Tension in the Tent

Photos: Petroc Taylor

There was late drama in both of this weekend’s headline college netball games.

Both Derwent and James beat their opponents by a single goal, with Derwent winning 10-9 against Alcuin and James winning 14-13 against Halifax.

The Derwent match was an intense and frenetic affair, though the first attack of the game belonged to Alcuin who had a spate of slick and swift passes up the court.

But Derwent’s defence, which was excellent all afternoon, were more than up for the challenge. Goal keeper Lauren Kiy snatched the rebound and sparked the first Derwent attack of the game.

Derwent were in fine form as goal defence Meg Opie strengthened the Derwent defence with some brilliant interceptions.

It was Derwent who opened the scoring through their goal shooter Amy Goodfellow.

In no time at all Derwent were 2-0 up, but Alcuin managed to pull one back through their goal attack, Catherine O’Mahoney.

But Derwent surged ahead through Goodfellow and wasted no opportunities in front of the net.

Despite the modest half time score line of 5-2, Derwent had been dominant in the first half.

Derwent made some changes at half time, bringing on Lily Horton for Kiy. Alcuin were still wasting opportunities in front of the net while at the other end, Derwent’s goal attack, Rosie McCluskey, was spot on to make the score 6-3.

But the game was far from over as Alcuin mounted an incredible comeback, as the score hovered at 7-6 spectators were in for a tense finish.

The netball turned rapid and fiesty, as both sides launched ferocious attacks to try and settle the game. O’Mahoney finished an impressive sequence of Alcuin passing to draw the scores level at 9 all.

The game was on a knife edge as Derwent were awarded a penalty pass just outside of the shooting circle.

As the ball passed between Derwent players, McCluskey grabbed a hold of it, lined up for the shot and made no mistake.

Seconds later the whistle blew to give Derwent a 10-9 victory. Derwent captain McCluskey was immensely relieved after the game, saying “Great, great first time out. I think we probably got a little bit tired, fitness is probably a problem. But it was exhilarating and I’m so pleased we managed to get that final goal in. The girls have been working hard so I’m really happy with that result.”

The second game proved to be just as thrilling as the first. It was first blood to Halifax through Becky Gabbitas and in no time at all it was 3-1.

Halifax surged ahead in the first half thanks to some exquisite passing between Lo Verokken Jones and Sarah Tyson.

Gabbitas was in brilliant form and was complemented well by their goal attack, Emily Woodings.

Halifax were ahead at half time with the score standing at 8-5, but James weren’t going to fold to defeat and were resurgent in the second half.

They pulled back the deficit immediately after the break through their excellent goal shooter Alison Pullman.

Soon there was only a point separating the sides and it was James that were finishing strongly, centre Ellie Redwood was controlling the game masterfully while their defending was exceptional.

James eventually edged ahead despite a tense and tumultuous final few minutes. The final score of 14-13 to James proved just how close this encounter was.

Captain Ellie Redwood spoke after the game, “Both teams played fab and it’s a really great start to the season for us.”

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