JAMES 57 – 26 GOODRICKE
College Varsity qualifiers semi-final
Despite James College coming in as slight favourites for this Varsity qualifiers draw with a series of wins behind them, including a close-fought victory against Goodricke in their last meeting, both teams were lacking key players, and so this was expected to be a very tense meeting. In the opening match of the weekend, James stormed to victory, with fantastic midfield play and consistent shooting ensuring a convincing 57-26 win.
James instantly took possession, and Pullan’s comfortable conversion off a rebounding shot gave the black side the first mark upon the score sheet. Relentlessly tight marking by James saw Pay-Savage and Sheldon stopping a counterattack in its tracks, and smoothly transitioning the ball back to Pullan: 2-0.
The game continued in this fashion for the next 5 goals, and James were soon cruising at 7-0, with Cheang and Sheldon’s instinctive link ups ensuring the momentum was decidedly in their favour. Hall and Pullan’s shooting was far and away the strongest on display, with the two consistently converting attacking efforts into points, whilst Goodricke were struggling to make their shots, neglecting multiple opportunities to pull back a few.
However, Gonsalves managed to stop James in their tracks – seizing a loose ball and ensuring a smooth passage of play into Goodricke’s first goal. James were swift to retaliate, and a brilliant sideline link-up, orchestrated by Redwood, soon saw the score line at 15-2, going into quarter time.
The pace of the game was picking up, with James’ energy bolstered by fantastic play, and Goodricke becoming increasingly dynamic, perhaps aware of the need to start converting possession into goals. However, more infallible shooting from Hall and Pullan led to James extending their lead to 17-4, despite Goodricke beginning to put together a more fluid style of play and finally connecting together some wonderful transitional moves. With the help of the endlessly agile Emily Drake and the new positioning of Carrie Turner as GS leading to them finally beginning to convert the majority of their chances and make a more significant mark on the score sheet.
However, this was not enough to counter the languid shooting of Samantha Hall, which kept James ahead at 27-11 at half time. With Pay-Savage thwarting assaults upon James’ defensive end, and Pullan continuing to look utterly in control as the black side’s shooter, the team seemed to be cruising.
This continued into the second half, with James remaining dominant, despite Goodricke switching to shorter, more rapid passes, lending the game a more end-to-end style, with both teams scoring several times in quick succession, bringing the score up to 36-15. The Hes East side looked at one point to be staging a comeback, with three rapid shots on target, but James were swift to retaliate and quash this, with four goals of their own, bringing the game into its final quarter at 44-20 to the Swans.
With the end in sight, both teams upped the tempo of their play, especially in the midfield, where Sheldon, Redwood and Cheang worked tirelessly to channel possession up to Hall and Pullan, who slotted away five further points. Shipley began to find the mark consistently, preventing James from furthering their lead, although this was – unfortunately – too little, too late, and James stormed onwards, with the final whistle sending them into the final tomorrow afternoon: victors 57 to 26.
James captain, Ellie Redwood, was delighted with the result: “It was a really, really good game – nicely hard fought, and we are very, very happy with the outcome.”
Lucy Shiplee, Goodricke’s Captain, was gracious in defeat: “Obviously it’s disappointing to lose, because we really, really wanted this, and have been psyching ourselves up for this for ages, but – at the end for the day – they were the better team.”
James: Hall, Pullan, Sheldon, Redwood (C), Cheang, Pay-Savage, Wilmink
Goodricke: Ajjarwal, Shiplee (C), Turner, Drake, Edgeworth, Gonsalves, Rickard, Garsden