Whilst the good news was to see Hucclecote Premier securing 5 points from a win today against Team Bath, Hucclecote's overall performance was not up to their usual standard with a game that at times flowed beautifully and at other times saw passages of play interrupted due to errors throughout each area of the court.
Apart from Kerry Walsh who is still out with a long term injury, it was the first time that Hucclecote had a full compliment fielding a very strong squad which included the return of Jackie Gabriel (Capt) after several weeks out with a fractured rib.
The starting line-up saw Hucclecote in dominant form and with the score board at 5-1 in their favour in the first few minutes the game looked all over. Allison's composure and shooting consistency throughout was a bonus, and with Beveridge taking the first intercept of the game, and Hemmings and Mayes working at speed and pace opened up opportunity after opportunity. However, it did not take Team Bath long to find their feet and they too stepped up to the mark with Kirsty Delves netting 10/10 in this quarter. The back trio of Barret, Cook and Lee worked solidly but found the pace difficult to breakdown, and by quarter time , even though at one stage Hucclecote had an 8 goal lead, Bath had closed this to just 3 with the score at 15-12.
Captain Jackie Gabriel took the GD bib and during the 2nd 15 minutes made an immediate impact with her experience and defensive knowledge cutting down the flow into Bath's shooting circle and during this quarter reduced the shooting opportunities to just 6/11 for Delves and 3/7 for Asha Tett. Errors however crept in to Hucclecote's play, and whilst Alison netted 13/14 shots, the gap remained similar with Hucclecote's lead slightly increasing to 28-22 at half time.
Sophie Baxter switched with Mayes at C, and Cook took the WD bib. Defensively this added to the pressure with Cook having an outstanding 2nd half in this position creating either turnovers for her team herself or helping to pressurise the feed enabling both Gabriel and Barrett to turn ball. Ball distribution at times broke down from defensive end through to Hucclecote's attack and with a play a little erratic and with Bath pressuring througout the score of 38-30 reflected this at the 3/4 stage.
With Mayes back on to the WA, and Gemma Gray playing off 1:2 situations, Hucclecote opened up further opportunity, and with Gray on song with her shots netting 5/6 in this quarter the first 5 minutes looked dynamic. The mid part of the quarter saw Hucclecote reverting to too many errors and whilst they had got on a run earlier, Bath came back. However, with Allison netting consistently and scoring 43 of the 50 shots, this earned her Player of the Match just after hitting another goal of turning 18 on Monday.
Hucclecote still have further work to do if they are to maintain and go for the title this season which they are more than capable of achieving with such a versatile and talented squad. Not their best performance but a win is a win and Coach Gilly Salter is pleased to see they are still in contention for the top position.
Squad: R. Allison, O Beveridge, B. Hemmings, S Baxter, A. Mayes, S. Lee, J. Gabriel (Capt), S Cook, R. Barrett.