Hucclecote Premier Vrs Bath 12th February 2012
Hucclecote travelled to Bath anticipating another good performance against a team that has had a number of good results lately. With players out through injury or unavailability Hucclecote were only able to take a small squad: Lydia Hallbrook (GS), Gemma Gray (GA), Neala Brennan (WA), Jack Gabriel (C), Laura Smith (WD), Sam Perry (GD), Sam Cook (GK), Kerry Walsh and Lauren Brookes.
The squad was not fully fit, with Hallbrook deciding to re-decorate the Bath toilets before the game.
Bath started strongly moving the ball with speed and precision, Cook and Perry played well keeping the score to a lower level than would have been expected with the possession that Bath had. Hucclecote meanwhile were finding it increasingly difficult to penetrate the attacking third, although the shooters were converting when the opportunities arose. Hucclecote went into the second quarter behind slightly behind.
Changes were made to the line-up with Brookes coming on as WD, Gabriel moving to GD, Walsh coming on as C and Smith moving to WA. Another fiercely contested quarter saw Hucclecote make numerous errors allowing Bath to take the advantage and extend their lead. Cook was rested due to Super League restrictions. Brookes played well and kept control of the ball through attack and Hallbrook shot well; however this did not prevent Bath going into the third quarter with a 6 goal lead.
Hucclecote changed their defensive style, bringing Cook back on as WD and Brennan back on as WA. This was Hucclecote’s best quarter which saw them halt the speedy progress of Bath leading to the lead slowly changing hands. Hucclecote disrupted the Bath team who found it difficult to break down the new tactics. Gabriel and Perry controlled the defensive circle and the team played with far more control in attack, finding Gray and Hallbrook far more often. This quarter saw Hucclecote go into the final period leading 31-30.
It was always going to be a tough final quarter, Hucclecote shooters were finding it increasingly difficult to get free of the contact and some missed shots put pressure onto the Hucclecote team. Cook was again forced to rest. The game went to and fro with a number of important decisions going the way of the Bath team in the final few minutes. This saw Bath capitalize and take a slender lead. Although Hucclecote continued to battle they eventually lost the game 39-36.
This was a tough game, Hucclecote now have to fight even harder in their remaining fixtures if they are to avoid relegation or the play-offs.
Coach – Carl Hallbrook
Team Manager – Sue Wainwright