UEA Netball II took on Oxford Brookes II in the Sportspark on Wednesday in a clash that saw the home side victorious with a strong win of 46-35.
UEA won the first centre pass and the first quarter was action-packed with plenty of goal opportunities as well as penalties being incurred on both sides. The first shot went to UEA, a direct aim from shooter Alex Makin.
There was little doubt that UEA would lose as their lead progressed steadily until the final quarter due to great shots from the shooters, Makin and Deyonte Abbott-Lewis, as well as rebound catches from the defence of Becca Newby and Georgia Janes down the far end.
Brookes failed to exploit their chances, often losing the ball once in the circle. Their shooter towered over the UEA defence, proving difficult to stop her goals but the pair worked tirelessly and saved many a ball gone astray.
Moving to the end of the first quarter UEA’s enhanced formation helped them score consistently. Zoe Ridd as Wing Defence came from behind to take the centre passes and push the ball forward, ensuring that Makin and Abbott-Lewis were consistently in possession the ball and were prepared to shoot before Brookes were really sure what had happened. Becky Borrows proved allusive as centre, always appearing in a clear space at the right time.
The second quarter saw UEA working hard and attacking to perfection with Wing Attack Ella Crook and Borrows constantly pushing the ball forward into the circle and the hands of Makin. Abbott-Lewis constantly found herself available in the right places and pushed out in order to score her fair share of nets.
UEA’s sharp passes certainly held their advantage and this was echoed when the whistle blew for the end of the second quarter as UEA led 22-11.
Rachel Sloper’s competent and powerful passing during the second half of the fixture helped maintain UEA’s strong tempo. UEA also closed the ball down well, thwarting Brookes’ attempts further.
The final quarter proved more costly for UEA as their tempo slowed and they gave away easy chances. Sadly for the attacking side they could only look on as Newby and reserve Goal Defence Nicola Ferguson desperately attempted to push the ball back down the court.
At the end of the match, team captain Newby described the game as being an “excellent win which will help us massively in the league.” Makin was awarded player of the match by the opposition and Crook gained players’ player for all her feeds to the shooters. Newby also proclaimed that she is “looking forward to the rest of the season and hoping to finish in the top three.”
If UEA can keep up the pace and agility shown against Brookes during the first two quarters they really could become a competitive force that finish in the final three as the team hopes and deserves.