Hucclecote’s opening fixture of the season saw a closely contested match against Leeds particularly for the first 3 quarters with the lead switching hands during the first half of the game.
With a new look line up in the shooting circle and through mid court, Hucclecote were keen to try out the new combinations .Starting with 6 of last season’s Prem Squad on court , the new face on court making her debut was Laura Smith who did well.
Whilst at times Hucclecote demonstrated good movement and quick release play through court, they also at times looked slightly erratic and failed to capitalise on the possession they took through court. The new look shooting combination of Cook and Gray settled well, with Gray particularly dominating the first quarter netting 8/8 giving Hucclecote an advantage of 12-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Cook stepped it up in the second quarter as her confidence grew with Brennan feeding well, but it was at this point that Leeds GS began to dominate netting 11 or her 12 shots. Whilst Gabriel stayed tight 1:1 on the GA restricting her attempts to just 2, Leeds Goal Shooter began to dominate using her height to her advantage. Hucclecote lost their 1 goal lead and trailed 24-25 at half time.
Leeds were fast paced throughout the third period and hungry to take ball putting pressure on the home side ,particularly through to the final third of the court. Newcomer Nicola James took WA bib for Cote making her debut quarter and stamping her mark on the drive to the D. Defensively this was Cote’s best quarter restricting Leeds opportunities at goal having changed their defensive tactics with Rosie Pretorius and Jack Gabriel taking control. The game was still anyone’s at this stage with just 2 goals separating the teams by 34-36 in Leeds favour.
The final 15 saw a huge effort from both teams, with Hucclecote creating 11 opportunities to take the ball to goal from turnovers and Leeds errors. Kerry Walsh in her first game back had a stormer, working well with Gabriel to bring the ball through the court to the third line. Sadly for Hucclecote, as much as the defence turned ball their error rate crept up and Cote were just unable to finish it off. Leeds powered on to eventually take the victory by 48 goals to 39 as Hucclecote let the deficit slip slightly further away than they should have allowed.
Although disappointing to have a loss in the first game, this new look squad showed great promise and will be back at training on Tuesday to work hard and put right some of the areas that need adjustment.
Thanks to all the supporters and helpers including Jo Lambert for her expert help with sports massage for the players, Les & James Thomas for running the scoring table and parents and others who came to cheer Cote on. Next week will see Cote travel to Surrey to take on the Downs.
Squad: S Cook (72%), G Gray (81%), M. Dowell, L.Hallbrook, N. Brennan, N. James, L. Smith, H. Thompson, M. Iffil, K. Walsh (Player of the Match), J. Gabriel (Capt), R. Pretorius (Vice Capt)
Coach:- Gilly Salter, Assistant Coach. Carl Hallbrook.
Team Manager:- Sue Wainwright.