Hucclecote's longest journey of the season took place today as they travelled to the North East to face Oaksway (alias Team Northumbrian Superleague Side) and for the fourth time in succession won the spoils by 50 goals to 41.
A spirited and united squad left Bentham at 7 a.m. returning at 7.30 p.m. - a 12 hour back to back journey!
Arriving after a speedy drive by chauffeur of the day Andrew Brooks, Hucclecote had plenty of time to recover from their long journey and took to the court relaxed and chilled. So chilled that the evidence on the camera of their warm-up will be added to the photo gallery in the next few days !
Missing Vice Captain Becky Hemmings, who had wished the girls well, everyone else was back to near fitness with the exception of Sam Perry who was allowed a maximum of 3/4 court time.
Hucclecote's Captain Jack Gabriel won the toss and this set the scene positively with Hucclecote gaining some good possession. Consistency of shot was a little under par to start, but Allison soon found her rythm and with Neala Brennan and Gemma Gray making some good drives, enabled Hucclecote to take the advantage. In defence, the height of the Oaksway shooter posed some issues and although Rosie Barrett turned 3 balls in this quarter, Oaksways managed to penetrate through Hucclecote's defence leaving the score at 15-11 at quarter time.
A re-arranged line up saw Perry back to GK, Barrett out to GD and Gabriel switch with Iffil at WD. This defensive line up worked well with the added height of the two 6' footers in defence turning huge amount of ball. Both umpires Bernie Young and Andrea Cowherd added well to a great flowing and exciting game using their experience to play advantage when necessary . With Allison netting 10/11 shots, and Brennan using her magic eye to feed, Hucclecote continued to extend their lead. Once again Barrett showed amazing agility out at GD intercepting time and time again, which allowed Hucclecote to extend the lead to 9. However Oaksway never gave up and they came back hard to reduce the score to 7 leaving Hucclecote at a 27-20 goal advantage at the half way point.
Liv Beveridge made a great return her more usual GA position , the young 16 year old Lauren Brooks took the centre bib and Iffil returned back to WD. These changes took time to settle with Hucclecote making some unforced errors and mistakes allowing Oaksways back into the game. With a home crowd cheering the home side on, Hucclecote stayed calm although Oaksways run of goals saw them close the gap to 4 goals 35-31 .
With Gabriel back on to WD, Adams back to C, and Barrett back out to GD, Hucclecote's determination saw Gabriel steal an outstanding first centre pass which 'Cote' took to goal. Barrett's performance was the best yet taking 15 interceptions overall during this closely contested game earning her a well deserved player of the game. With Allison on song netting 100% of her goals in this quarter, and with Beverdige playing some great feeds in , Hucclecote steadied their nerves and took care of the ball which in turn saw them claw further ahead. The final result of 50 goals to 41 (9 goal win) was good enough to keep them at the top of the Premiership and was a great result considering they had travelled in excess of 5 hours before taking the court.
The squad's team dynamics and support for one another is one of the best that Coach Gilly Salter has worked with. Even when players have a difficult time or things go wrong, the squad continue to give each other great support and encouragement, and it it this that has created the winning formula this season. Well done to all involved on fantastic win.
Squad: R. Allison, G. Gray, O. Beveridge, N. Brennan, S. Adams, L. Brooks, M. Iffil, J. Gabriel (Capt), R. Barrett, S, Perry
Team Bench: Gilly Salter, Barb Warburton and Andrew Brooks
Player of the Match: Rosie Barrett