After a delayed journey due to motorway diversions, Hucclecote's arrival at Leeds just after mid-day saw the match pushed back to 12.45 allowing the Premier top team time to warm up and prepare for what they knew would be a tough challenge.
Leeds who were at full strength including their Superleague Shooting circle set off at a quick pace, and although Hucclecote turned several balls, with Cook imparticular impressing at GD, Hucclecote's error rate could well have been attributed to the awful journey earlier on. Gemma Gray at GA converted 100% in this quarter and with Alison netting 10/11 it still was not enough in the starting period leaving Leeds ahead 18 - 14 at the blow of the whistle.
Beveridge was moved to WA replacing a tightly marked Brennan, and the back 3 changed around with Cook moving to WD, Gabriel to GD and Rosie Barrett to GK. This quarter saw Leeds determined and firing on all cylinders . Hucclecote found it difficult to stop the Leeds Goal Shooter who scored relentlessly converting 15 from 17 leaving Hucclecote a little stunned at being 24-35 down at half time. Although the attack had opportunity and Gray produced her best shooting display this season, penetration into the end third proved difficult with Hucclecote restricted to just 13 attempts.
With Captain Jack Gabriel reminding the team to stay composed, and with Coach Gilly Salter making changes to counter act the Leeds slick attack and to create further shooting opportunites for Hucclecote, their second half performance was on song and exciting to watch. Gabriel at WD, Sammi Perry now at GD and Barrett at the back turned over 8 steals within succession and in attack, Beveridge's feeding ability came alive, finding Allison with ease. Leed's shooter was restricted to just 8 shots and with Perry's timing on the shot, forced the GA to score just 1/5 attempts. Beveridge's work rate and performance out of position at WA was the best this season and combined with the versatile Cook and Sarah Vaughan at Centre began to gel well. At 40-43 goals down at the end of third quarter, Huccleote's zest and determination to win became apparent.
With such a positive 15 minute performance earlier the team remained the same, and with possession of the first centre pass saw them take it to goal. Leeds looked somewhat un-nerved, and with the umpires keeping a tight flowing game in control, Barrett took a flyer reading the game brilliantly from the back . Suddenly Hucclecote found themselves at 45 goals each, and with another centre pass Allison converted giving them the lead for the first time. Allison's composure was outstanding, and along with Beveridge who just fed outstandingly , Hucclecote went on a run of goals.
The back 3 once again did so much damage, with Gabriel egging on her team turning 4 clear intercepts, Perry taking two clear intercepts and Barrett a further two.
It would be unfair not to congratulate all the squad for their effort and determination today with both defence, mid court players and the shooting circle all having belief in their final aim to win and stay top. A final flurry of goals saw Hucclecote take a fantastic victory by 59 - 49 goals. Player of the match was a difficult decision, with Gabriel, Allison and Beveridge all in contention . However, Beveridge stole the show particularly with playing out of position at WA to earn her Player of the Match.
This leave's 'Cote' clear leaders at the top of the Premiership and 4 points ahead of rivals Academy whom they face in the New Year.
After a battle on court it was then a battle of a journey home and sincere thanks must go to Sue Wainwright for her patience during a 5 hour drive due to the motorway still being closed from the accident when they left at 7.30 this morning. The squad however were entertaining and in high spirits, particular those players who nipped off the minibus for a lady's stop and then had to race 1/2 a mile back to the moving traffic to find their driver ! This certainly helped to lift spirits making a very long day enjoyable ! Thanks to Neala Brennan for the running commentry of go go go Sue !
Merry Christmas everyone, and do enjoy the Christmas break although dont forget, 3 runs x 30 minutes per week..... :)
Squad: R Allison (87%), G Gray (85%), S Cook (77%), N. Brennnan, L. Beveridge, S. Vaughan, J. Gabriel (Capt), S. Perry, R. Barrett
Player of the Match :- Olivia Beveridge
Bench: G. Salter, B. Warburton (Team Manager) , S. Wainwright (Hero)