Hucclecote Regional 1 Stars2018/19 Season
Hucclecote Stars Vs Exeter – Sunday 17th March
This week saw HNC Stars take on top of the table Exeter who were placed top of the league. We were missing GK Kellie Hull due to England Nets and 3 of our shooters. We were able to bring up Katie, Darcie and Millie to travel to Exeter with us and debut at Regional 1 level.
Having only lost to Exeter in the first round by 3 goals (in the last two minutes), we knew this would be a tough game. Our objectives were to go out with high intensity, and aim to set up early to dictate attackers into our defenders space, and to work together to create a V to force the attacking play back. The challenge was also for connections to form with new players coming into the squad and changes in starting line up.
The first seven saw Harriet at the back, Millie at GD, Helen at WD, Mitzi at C, Helen at WA, Jane GA and Katie at GS. The first quarter saw a timid start as we tried to adjust to new combinations in both ends of the court and as expected, Exeter came out with quick transitions showing the strong formed connections they had built over the season. Within the early moments of the match, umpires were addressing HNC players for perceived repeated offensives and the tone of voice highlighted that we needed to be careful to not receive cautions. There was some hesitancy in attack, due to unclear communication and some flat leads, which allowed Exeter to capitalize at the start to gain an advantage. Defensively, they were able to find back space in the D and their shooter to shooter combination was timed to precision, making it difficult for our defenders to challenge.
The quarter ended 20-11. The second quarter saw much of the same outcomes despite quarter time conversations regarding protecting the front space of the feed into the shooters. With 4 minutes left, Harriet moved to GD and we put Katie at the back to see if the height advantage could help interrupt the high ball, and Darcie came in to GA. Initially this looked like this could work in HNC’s favour, but things became slightly muddled and defensively we were still unable to close options down.Although we scored goal for goal in this time period, the fluency was disrupted. The third quarter the defensive and shooting combinations resumed, Darcie moved into the middle with Emma at WA. By this point the squad were 41-20 down. Expectation were reinforced by captain Helen and the squad went back on determined to break down Exeter’s flow. Having talked about defensive footwork earlier on, this quarter saw a change in defensive momentum. Harriet led from the back, directing Millie and creating hesitancy to the ball carriers, which enabled HNC to turn the ball. HNC instantly scored 4 goals in a row and a new momentum was built. This gave an instant confidence to the squad and connections along with nerves began to settle. Again, the umpire were dissatisfied with repeated offenses and two cautions were issued to HNC, making it difficult for players to have the confidence to contest the ball. An attempt of a “flyer” from Harriet created some self-doubt to the opposition and again, with quick footwork and confidence forming, Hucclecote continued to steal possession with Millie finding herself at the hands of loose balls in the circle. At times, the transition was careless but some were taken to goal. By this point the angles of drive in the shooting circle had strengthened, and the rotation between Jane and Katie opened up the front space of the circle. The vision through court by our midcourt players also allowed some long (although breath holding) passes to go straight into the circle, which again were finished off by the shooters. This quarter Hucclecote won 17-11. There was still a long way to go but it was clear confidence had arrived. The fourth quarter Emma stay at WA, Mitzi back to C and Darcie at WD. Some well-timed leads and excellent excecution of pass saw HNC start by leading the quarter. Defensively again was challenging with heavy umpire whistle but relentless midsetmeant the players kept focus to task. Some difficulty getting the ball out on the centre pass created some hesitancy but was helped by Helen moving back to WA and Emma into the middle after a time call. Although a strong quarter where we crept back within ten, a few moments of ill-discipline by HNC Stars allowed Exeter to regain opportunity but HNC won the quarter 15-13. A really positive second half that all players contributed too, although of course some notable disappointment for the slow start. However with brand new connections on the court today, players should be proud of how they adapted and improved as a squad as the game progressed. This combined with excellent shooting from both Katie and Jane, kept Hucclecote in the game and allowed us to finish with a respectable score line, 65-52
Players player: Katie