Hucclecote just keep on getting better and better, and today, even with 2 players unavailable out of their squad of 10 , Vice Captain Becky Vaughan through injury, and Sam Perry who is resting an old injury, who had a storming game in Defence lasts week, proved how well they can play for each other regardless of these adverse situations.
Playing against Oaksway from Hartlepool in a top of the table clash, Hucclecote’s Coach Gilly Salter had every confidence that Hucclecote would take victory.
A re-arranged squad which saw the young Lauren Brooks drafted in due to the two injuries, and in addition to support in the event that Sarah Adams could not take the court due to a virus, saw Hucclecote warm-up in positive fashion.
The starting line up included Allison with Gray at GS/GA , new recruit Neala Brenan WA and Sarah Adams at Centre. Hucclecote’s start was not the best, and in the early minutes of the game Oakways stole the show. However, Hucclecote fought back hard and at the end of the 15 minutes, with Brennan and Adams feeding the circle well, Hucclecote ended the period up by two goals, 14-12.
Adams was rested during the second period, and this allowed Sam Cook to move to C from WD, and young Lauren Brooks on at WD. Again their opening 5 minutes saw Oaksway pull ahead, and at one stage looked as if they were going to drive into a 5 goal lead. Poor distribution of ball from the back through to mid court lacked Hucclecote’s normal precision , but they dug deep again in the final 5 minutes of this quarter, and with Allison on song netting 11/12 shots, Hucclecote trailled by just one goal at half time 27-28.
Hucclecote’s changes in the second period paid huge dividends, with Sam Cook switching back to GD and captain Jacqueline Gabriel taking the WD bib. With Adams back on at Centre, and Liv Beveridge onto the GA, Hucclecote lifted their game and went on a run of scoring several goals. Beveridges feeding into Allison during this period was outstanding, creating and finding wonderful space, and with the back unit now firing on all cylinders, Oaksway really struggled to find their feet against an upbeat Hucclecote side. Brennan and Adams made no errors and worked the ball brilliantly through attack, and with Allison netting 20/22 attempts in this quarter, Hucclecote dominated , taking total control and an extended lead by 50 goals to 41 at the end of three quarters.
Umpiring by both umpires, Ian and Lucas , saw the game controlled at great pace, and with some excellent decisions , enabled both sides to contest and compete throughout. The final quarter Hucclecote line-up stayed the same, and with the largest home crowd cheering them on, Hucclecote continued to extend their 9 goal lead. Defensively, Barrett & Cook combined with Gabriel at WD stole many balls, whooing the crowd, and although tiredness crept in , Hucclecote stuck to their task relentlessly using each other well throughout court to support one another.
Although Allison netted an incredible 57-50 shots, 88% overall, player of the match was awarded jointly to Sarah Adams (who at not 100% well) knitted the defence unit through to attack with great control and to Neala Brenan, who as a new recruit showed amazing handling skills and precision feeds.
This result is the largest victory ‘Cote’ have ever achieved against this Oaksway side, and it goes to show just how much Hucclecote have come on during the past two seasons. With the title a reality, Hucclecote's game can only get better as the season moves on. Well done Everyone and a big thank you to the cheering crowd and to the bench for great support throughout.
Squad: R. Allison, G. Gray, O. Beveridge, N. Brenan, S Adams, L. Brooks, S Cook, J. Gabriel, R Barrett
Team Bench: Gilly Salter, Barb Warburton, Sue Wainwright, Sarah Pretty, Sam Perry & Rebecca Vaughan