Hucclecote Win National Fastnet Title
Hucclecote worked hard to take the National Clubs Fastnet Championship Title at the Echo Arena in Liverpool at the weekend . Having come through their Regional round unscathed under the Coaching eye of Carl Hallbrook, it was Gilly Salter’s turn as Coach to keep the record clean at the Finals weekend. The squad with a few changes from the Regional weekend included L. Hallbrook, G. Gray, O. Beveridge, N. Brennan, L. Smith, K. Walsh, J. Gabriel, H. Thompson, S. Perry
Saturday saw Cote play Hertfordshire Hornets in the group round and with Hornets already having played saw them get off to a flying start with their mid court and ex Cote team mate Caroline Bedford making good connections to their shooter. Hucclecote ‘s Captain Jack Gabriel at C and Sam Perry at GD turned the first two intercepts and Hucclecote then found their stride leading 5-4 and then 10-7 at half time. Hucclecote implemented the first Power Play in the 3rd period and instantly notched up the points with their youngest member Lydia Hallbrook scoring two wonderful long range shots outside the circle adding 8 points to the score. With Gray also on target Hucclecote stormed into a 24-11 lead. Hornets used their Power Play in the final period and with Coach Gilly Salter implementing a possession strategy, Hornets could do little as it took them 2 ˝ minutes to score their first goal. Kerry Walsh was back on great form particularly playing well at centre taking 4 clear intercepts in the game, 2 of which were in the Power Play helping Cote to run out winners by 28 goals to 17.
Attempts:- Hallbrook 14/21 67% Gray 5/6 83%
Hallbrook scored 2 x 4 pointers and 2 x 2 pointers
Gray scored 2 x 2 pointers
Their second game saw them play Seatonians a tough North East Side. Using the squad well on rotations Hucclecote continued to dominate and at half time led 10-4 even though their opposition had already used their Power Play in the second period of play. The third period saw Beveridge on song netting 3/3 and with Gray determined, and Thompson stealing 2 intercepts during this period, Hucclecote extended their lead to 15-6 . Playing their Power Play in the final 6 minutes Hucclecote completely destroyed any hope of the Seatonians side to go through to the semi’s as Hallbrook once again scored 2 long range shots earning another 8 points with some quick interlinks with Brennan who found her with ease making some intelligent decisions through court. With Smith and Gabriel working in tandem to hold up the Seatonians attack, Gray continued to demonstrate some quick fast paced runs through to the circle netting 6 points and helping Cote to the semi final play off. Hucclecote left the Arena in great spirits after winning the game 31-10.
Stats:- Hallbrook 8/14 57% Gray 7/8 87.5% Beveridge 5/6 83%
Hallbrook scored 2 x 4 pointers and 1 x 2 pointers
Gray scored 3 x 2 pointers
Sunday morning saw the squad up early taking on YW Bury from Lancashire. The first 6 minutes saw each team equal with possession and shooting opportunities and a score line of 4 each. The second 6 minutes saw Laura Smith at WD taking 2 awesome intercepts through tight man on man pressure . In addition the pressure on the WA enabled the back two to gain more ball as Gabriel and Perry stamped their authority, and with Walsh again on form at Centre led 9-6 at half time. Bury used their Power Play in the 3rd period and this is when Gabriel and Perry’s unit relationship stepped up to an amazing pace stealing 4 intercepts, reducing them to a 50% opportunity to score goals. With Cote’s Power Play actioned for the final 6 minutes, Brennan and Walsh’s precision feeds to Hallbrook ¸Gray and Beveridge proved unstoppable and with all 3 shooters on form each scoring 4 points in this period , Hucclecote won comfortably 23 goals to 13 earning their place through to the finals to play Hertfordshire Hornets for a 2nd time.
Stats:- Hallbrook 8/12 66% Gray 7/11 64% Beveridge 2/4 50%
Hallbrook, Gray and Beveridge all scored 2 x 2 pointers
With the finals announced, Hucclecote found themselves up against Hornets for the second time during the weekend . Their entrance through the tunnel with flames in full glory was a site to see and a dream opportunity in front of a crowd. Although Cote had previously won the first encounter, captain Jack Gabriel shared with the team that they needed to not be complacent and to hit hard from the outset. This they did leading 6-2 prior to the second period when Hornets played their Power Play. . Hucclecote again played for time by being patient and controlled however Hornets landed an important 4 pointer just before half time and took the lead 10 -8 for the first time . Hucclecote continued to work hard throughout every area of court with every single player giving their all and limiting Hornets shooters to scoring just one goal in this period and helping to put Cote back in front 13-12. Hannah Thompson’s transition from defence to attack saw great control through the court particularly on the third line. The final 6 minutes saw Cote’s Power Play in action. Beveridge and Hallbrook netted 2 x 2 pointers and although still slightly ahead Hucclecote ‘s nerves got the better of them as they began to make a few errors. However as the clock ticked down the bench knew the game was won and when the final whistle went, Cote had taken the National Title winning 17 goals to 13. It was a valiant effort and whilst it wasn’t their best performance, it was good enough.
Hucclecote were elated to become the first National Clubs Fastnet Champions and all credit must be given to not only the squad on the day, and personnel at finals, but also to the squad members and personnel who were very much part of the earlier regional round.
Stats:- Hallbrook 7/9 78% Gray 3/3 100% Beveridge 4/4 100%
Hallbrook 1 x 2 pointer, Beveridge 1 x 2 pointer
Thanks to Sue Wainwright for fantastic support throughout both weekends and to Lesley Thomas for supporting as scorer and to Sam Cook for her support and encouragement throughout.
Regional Round:- Carl Hallbrook Coach, Sue Wainwright Team Manager
Finals Round:- Gilly Salter Coach, Sue Wainwright Team Manager, Les Thomas Scorer, Sam Cook Physio