O. Garrard,  E. Andrews, A. Cook, A. Neilson, M. Knight, H. Sanderson Capt, P. Gerrard, C. Trendle