James fall agonisingly short in Varsity match


Images: Philippa Grafton

James’ first team women came close to securing a late comeback against Hull’s netball thirds team, only to succumb to a narrow 23-26 defeat in Hull’s Sports Center. In the end James simply did not have time to overturn a deficit which had been as large as seven goals at points in the match.

James, who have been in fine form in the college league, winning several games in the since the start of term, began the game brightly, zipping passes around the pitch. However, Hull were first to score, counter-attacking ruthlessly to establish a 5-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.

James, who appeared to be struggling with the lack of grip provided by the court, attempted to battle their way back into the match, with Tess Russell and Beth Hall combining well to score two goals apiece. They were equally matched by their Hull counterparts however, as Leigh and Holt ensured that the half time score was 8-4 to Hull.

At this point, the mentality of the James team seemed to change significantly. All of the long looping hopeful passes disappeared from their play, and the shorter, sharper game play that so many of the college teams dread began to emerge.

Whilst the gap remained fairly distinct in the third quarter of the game, 17-12 to Hull, the momentum had clearly shifted towards the York college, who by this point had successfully silenced the large Hull crowd that sat watching the action. Of particular note was goal shooter Tess Russell’s stunning long ranged finish, after a swift series of passes from the James center and wing attack.

The final quarter was by far the most dramatic, however. With some Varsity-inspired Herculean effort, James stemmed the tide of attacks coming in from Hull, scoring four goals in a row to leave them only a single goal away from an equaliser. With Hull under the cosh and dug in, James probed continuously for the elusive equaliser. It would never arrive however, as Hull used long balls to exploit the space that James’ constant attacks created. A late flurry of goals left the score at 26-23 to Hull.

Captain of James Anisha Wilmink saw many positives from the game, “They were a fully trained university team, and I have never seen James play that well”, she told Nouse at the end of the game. When questioned about the state of the playing surface, Wilmink made no excuses stating only that “if we can play like that on this court, we can play well anywhere.”

The next match for James, who can surely take confidence from this narrow defeat is Alcuin, next Sunday, a prospect that Wilmink and her team are clearly relishing.

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