James progressed into Sunday’s qualifier final as they defeated Alcuin today in the tent. In truth, it was a comfortable victory thanks to their prolificness in front of the goalpost as demonstrated by the 24-6 final score.
Despite this, the first quarter was a rather tight affair. However, It was James, no-less, who got proceedings underway with the impressive Samantha Hall chalking the first score on the scoreboard. Alcuin were not to be rushed and were patiently asserting their own passing rhythm as they pried for a response. Soon Lois Scarth drew Alcuin level prompting what was the beginning of a rather even opening quarter with little to choose between the sides. Alcuin then suffered an injury to Charlotte Gregson which saw Tanya Batchellier enter the fray as her replacement. Meanwhile, sprightly Ellie Redwood was dictating the play and was displaying great accuracy in the pass. The first quarter ended 5-4 to James with both teams looking in imperious form early on.
Yet there was somewhat of a collapse in the second quarter for Alcuin and one which proved irreparable. James began at a terrific pace and soon raced into a four goal advantage. Abigail Smith and Hall were linking up time and time again as the Alcuin defence failed to cope with the swiftness of their movement. Alcuin’s passing game had lost its effectiveness and all too often the ball was being intercepted by their opponents. It was no surprise, therefore, when the quarter ended with James extending their lead to 11-4.
The third quarter continued in much the same vein, with Alcuin once again failing to record a point on the scoreboard. It was clear the collapse in the previous quarter had effected the team’s mentality as they appeared devoid of confidence. However, credit must not be taken away from James who, if anything, gathered further momentum and displayed fantastic ability in all areas of the court. In particular, Smith was in commanding form in front of the goal post, seemingly always first to the rebound should if deflect off the goal ring. The quarter ended with James firmly in the ascendancy with the score at 20-4.
The final quarter provided some cheer for Alcuin faithful, not least the Owlcuin mascot who had previously cut a forlorn figure until Honor Stott’s goal sparked rapturous applause from the sidelines. Alcuin’s spirit was undeniable as they recorded a further goal to highlight their attacking credentials. James were comfortable by this stage and were able to see the match off, ultimately winning 24-6.
After the game, Jame’s captains Abigail Smith and Dani Cheang spoke to Nouse saying, “The first quarter was very close and we picked up well in the second and third. We probably didn’t play as well in the final quarter.”
Meanwhile, Alcuin captain Honor Stott said, “I think we played well as we had quite a few people playing out of position but I think that was the same for James as well. We fought really hard and we didn’t give up no matter but James are such a good team. I’m really happy with how everyone played.”
Alcuin: Fenn, Harlad, Hardcastle, Spray, Gregson, Stott (C), Scarth. Substitutes: Batchellier, Lowth.
James: Purves, Leach, Cheang, Redwood, Sheldon, Smith (C), Hall. Substitutes: Akerman, Dove.
Player of the Match: Samantha Hall