Cambridge v Loughborough 2nds
NETBALL: In their final match before Varsity the Blues battle but fall just short.
Having lost to Loughborough 3rds last week, the odds were stacked against the Blues in their fixture against Loughborough 2nds.
Nevertheless a determined performance and a great team effort put the girls in the perfect position as they now turn their attention to the Varsity match.
It didn’t start well: vice-captain Chloe Maine suffered an ankle injury in training and was unable to take to the court, handing Marina Mensah-Afoakwah only her second start for the Blues.
Cambridge came out strongly in the first quarter, converting a good number of their centre passes. But Loughborough proved strong as well, their shooters showing more of the unrelenting accuracy that their counterparts had impressed with a week earlier. It was closely fought though, and finished 11-9 to the visitors at the break.
Good defence in the circle characterised the second quarter for Cambridge. Accurate shooting combined with excellent movement from Jade Lane at GS to keep the score ticking over, but a series of interceptions gave Loughborough the advantage. The Blues went into half-time 21-16 down.
The third quarter saw more of the same: interceptions were the curse of Cambridge as Loughborough stepped up the intensity. But their momentum was halted by an injury and some fluid attacking moves from the Blues helped them pull the score back to 35-30 at the end of the quarter. The stand out players in the quarter were Sophia Anderson at WD, Laura Spence at GK and Mensah-Afoakwah who impressed at GD.
With the deficit only five points, Cambridge came out firing in the final quarter. Some questionable umpiring upset the Loughborough players and Cambridge capitalised on this disharmony. Anderson made some excellent interceptions, and movement around the court and the circle was top-class.
Despite only a couple of missed shots in the whole quarter, Cambridge were unable to draw level and were left stranded two points behind on 45-43.
The team should be happy with their performance though against a tough Loughborough team. Spectator Matt Bennison saw ‘positives in all areas’ for the Blues this week in their last game before they head to Oxford on 25th February.