Game 1 v West Exe 29-28
Our first game of the day was against West Exe - a team we drew with in the seeding tournament and a team we beat 50-19 in Plymouth. We knew W.E. would have reflected on their performance against us and tried to adapt their game to counteract our strengths, but what we didn’t expect was that as a team we would not perform to our usual standard on the day. W.E. had the first centre pass and converted with relative ease, Flames got the ball to the shooting circle from our initial centre pass but a missed shot, rebounded, followed by another missed shot ended in possession to W.E. who took the ball to goal, converting it. W.E. scored off their second centre pass, leaving Flames in the unchartered territory of being 3 goals down and yet to score. This resulted in the squad producing a tentative nervous performance which was error ridden for the entire game. The score at the end of the first quarter was 6-6 and changes were made.
Unusually the changes discombobulated the team’s rhythm and again we could not settle, making 10 unforced errors this second quarter alone. The lone intercept that was made was not converted to a goal and we found ourselves down 12-16 at half time, even with shooting stats at 75%.
Substantial changes were made at half time but the disconcerting feeling of nervous trepidation did not subside and the error rate continued with 7 poor passes and 5 additional contacts called against us and we just couldn’t maintain a flow to our game to dissipate the nerves and regain rhythm and consistency. We won the 3rd quarter by 1 goal, but we were still down 18 -21 going into the last quarter.
Error rate finally reduced, although sloppy decisions resulted in cheap obstructions and unnecessary contacts. Shooting accuracy was our saviour with the shooting duo scoring 16/18 attempts, while W.E. only converted 7/13 attempts. The game was to the wire and was literally won in the last 2 seconds of the game with a pressurised match winning shot under the post. Flames were victorious 29-28 in by far their most contested game so far this season, against a determined, talented W.E. squad.
Beth 17/19 = 89%
Katie 10/13 = 77%
Alex 2/3 = 67%
West Exe: 28/39 = 72%
Player: Ella Flatman
Game 2 V Peeks 26-21
Flames were a little jaded from their contested first game of the day and only had one game off before facing known rivals Peeks in what was their first game of the day.........tired legs and exhausted minds Versus fresh legs and game heads........it was going to be interesting!
Flames started strong, scoring off their first centre pass and encouragingly unforced errors were reduced to just 2. Luckily for us, shooting stats of 90% V 67% kept our nose narrowly in the lead by 3 goals 9-6 at the end of the first phase of play. However, fatigue began to play a part, increasing our error rate but more importantly our timing was a little off with minimal speed through court and we struggled to get the ball to our shooters, scoring 4 from just 5 attempts, compared to Peeks who put up 11 attempts, converting 7. This took the score at half time to within a goal lead 14-13.
Half time changes never really settled with unforced errors increasing to 7, with an additional 5 contacts and a scattering of cheap obstructions adding to the mix of fatigue, nerves and playing under pressure. Peeks won the quarter by 1 goal, tying the score going into the last quarter 17-17.
Changes again were made going into the final quarter and thankfully errors were reduced to just 3 as intercepts were hard to come by today. Luckily our shooters netted 9/10 attempts, while defensively we reduced Peeks to just 6 attempts, of which they converted 4. The final score was 26-21 to Flames.
Beth: 17/19 – 89%
Katie: 3/4 = 76%
Alex: 1/1= 100%
Katya: 5/6 – 83%
26/30 = 87%
21/35 = 60%
It was not the day of Flames’ finest netball, however 2 wins from 2 is still a great achievement and one that must not be overshadowed by the negativity of errors. A win is still a win, whether close and to the wire, performed beautifully or error ridden. The girls showed tremendous strength of character and determination. They never gave up and fought for the wins despite the adversities they faced on the day. I am sure today has been a learning curve for all and lessons we can take forward into 2017 for the next round of the competition, where Flames will rise from the ashes and perform like a true Phoenix.
Player of the day : Ella Flatman.
Beth Gabriel (captain), Katie Cruickshank, Alex Baird, Katya Jennings, Ella Flatman, Lucy Griffin, Flo Needham, Liv Mitchell, Felicity Elvidge, Harriet Sanderson, Emma Bennett