Hucclecote’s performance was a bit sombre today, and felt much in line with the one minute silence given in memory of the late Heather Crouch who sadly died earlier this week after a long fought battle with a brain tumour.
Although below par , it was enough to take victory against a strong Linden side winning in a low scoring game by 36 goals to 31 leaving them clear leaders at the top of the Premiership.
Although Linden were depleted and only had the bare 7 players, their defence unit of Layla Gusgott, Alex Sinclare and Emma Bliss pressurised Hucclecote from the start, and it was only through the tenacity and determination of the defence and mid court that kept Hucclecote close in score.
Hucclecote’s pressure defensively saw them turn 28 opportunities throughout the game, and this was just as well with Hucclecote struggling to convert in their normal style only netting 36 out of 67 attempts throughout.
Up by 2 at quarter time and with a score of 16 each at half time, Coach Gilly Salter realised she needed to make changes, bringing on Sam Cook to GA for the second half. Cook’s steadiness and composure was a turning point for Hucclecote, and with the defence still winning much ball, and with Linden’s shooters also not on top form, Hucclecote began to build a slim lead, taking them to a 5 goal lead at one stage but dipped to just one at the end of the third quarter period to 27-26 .
Hucclecote’s determination to support one another on and off the bench showed today, particularly as they were not allowed to play their more normal style of play in the shooting circle. Captain Jack Gabriel encouraged her squad well, as they maintained the defensive pressure no matter which combination from Barrett, Perry and Gabriel took the 3 back end bibs.
Mid Court play between Sarah Adams and Neala Brennan was steady and they worked tirelessly to support the shooting circle in order to create the right opportunites giving support when needed.
Cook’s appearance at GA saw her net 70% and minute by minute Hucclecote began to edge ahead. In a game well umpired, Barrett really stepped up today, and with her vision and reading of the ball and strong rebounding at GK, and then out at WD for the last quarter saw her convert 13 turnover/rebounds earning her a much deserved Player of the Match with Sam Cook in close contention for this honour.
With the first half of their fixtures now completed, the return matches are about to begin. Hucclecote will face New Cambell at home next Sunday at 2.30 and with the premiership challenge on, Hucclecote could be the team to watch this season !
Squad: R. Allison, O. Beveridge, G. Gray, S. Cook, N. Brennan, S. Adams, J. Gabriel (Capt), S. Perry and R. Barrett
Bench: B. Vaughan, B. Warburton & Gilly Salter ( Coach)
Player of the Match : Rosie Barrett