DUNC 1s win to boost survival hopes
DUNC 1s Captain, Meg Ellery, reports on their 34-30 against Leeds to set up relegation decider against Manchester.
DUNC 1s sealed their first win of the season against a strong Leeds team on Wednesday to set up a relegation decider next week.
The 1s were yet to win a Premiership match after having had a particularly tough season to date, and it seemed like the losing streak would never end. Although the squad is made up of remarkably talented individuals including former internationals Nat Connor and Sam Barnwell and current Irish international Mary Carson; the lack of experience as a predominantly ‘fresher’ team meant the girls found it very tough to compete in the Premiership – in which most teams are almost entirely made up of ‘Superleague’ and International players.
DUNC 1s had lost to Leeds 49-16 in their previous encounter and another defeat was widely expected. However, the team have trained exceptionally hard all season, staying positive despite some very sizeable losses. On their return after Christmas, the girls described how the team seemed to finally ‘click’ and how they entered the Leeds game with a great deal of optimism – knowing this could be their big turning point.
DUNC 1s dominated the game from the start. Outstanding defence all through the court meant Leeds struggled to reach their attacking third, and when they did their attempts at goal were denied by impressive GK / GD duo Sam Barnwell and Lisa Luce. The real surprise of the day came from Hatfield Fresher Rebecca Hazell, a defensive player who was placed out of position and out of her comfort zone as ‘Goal Shooter’. Rebecca, formerly of Surrey Storm, immediately rose to the challenge – completely outplaying her opponent and forming an un-stoppable combination with Goal Attack Erin Bamber.
DUNC led by ten goals at half time but Leeds came back with a vengeance, making Durham fight hard for every ball, every interception and every goal. Durham however, remained strong – refusing to let their feisty opponents intimidate them or interrupt their newly discovered flair.
After an unbearably tense 4th quarter, the final score was: Durham 34 – Leeds 30, and the pure elation felt by the whole squad made the win entirely worth the wait. MVP went to Mary Carson who, in combination with player-coach Nat Connor, acted as ‘play-maker’ in attack – running rings around her opponent and delivering perfect feeds into the circle with unfaltering consistency.
All in all, an incredible result for DUNC who shone in the face of adversity, displayed gritty determination, tenacity, strength of character and achieved the biggest ‘turn-around’ in the history of the club. Next week, the girls head to Manchester for a game which will directly dictate their future in the Premiership.
In addition, Wednesday 23rd was a fantastic day for the rest of Durham University Netball Club. Maiden Castle played host to three incredibly tough games, all of which DUNC went into as the ‘under-dog’. The 4th team got off to a great start, dismissing the league leaders Leeds 31 – 23. The 3rd team followed suit, completely outclassing Sheffield (again, league leaders) with an impressive score of 40-28.
GK Sam Barnwell;
GD Lisa Luce;
WD Megan Ellery (Captain);
C Nat Connor;
WA Mary Carson;
GA Erin Bamber;
GS Rebecca Hazel.
Replacements: Milly Wilkinson; Hannah Rogers; Alex Austin; Phoebe Unwin; Sophie Waller
Durham Tab Awards:
Player of the Match: Mary Carson
Moment of the Match: Rebecca Hazell flooring her opponent then just taking the shot anyway..
Dick of the Day: Leeds Goalkeeper…what was she thinking with that tattoo?!
Can you beat relegation? Yes! If we beat Manchester, we save our place in the Premiership.