Today saw Flames take on an U19 Matrix squad. With no previous history between the teams, or indeed the clubs, Flames had no idea of the players they were going to face.

The team talk before the game focused on squad objectives and individual responsibility on court. We needed to play intelligently, quickly working out the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition and to adapt our game play as necessary. When Matrix arrived, we agreed on a competitive game comprising of 4 x 10 minute quarters (the same timings we will face all season at the regional competition) and then a friendly 2x12 minute game to follow.

 

Flames came out strong with the first centre pass, but unfortunately a replayed ball quickly gave possession to Matrix. We managed to turn the ball over in defence, but again lost the ball, which allowed Matrix to score the first goal of the game, followed by another goal off their own centre pass. Flames scored off their second centre pass of the game and an interception from Harriet at GK allowed us to level the game at 2-2. The team took a while to settle into a rhythm, but the defensive unit of Harriet, Flic and Liv took 6 interceptions between them which restricted Matrix’s scoreline. However 6 poor passes and 6 contacts allowed matrix to put shots up. Luckily for us, Matrix only scored 4 of their 12 attempts, while Flames netted 8/9. The first quarter score was 8-4 to Flames.

 

Changes in the line up going into the second quarter took a few minutes to get used to which saw Matrix capitalise off our errors. Matrix changed their shooting combination which Flames took a while to register and to adapt to. The defensive unit again turned ball over and as a squad we intercepted the ball 6 times, but more encouragingly we only had 2 poor passes. Matrix’s shooting duo achieved 6/8, so, by taking care of the ball we were able to win the individual quarter by 1 goal taking the score to 15-10, with both teams restricted to only 8 attempts at goal each.

 

The attacking combination remained unchanged going into the 3rd quarter but changes were made defensively. The team coped well with the changes, as this is something we have worked on. However, at the start of each quarter we take our time to settle which is a definite point to work on in training. Interceptions took a nose dive this quarter, with tiredness beginning to creep in. Stats for the quarter reflected this, with only  2 interceptions, 2 footworks and 4 poor passes. Attempts at goal for Flames was the lowest for the whole game this quarter at only 7, however both shooters achieved 100% (well done girls!) In contrast, Matrix had 1 more attempt at goal than us, scoring 6/8. Again the individual quarter score was 7-6 in our favour, with the overall score going into the 4th set at 22-16.

 

Changes were made again for the last competitive quarter. Ella was on fire at C converting a potential poor pass (that was destined to go off the back line) into a superb elevated accurate feed into the shooters – just the start we needed! The quarter was more controlled without obvious unforced errors, however interceptions were again quite modest at just 2. Both teams put up 9 shots each, Flames converting 7 to Matrix’s 5. The final score was 29-21 to Flames.

 

However.........

 

We then played a friendly afterwards, with both teams changing up positions. I must say, Matrix achieved this with more control and precision than Flames displayed, but nonetheless it was an entertaining friendly! Matrix supporters commented after the game that it was so nice to hear our girls enjoying playing so much, even mixing up the positions, but with so much laughter amongst the squad! If a score line was to be counted for this friendly, the result would be 17-12 to Flames......although the mix up of positions certainly made each player appreciate the individual skill set of one another in their true positions!

 

A thoroughly enjoyable match, such friendly opposition. A team, and club, that I hope we will encounter again this season.

 

Well done to the girls. A lovely preparation to the first regional round next Sunday where we have 3 4x10 min fixtures!

 

Individual positive contributions from you all, but as a squad we need to work on those unforced errors.

 

Thanks again to parents for your support, always appreciated.

 

Opposition voted BETH player of the match.

Coaches player of the match – HARRIET.

Well done both of you.

 

Shooting stats:

 

Beth:

23/25 = 92%

Katie:

5/6 = 83%

Alex:

1/2 = 50%  (fantastic court play and feeds into Beth)

 

Overall 29/33 = 88%

 

Matrix:

21/37 = 57%

 

Squad:

Beth Gabriel (C), Katie Cruickshank, Alex Baird, Liv Mitchell, Flo Needham, Lucy Griffin, Ella Flatman, Harriet Sanderson, Flic Elvidge, Emma Bennett