UEA Netball 2s played their last BUCS match of the season against Northampton 1s last Wednesday at the Sportspark. The team were victorious 51-44, though the score did not truly reflect the efforts and exertions of the team on court.
The first centre pass was a good start for UEA as the ball found the circle and, in the more than capable hands of Deyonte Abbott-Lewis, went straight into the net. To begin with play was very even between the teams as goals went with centre pass and UEA were under pressure to turn around the Northampton centre.
There were some silly passes from UEA as they found their feet in the match, but some fabulous circle work between Abbott-Lewis and wing attack Kaisha Holmes saw the home side edge into the lead. UEA were working hard as a team and their rehearsed movements paid off. The Nottingham attack were extremely fierce and rarely missed goals but the UEA defence of Jane Botcherby, Nicola Ferguson and Becky Borrows worked tirelessly to try and get the ball back into UEA hands.
By the start of the second quarter UEA lead 15-11 and the team were more in sync with one another. UEA applied sufficient pressure to the away side to keep the all-important lead. At times when UEA passed too quickly play became messy but once under control of the ball the team excelled.
UEA didn’t always make full use of their advantage but they capitalised well on any Nottingham mistakes. A fantastic long ball came from Ferguson into the hands of shooter Maddie Ewer who added to the numerous goals she had already scored. Centre Samy Gibson consistently found the ball, pushing forward for space throughout the quarter.
At the start of the third quarter UEA changed round their players, introducing Ella Crook to wing defence, Jess Johnson to wing attack, Emma Wilcox to goal attack and Borrows into centre. The girls brought fresh energy to the team and, despite almost losing their first centre pass, they turned it over to get the goal.
Umpiring decisions were consistently made against Northampton and their centre was soon given an official warning for her contacting conduct. The girls did well to ignore her pushing and they finished the third quarter 42-29.
For the fourth and final quarter UEA reverted back to their original line up. Nottingham stepped up their pace and fatigue showed from the UEA side. Botcherby was solid in her marking whilst Ewer consistently found the rebound but the away side scored more goals than UEA and were edging ever closer to narrowing the gap. Ferguson played tirelessly with Gibson and Holmes always pushing the ball towards the shooters.
Despite Nottingham’s late burst of energy there was little they could do against UEA and the home side were victorious 51-44. The score did not show fully the efforts of the girls and they deserved a much higher goal difference. To end a rollercoaster season on a win was a real achievement for the team.
Meanwhile, the UEA 1s took on Cambridge 1s away in the semi-final of the Midlands Conference Cup. Sadly for the team their unbeaten record was taken from them as they lost a close 28-20.