NETBALL: MICHAEL ALHADEFF reports as the Queens' and Downing juggernauts rumble on.
Downing and Queens’ continue to move in the right direction as the eventually thawing of conditions allowed a resumption of action on college courts. Such moves are happening precisely at the right time as the league moves toward the end of term.
Queens’ 23-15 Muz
Queens’ got their title challenge back on track with an impressive victory against high-flyers Muz. A high pressured game by Queens’ allowed them to take home the points. They were helped by the attacking pairing of Hannah Cahill and Becky Lawrence who were able to convert a lot of Queens’ efforts coming down the courts into goals. An almost telepathic link between Lottie Mungavin and Becky Lawrence inspired some creative balls into the circle. Meanwhile, the defensive pairing of Rose Harvey and Katie Hamilton helped repel the endeavours of Muz – the former considerably battle scared for her troubles. Queens’ are thus buoyant going into the latter stages of the term, especially as this victory avenged the sound beating last term.
Jesus 25-10 Newnham
Jesus showed no ill-effect from their extended lay-off in producing accomplished display to Newnham. Last term’s champions still have the intent to hold onto their crown and victories against the likes of Newnham will go a long way to ensuring this happen. Meanwhile, the result will have given some thinking for Newnham to do as this setback will not want to detract from the good start they have made this term.
Downing 26-15 Catz
Downing are also showing some fine form with a confident win over Catz. They got off to a flyer outscoring their opponent 7-2 in the first quarter – a lead they were never likely to yield from then on. They were helped in part by the ease in which they moved the ball down court from GD Celia Harrison to C Philippa Geering and WA Katie Tillson who fed the ball into the shooting circle. Catz were able to put up some resistance during the second quarter, narrowing Downing’s advantage momentarily, but by the end of the third quarter Downing had widened the gap again with a series of turnovers. The match revealed the strengths in the Downing side this term with Fran Thornton and Call Harris continuing to work well together as a duo within shooting circle nipping between the Catz players, while at the other end of the court GK Emma Jenkins and GD Celia pressured the shooters with their clean marking and pulled in some super rebounds. For Catz, their shooting impressed, notably from Lexi Boreham, but the side was hampered by a lack of players for substitutions.
Emma 13-7 John’s
Emma have continued to produce some impressive displays since their arrival in the first division. They were able to edge out John’s in a close affair. The match itself struggled to settle into a rhythm as great passages of plays were broken up by scrappiness. Emma were helped by a strong display at the back with Sinead O’Dwyer putting in a strong performance at GK, her great lean really impeding the John’s shooters. There were also some great interceptions at WD from Miny Sainsbury. However, an equally strong John’s defence meant Emma were unable to fully extend their lead.
Photos courtesy of Sarah Sheldon