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Lancaster 39 – 30 MMU Cheshire
Lancaster netball firsts put in a determined and aggressive performance against arch-rivals MMU Cheshire firsts to win 39-30 last Wednesday.
Lancaster began the game with fast play and dominated possession which saw them through to an early 3-0 lead.
Nonetheless, MMU began to wake up and tidied the penalty errors that were costing them dearly, meaning that they were able to send the ball down the side of the court and into their D where they scored with ease. Lancaster did not lose face to this and responded by upping the pace further.
Gemma Pearson successfully delivered the ball to shooter, Claire Riddlestone, who unfortunately missed the shot as it bounced off the net and rebounded into the hands of the opposition.
As play continued in the rest of the first quarter, the attack on both sides became stronger and more chances were capitalised upon. Pearson, Riddlestone, Emma Cunneen and Alicia Kenshole repeatedly got the ball into the D and, although a few precious chances were missed, Riddlestone’s accuracy saw Lancaster through to 9-7.
The second quarter began with MMU’s centre pass but they were forced out of driving the ball forward and had to pass it back to their Wing Defence due to extremely tight marking from Anya Shahnazari and Rachael Taylor. This offset the away-side’s attack from the start, causing MMU’s phase of play to slow down dramatically.
Lancaster took advantage of this and easily managed to intercept the slow ball where Pearson and Kenshole worked in partnership to deliver it to the shooters. Cunneen attempted the net but was unable to see it through, however, Riddlestone grabbed the rebound and scored from under the net.
Attack was then reversed allowing MMU an opportunity. The ball made its way into the D but, thanks to Millie Masterson and Shahnazari, the attackers were forced into too awkward a position to score from. This resulted in them passing back to their Centre who attempted to roll the ball past the feet of the Lancaster defenders.
Lancaster retrieved the loose ball and sent it back down the court where it ended in the hands of Pearson who haphazardly passed her shot wide to Kenshole. MMU exploited this and fed it to their attackers via a long pass down the court and this time scored, leaving the score standing at 10-8.
It was at this point in the quarter where Lancaster’s shooters went through a quiet period. Although the ball was being delivered to them, they were unable to execute the shots and consequently saw MMU become more of an attacking force in the game. They were able to counteract the aggressive Lancastrian defence and levelled the score at 10-10.
From here onward before half time, the play remained back-and-forth with determination from both sides seeing an equalised field of play. The scoreboard remained relatively even at 16-15 to Lancaster.
Nevertheless, Lancaster were adamant to win and so changed up the team at half time. Masterson and Pearson came off, with Kenshole moving to Wing Attack, Taylor moving to Centre and Rachael McCoubrie and Leanne Charles coming on as Wing Defence and Goal Keeper.
Yet, despite efforts, it was actually MMU that registered the first goal of the second half following on from their centre pass. It wasn’t too long, however, before the changed Lancaster side began to make their mark.
The passing between Taylor and Kenshole was especially noteworthy as it provided Riddlestone and Cunneen with ample scoring opportunities. The shooters made the most of the chances and, despite missing a few, saw the third quarter through to increase goal difference from one to five at 27-22.
It was during this quarter though that the competitive aggression began to show through for both sides with penalties becoming increasing in number and sparks between players igniting. The umpire even had to stop the game at one point to voice her disapproval at some of the comments going on between players. However, this was nothing in comparison to the hysterics that resulted from the final quarter.
Lancaster’s defence from Charles, Shahnazari and McCoubrie was exceptional and it could easily be seen that the home-side’s confidence with their five point lead was coming through. Yet, this play was unfortunately disrupted by a very obstructive MMU defence, which at times appeared to be purposeful.
Luckily, the umpires were aware of this and justly rewarded Lancaster with the penalties they deserved. MMU continued to obstruct.
It ended up in their loss, however, as Lancaster’s Kenshole was penalised against during play by an MMU player, who then limped on a twisted knee and burst out crying in pain. Her fellow teammates proceeded to carry her off the court whilst she was loudly screaming. Play was temporarily stopped as first aid attended the scene.
When play was eventually allowed to resume, Lancaster were able to ignore the loud dramatics that were still occurring on the edge of the court (and which continued to do so for the remainder of the final quarter) to see themselves establish a worthy goal difference with a final score of 39-30.
The Lancaster side are currently lying fourth in the Northern 2A league and have a 50% record of wins and losses. With bottom of the league Chester to play this upcoming Wednesday, it certainly seems as if this Lancaster side can impact some more upon the table.