After a few slight hiccups at the start of the game Hucclecote still lead the top of the Premier National League Table.
Team Manager Barbara Warburton nearly had to down her scoring role during the Hucclecote v Downs game today to step up to the challenge of umpiring a Premier League Division One game with the young umpiring star Gary Burgess when the original umpire Lucy Mitchell had been seriously delayed. However Mitchell arrived 25 minutes after the original starting time and just in time, as Warbuton had borrowed a skirt and she and Burgess were ready to take the court. And so the game began, 30 minutes late with both the correct umpires in situ, allowing Barbara to take her more normal role of scoring and Mrs Lee relinquished from the scoring role she had suddenly been put into!
With an early start leaving Bentham at 7.45 a.m. the Hucclecote players were certainly ready and willing after the delayed start and showed their dominance early on. Under the captaincy of Olivia Beveridge with Jackie Gabriel on holiday, the first quarter saw some steady play with Hucclecotes Rosie Allison in dominant form at Goal Shooter. Allison deservedly gained Player of the Match with an overall 82% shooting average and a very strong performance throughout.
The first quarter saw Hucclecote edge ahead, with Gemma Gray also in a new position on the WA stepping in to replace Becky Hemmings who was on a school trip. Gray turned 2 clean intercepts during this quarter and whilst play was not as fluid as it could have been , Hucclecote's 14-8 lead was well deserved. Burgess umpired with confidence as did Mitchell and both added value to keep the game moving.
The second quarter saw Hucclecote build on their lead and with the new defensive combination of Rosie Barrett GK and Sam Cook at GD working hard, helped restrict the Downs shooting opportunites to just 5 during this period. Well supported by Kerry Walsh at WD, and with Sarah Lee making the links safe through court as well as taking some key intercepts, Hucclecote had built their lead to 27-13 at half time.
The third quarter saw Regional 1 player Michaela Iffil take the court for the first time at this level at WA allowing Gemma Gray to move to GA and giving a well deserved rest to Beveridge. Iffils quick movement and speed and agility proved a real tonic in a very hot and hummid hall, and although she played some great netball , the new look unit were unable to pentrate as hard into the shooting circle thereby restricting the number of attempts at goal. The Downs defence certainly worked hard, and with great cover over the ball, pressured Hucclecote into making several unforced errors through court with the Downs taking this quarter 10 goals to Hucclecotes 7 .
The final quarter saw Captain Beveridge back on at GA, along with 16 year old Kathryn Thornton on at WA to add height in the attacking end for the first time at this level. In addition, a switch between Sarah Lee and Kerry Walsh to WD and C respectively added the dynasism that was needed. Instantly Sarah Lee turned over 3 clear intercepts , and with Barrett & Cook re-motivated, Hucclecote showed the dominance as per their earlier quarter. Kerry Walsh showed some inspirational play through mid-court and also turned ball , linking well with Thornton, but it was Rosie Allison who was the star on the day, taking the ball strongly to convert 14 out of 17 in this quarter alone. Allison's positional play was instrumental in the final 15, cutting front, holding and offering a range of styles which The Downs GK Hannah Reid could not contest.
The final result of 49-33 was a credit to a Hucclecote Squad whose self belief is now beginning to show. With the young Regional 1 players Iffil and Thornton being given opportunity can only add to the strength and depth that is needed whilst Hucclecote re-build after losing key players this season.
This leaves them as clear leaders at the top of Premier National Division One.
Squad: R Allison , O Beveridge (Capt), G Gray, M Iffil, K Thornton, S Lee, K Walsh, S Cook, R. Barrett
R Allsion 39/48
O Beveridge 8/15
G Gray 2/5
Player of the Match : Rosie Allison