Hucclecote Premier Squad showed belief in their game and the team moto "Alone we can do so little, together we can do much" when they trounced Team Bath , Premiership Champions from last season in todays game taking the score to a fantastic 52-26.
Pre-game talks and key word focus put them in a positive frame of mind before they stepped out for the challenge. The starting line up of Olivia Beveridge and Gemma Gray at GS & GA saw them improve in movement and shooting opportunites in the first quarter, where they were supported well by Becky Hemming at WA and Sarah Lee at C allowing them 20 shots at goal during this period. Defensively, the unit of Barrett GK, Capt Jackie Gabriel and the young Sam Cook at WD limited opportunities for Bath, where U.21 World Championship Kirsty Delves struggled to receive much ball having only 8 attempts and their young GA only 2 shots. Rosie Barrett took on the challenge at GK and turned over 3 clear intercepts with rebounds and tips being converted into Hucclecote possession. This led Hucclecote to a confident start taking the score to 13-8 at the end of the first period.
With the line up the same, Hucclecote built on from their first 15 minutes with the defence end in awesome form. Gabriel as Captain turned ball after ball, and with pressure from Cook using her height advantage enabled the defence behind her to pick off the lifted balls that she forced Amanda Trounce WA for Bath to make. Sarah Lee in only her second game back after a season at Regional 1 proved why she has been put back to this level, and she too stepped up to the mark turning over 2 clear intercepts , steadying play through to the attack. The half time score of 25-13 reflected a determined Hucclecote side, where once again they had restricted Bath to just 7 attempts in a 15 minute time span.
Half time changes saw Rosie Allison coming on to GS for 'Cote' , Beveridge moving to GA and Kerry Walsh in a new look position at WA and this in effect turned the style of the game again with Rosie Allison netting 8 out of 8 during the first 5 minutes on court. Beveridge showed great control, and Walsh great pace through to the D, and with over 20 attempts in this period 'Cote' took the score to an all time high against this opposition 39-20.
With Gray back on to GA for the final 15 at GA , Hucclecote could smell sweet success and although the final 15 saw error rate creeping up through tiredness, the result was never going to be in doubt with Hucclecote storming into a 52-26 final victory.
The squad motivation levels and personal belief in themselves is one of the biggest differences this season. Great support from the bench and supporters alike being at home for this first fixture also added an extra special feel to the game which was well umpired throughout. Coach Gilly Salter is elated for her squad and believes they are a force to be reckoned with this season. A little more work is need with consistency of the shot and reduction of error rate but is confident this will come with time.
Player of the match was closely contested again between Sarah Lee at C, Sam Cook WD, Jackie Gabriel GD and Rosie Barrett at GK. However in only her 2nd full performance at this level, player of the match for her dogged determination to put pressure on the attacking flow and for turning and creating opportunity goes to 17 year old Sam Cook.
Stats: O. Beveridge 13/20 G. Gray 18/25 R. Allison 21/29 Overall 52/74 70%
Squad: O. Beveridge, G Gray, R. Allison, B. Hemmings, K. Walsh, S. Lee, S. Cook, J. Gabriel and R. Barrett