Hucclecote's encounter with Bournemouth 7's Blades proved to be a tough encounter and was exactly what was expected. With Neala Brennan new to the squad, and with Sam Cook unavailable due to University commitments this gave Hucclecote a chance to look at new combinations and they did enough to secure a 38-28 win, although it didnt always go their way.
Blades were strengthened from the last game with Gemma Fletcher fully fit playing at GK position , and the first quarter started at pace, with both teams scoring goal for goal. Hucclecotes attacking trio of Gemma Gray, Becky Vaughan and Sarah Adams were pressurised form the outset and this showed with 12 errors creeping in during the first 15 minutes. However with an 80% conversion rate, Allison kept composure to help 'Cote' take the first quarter 10 -9 although at one stage Hucclecote did have a 5 goal lead which Blades reduced back to 1 with some great shooting from their GA who netted 5/5.
With Neala Brennan introduced at WA and Olivia Beveridge to GA, the second quarter started with Hucclecote working both players into the game. Hucclecote began to build momentum with Beveridge finding some great precision feeds into Alison. Brennan also settled well taking great care of the ball through court. Defensively, Gabriel GD, Perry WD and Barrett worked hard to contain the Blades attacking trio and shooting circle with the GA this time gaining little possession. Fletcher at GK created some difficulties and with Alison having plenty of ball, put pressure on Alison to create a lower conversion rate. Rushed play crept in on both sides, with unforced errors being on the end of this, and this showed with a low scoring quarter leaving them at 18 each at half time. Intrestingly, Hucclecote did claw ahead again by 5 , but allowed Blades right back in.
Half time changes saw Vaughan to Centre with everyone else remaining as previously. Beveridge took on the challenge not only in the feeding in to her shooting partner but also netted 100% herself during this time to earn her her first player of the match this season. Brennan settled and also began to build understanding with Beveridge and Allison, which helped them to pull away. Defensively, Hucclecote's unit at the back really kept the gas on and were unlucky with some 3 second holds, but turned over some exceptional interceptions. The steadiness of Gabriel and Perry bringing the ball through certainly helped and with Alison back on track netting 87.5% saw Hucclecote for the first time retain and hold the lead with a score of 28-22 at 3/4 time.
The additional height of switching Gabriel to WD and Perry GD certainly paid dividends, and with Sarah Adams back on to C, Hucclecote continued to stay in control. Hucclecote were dynamic in defence during the second half, putting Blades attack and shooting circle under huge pressure, and with Alison netting 100% of her shots , Hucclecote began to pull further away. Play and confidence between Beveridge and Brennan grew particularly during the second half and both players gave strong performances helping Hucclecote to a final victory of 38-28 with Brennan making a great debut.
Hucclecotte's strength and depth this season is showing, and with the options available, Hucclecote are pushing hard and have retained a top 3 position. It was a tough game, but great result showing maturity and support throughout from all involved although they know they still have some work to do.
Squad : R. Allison, O. Beveridge, G. Gray, B . Vaughan, N. Brennan, S. Adams, S Perry, J. Gabriel (Capt) R. Barrett
Team Manager: Barbara Warburton
Coach : Gilly Salter