Hucclecote Stars v’s Almondsbury
“ The Ice Queen Nets The Winning goal”
Hucclecote Stars 56 / Almondsbury 55
Hucclecote’s South West England Regional 1 side,namely Stars, played the return netball match against the Bristol based team Almondsbury today at Cheltenham College and what a game it turned out to be!
With just 8 players on the bench coach Jenna Culley had to rely on the fitness of the players and for them to becompletely on form.
Almondsbury is a side who take no prisoners and play a very physical game, they certainly had a better mind set as we entered the first quarter of the game.
Hucclecote seemed to be half asleep and were unable to match the pace of the game with Almondsbury taking the first 4 goals. Things were just not working across the whole court, passes not going to hand, defence looked rusty and the hunger for the ball wasn’t there.
Slowly, Stars brought the score line back to within two goals by the end of the quarter, but made hard work of it. 16 / 14 now to Almondsbury.
The second quarter saw Helen Werrell replaced by Elisha New, slipping on the Wing Defence bib and the team got straight back out on court, needing to step up or be left behind.
Almondsbury were relentless, attacking every ball and forcing Hucclecote into many errors, these errors where penalised by their very accurate shooters. Once in the shooting D, there was only one place that ball was goingand that was through the ring! The turnovers were making Hucclecote play ragged netball with a lack of control, but they soldiered on. The half time whistle couldn’t come quick enough, just to stop the Almondsbury steamroller moving on court!! 30 minutes played and Hucclecote now 8 goals down with a score line of 32 / 24.
If Coach Culley had had a bucket of cold water, she would have thrown it over all the players. The half timetalk was that heated you could have cooked a Sunday roast on it. She simply convinced the players that they were better than this and had to believe in themselves and get the hunger for the ball.
Most Netball games are played in four quarters but this game was played in two halves, the second half was going to be played at a different level all together!
Helen Werrell came back on court, so the line up was GS Brooke Vivian, GA Jane Taylor, WA Helen Hynes, C Emma McKenzie, WD Helen Werrell, GD Laura Stubbings, and GK Claire Richards, this was exactly the same seven line up who started the match. The whole team seemed to have a taken on board what had been said and immediately the game started to swing in their favour, it was Hucclecotes turn to turn on the style and break down the Almondsbury attack.
The defensive duo of Stubbings and Richards shook of all that rust now and were playing as slick as ever pushing the opponents shooters to the outer edges of the D and forcing them into countless errors over the backline.
The mid court were now just soaking up the Almondsbury’s physicality and giving as good as they got, legally and within the rules! Hucclecote were now using their heads as well as their sporting prowess to take control of the game. Slowly but surely the game was coming back into reach, Brooke and Taylor were putting on a shooting display with hardly a goal missed in this quarter and getting the better of their defenders. By the end of the 3rd quarter Almondsbury had been smashed and the 8 goal deficit had been achieved, the score line was now all level at 43 goals each.
With such a come back and the players believing the win was now possible, no changes were made going into the 4th and final quarter.
Almondsbury were now going to throw everything at Hucclecote and they came out with grit and determination.
Goal for goal, goal for goal, turn over to them, turn over to us, there was nothing between the teams. The tension on every goal, both ends of the court, you could have cut with a knife! The bench were loosing their voices and the supporters could hardly bare to watch!
Helen Hynes made sure the mid court kept every thing tidy, with no mad passes just straight forward simple netball. Emma Mckenzie ensured the centre passes were spot on, just two minutes left and it was still all square,who’s game was it going to be ? 55 / 54 one minute left Hucclecote’s centre, route one was taken into the shooting circle, converted by Taylor to draw things level again 55 / 55.
With only seconds remaining on the clock Hucclecotegot the break with a forced error, the ball was confidently moved through the court with every player involved and it landed in the capable hands of Brooke Vivian. As cool as an “ice queen” she netted the winning goal.Almondsbury were gutted and Hucclecote were ecstatic,a massive team effort that had finally paid off.
Full time score 56 / 55.
Player of the match was jointly shared by Jane Taylor and Brooke Vivian for their shear determination throughout the game and their accurate goal shooting. A great team effort and this accolade could have fallen on any one of the squad members involved in this match.
Congratulations to every one who played.
Player of the match – Jane Taylor / Brooke Vivian
Brooke Vivian, Jane Taylor, Helen Hynes (captain), Emma McKenzie, Helen Werrell, Laura Stubbings, Claire Richards, Elisha New.
Coach – Jenna Culley
Primary Carer – Andrew Taylor