Hucclecote showed just how much they can do when they clawed themselves back from a deficit, having trailed virtually throughout the game and yet turned it round in the last two minutes to sneak victory 39 goals to 36. The mental toughness and maturity of this squad is now beginning to show taking them to 2nd place in the Premiership.
Playing against rivals Oldham, Hucclecote had two previous wins under their belt from last season but it was never by more than 5 goals and 10 goals so they knew they would have their work cut out.
The first 15 saw Oldham off the blocks first, and with Karen Greig shooting consistently, Hucclecote struggled to stem the flow, but also found it tough in attack and penetrate through to the circle. Hucclecote’s error rate, something which they have been working hard on at training, continued to stay high with 19 errors in a 15 minute period , all contributing to the quarter time score of being 8 – 14 down. Although Gray and Allison worked hard, they proved difficult to find due to the pressure from the Oldham side.
Coach Gilly Salter felt changes were needed, and brought on Vaughan to WA, and moved Cook to C, Gabriel to WD, Perry to GD and brought on Rosie Barrett at GK. This certainly made a huge impact with the defence denying Oldham space and opportunity, and with great leadership from Gabriel saw ‘Cote’ steal 10 clean intercepts ! In addition, Allison was back on track with Vaughan finding her easily and with Cook supporting through the middle gave both shooters 18 attempts at goal compared to only 11 attempts in the first quarter. This enabled ‘Cote ´to pull back to a 19 all goal draw at half time.
The third quarter saw the squad remain as they were, however it was Oldhams turn to take control again. With Hucclecote’s error rate on the increase (11 errors from Centre through to Shooting), and the assertive drives in attacking slowing down, Hucclecote allowed Oldham to press on even though defensively the trio of Gabriel, Perry and Barrett did damage taking a further 7 clear interceptions as well as forcing Oldham on 3 second holds. Maintaining possession proved difficult through mid court at times, and Hucclecote were once again restricted on the number of attempts at goal from 18 down to just 11 during this period. With Oldham pressurising, Hucclecote found themselves down once more by 30 – 26 goals at the end of the third period.
A final change saw Cook move to GA, where she instantly impacted by taking two turn overs and opened up the shooting end. This allowed for the experienced Sarah Adams to move into Centre. This move changed the dynamics on court, and suddenly Hucclecote found much more space . Adams produced an outstanding 15 minute display, placing some great feeds in and alongside this turned over a critical ball that went to goal bringing Cote back to level pegging. In addition, Perry pulled off a determined steal, and this too went to goal giving Hucclecote their first lead of the game with just one minute to go. With a great team effort in the final minutes, Hucclecote’s maturity of play stood out as they slowly built up their attacking moves, making some great decisions along the way. With both umpires staying in touch with the game, Hucclecote could smell victory and it was certainly a fantastic effort in the final 15 that saw them win 39 goals to 36.
Player of the Match: Awarded to the Back Unit of Barrett, Perry & Gabriel for an outstanding unit performance
Squad: R Allison, G Gray, N Bremner, S Adams, B Vaughan, S Cook, J Gabriel (Capt), S Perry R Barrett
Thanks to Barbara Warburton Team Manager and to Hayley Mortimer for assisting on the bench and supporting Hucclecote Premier.