Netball Blues Succumb to Relentless Loughborough

The snow couldn’t stop the Netball Blues. Would Loughborough be able to? ELIZABETH DALGLEISH reports.

Blues bucs c Cambridge cherry hinton cirlce dalgleish ga gd gk good sport gs Ladies loughborough midlands Netball shoot spence tom tryon Varsity wa wd

With the snow stopping most sports in their tracks this week, all eyes turned to Netball as the Blues sought to keep their head above the relegation zone in BUCS Midlands League 1A.

The team were hoping to build on their mid-season momentum to overturn a disappointing victory against Loughborough 3rds last term.

In the first quarter Loughborough came out strongly, while the Blues found it difficult to get into a good rhythm. A strong opposition zone defence, combined with deadly-accurate shooting, made it tough for Cambridge to assert themselves. By the end of the first quarter the Blues had improved, but they were still 16-6 down.

A series of tactical substitutions helped the Blues to fight back in the second quarter. Great drives from Georgina Dalgleish and solid defending from Laura Spence reduced the deficit and saw Loughborough go into half-time leading 28-20. 

After half-time the Cambridge girls made some early headway. A series of interceptions stopped Loughborough from extending their lead, with Sophia Anderson impressing at WD. This defensive effort was combined with some sharp shooting and precise feeding to leave the opposition tired and frustrated. Had it not been for some questionable umpiring decisions, the scores might have been closer to level. As it turned out, a near 100% success rate for the Loughborough shooters gave the Midlanders at 36-29 lead with just the final quarter to play.

With nothing to lose, Cambridge went all out in the final quarter and the fitness sessions and gym work seemed to be paying off. Sarah Grimmer darted around the court from WA and the feeds into the circle improved dramatically. But Loughborough held on for a 47-39 victory and continued their surge up the league table, having beaten their own university’s 2nds last week.

The difference between the teams was the familiarity with which Loughborough knew each other’s game, but there were positives for the Blues. Spectator Matt Bennison commented on the “top-class bounce passes” the Cambridge team pulled out, and the excellent team spirit was evident within the side.

Next week they take on Loughborough 2nds at home as the drinking ban begins and the final preparations are made for the Varsity Match in Oxford on February 25th.