First round of the Cup/Plate group stages were underway today, and teams up against teams they might not meet in the League matches, made for very exciting game play.
Hornettes Gold vs Ashby Tornados
A slow start from Hornettes Gold against Ashby Tornados saw Ashby take an early 4-0 lead but Hornettes chipped away & were ahead by 2 at the end of Q1. It was a pretty even match throughout but Hornettes managed to take Q2 & Q3 by a small margin to lead by 8. A really good effort by Ashby in Q4 saw the margin cut back to 4 but Hornettes kept their heads & turned over a couple of balls to end the match 41 – 33 winners. Players were Beth Willars for Hornettes & Angie Stevens for Ashby.
Ashby Fire vs. Melbourne
AF – An exciting start to the cup fixtures in the NWL league this sunny Sunday morning with an interesting line up between the leagues newest team Melbourne and the experience of Ashby Fire.
With the reigning league champions Ashby coming into this fixture as the strong favourite the opening quarter was always going to be crucial. The on-form Ashby were immediately on the front foot and continued their sparkling run of form following their games at the end of the last season.
Despite Melbourne’s GS finding her range early on, Melbourne were struggling to take the ball through court to goal with Ashby dominating the play in the mid-court. Parsons and Bales were keeping the Melbourne attack in check and creating turnover balls that were swiftly turned into goals by the strong and fast attaching players on the Ashby front line.
Bales was pulling the strings in the GK bib for Ashby, helping to cement her Player of the Match award. A dominant end to the quarter saw the favourites draw clear at 19-5, scoring nine goals out of the last ten in the process.
A stuttering start saw Melbourne made a changes at the start of the second quarter with centre court players swopping around to try and change the flow of the game. The team responded instantly with GA rewarded by scoring from range to complete a turnover.
A fantastic battle continued to rage between the Ashby defence and Melbourne attack with Ashby frequently showing their class to take intercepts and rebounds time after time. With a couple of minutes left in the half Ashby were scoring goals at a rate of 8-1 and finished with a flourish to leed the quarter and head into the break winning 43-9.
The start of the second half saw a tweak to the mid-court with Garey moving to WD and Perry switching positions. The impetus from the end of the first half continued in the third quarter with Ashby now setting the tempo and the balls hurdling down the court.
Ball retention was much better from Ashby and the combination of E Bales and Kelleher were linking fantastically, the former barking encouragement at her teammates as the gap widened by the minute.
Unfortunately, Melbourne failed to react to the pace and strength and Ashby experience shone. Perry movement was sharp, focused and the feeding in from all of Ashbys centre court players was exceptional. Homer moved into the GA position and again further lifted the game in the circle for the ashby attach showing tenacity and persistence with some outstanding range shooting.
The previous two quarters had shown the dominance of Ashby and heading into the next phase of the match it was clear to say this was undoubtedly going to continue. A number of changes were made to the Ashby line-up for the final quarter and those now on court were eager to impress.
Mistakes and turnover balls were becoming more common and the resultant slowing of the pace played into the hands of Ashby who were patiently building and punishing Melbourne’s errors. Manning moved to GK and showed sparks of her defensive brilliance with a wonderful tip which led to the ball being quickly propelled down court by Parsons and Bales confidently scoring from range.
Despite seeing a glimpse of Melbourne potential, it was the class of Ashby that summed up the nature of the match, with Melbourne’s centre court struggling to contain the attacking flair of their opponents.
In truth, from the outset it was an uneven contest but with Melbourne walking away with their heads held high and a lot to take from the fixture it was a pleasure to watch. Ashbys experience and speed helped them complete the first round fixture with a final score of 84-17 and the final 14 goals all going Ashby way.
M – we knew we had a tough game ahead of us against last year’s Division 1 winners, but Melbourne wanted to make an impression and enjoy the match none-the-less. Strong defensive partnerships could not match up to the on-form shooting skills of Fire’s GS & GA. Mid-court players worked hard to move the ball down to their shooters. Unfortunately the long arms of Fire’s defence meant that usually safe passes were intercepted and the ball was sent back down the court. All credit to Fire, they are a strong team and will be the ones to beat to raise this year’s Cup.
Swifts vs Bosworth Roses
SS – First cup game for both teams. Swifts took a 5 goal lead in the first few minutes but roses kept the pressure on. It was a fast game with end to end action. Good display of patience by Rach Bailey in feeding the swifts circle and some great interceptions from Helen Rollo and Sarah Ashley, with Sarah getting GOG. In the end swifts dominated winning 49-23 but bosworth made it hard work with great defending all the way down the court.
BR – So although a convincing win for Swad Swifts it was a competitive game. Both teams defensive play was strong picking up interceptions and forcing play to be played back and around the circle. It was a fast paced game and there was some lovely play to watch coming from the centre circle being worked directly into the GA and GS. A strong GA/GS combination for Swad Swifts inevitably ended in a bigger goal difference but hopefully a game well enjoyed by both teams.
Donington Diamonds vs. Coalville Jets
DD – we were anticipating a hard game against the Jets who are the Division above us. We were pleasantly surprised to see them only start with 6 players but unfortunately for us that did not last for long! They were a well drilled side who pulled away in the first quarter. Unfortunately our centre Lucy suffered a bad twist of her ankle in the first five minutes but the sub Lucy came on and played well in her place. We played well in the first half but the stronger side led 14-9 at half-time. Donington continue with the good defence in the second half but their experience allowed them to pull away further making the score 25 15 at halftime. Donington started the second half well scoring three goals on the trot and managed to win the third quarter 12 10. Fatigue set in for the last quarter with the final score of 48 36 to the Jets but we were pleased with our not give up attitude! Our player of the match was Jo Peel for the third game in a row.
Gracedieu Diamonds vs. Measham Mermaids
Diamonds met Measham Mermaids in the first of the group stages. Both the Diamonds attack and defence meant they won the game.
Whitwick Flame vs. Gracedieu Pearls
WF – Wow! Flame had a great match against pearls today.
Firstly a massive thank you to our Ignite players for some excellent shooting skills and playing up for us!
Although it was a close match Flame managed to keep ahead through all quarters. A massive well done to Georgia Read getting her first ever MVP, and it was much deserved! For brilliant defending in the D.
GP – Q1 saw the Pearls go a goal ahead, but steady play from Whitwick Flames saw them pull a comfortable lead in Q2 and Q3, which meant the last Pearl rally in Q4 was just too late make a difference.