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The Fylde A netball girls carried their scintillating domestic form into the heavily anticipated Roses clash with York A-league winners James College. A packed netball court, adorned with spectators sporting their ‘I am Lancaster’ t-shirts, witnessed a high octane thriller which saw the Fylde girls emerge as 35-17 winners to do their bit for Lancaster in the 50th anniversary of the prestigious tournament.
The game got off at a raucous pace, with Fylde flying out of the blocks and bagging three goals courtesy of goal-shooter Kat Simkins within the first five minutes. The girls were evidently fired up for this encounter, eager to pit their abilities against York’s finest. The first quarter panned out very much like it had started, with a dominant Fylde team holding possession and expertly spreading out play across the full width of the court, rightly adding to their lead and establishing some daylight between the opposition as play came to its first break at 8-3.
Coming into the second quarter, the York girls had clearly used the short interval to gather some composure as the team took to the court with an air of defiance. This mind-set initially appeared to pay dividends as a quick spate of play saw York notch two goals in quick succession, clawing themselves back within touching distance of their Lancaster opposition. A rally cry from the Fylde captain Katie Mitton however seemed to simultaneously kick the Lancaster girls back into action and stir the crowd into frenzied support.
Fylde regained their composure and employed well-worked routines of stifling the York attacks before swiftly switching play to counter at high pace. This reassertion of power soon gifted Fylde with the fruits for their labour, with further goals registered for Simkins before the oncoming Hannah Darwin added to the tally.
The third quarter saw Fylde continue to boss the game, rotating their players intelligently in order to keep the tie fully in their grasp. Good link-up play with Beth Cross and goal-attack Rhian Laidler saw Fylde further increase their lead, before Hannah Darwin again added to the misery for the team sporting the White Rose. An inspired passage of play from the York girls saw the Fylde defence penetrated coming into the latter stages of the penultimate quarter, with back-to-back goals posing the notion that perhaps York still had some fight left in them. Nevertheless, a defiant Fylde soon made amends and displayed a steely determination and raw ability to kill off games that has occurred so frequently throughout their domestic season.
The final quarter saw waves of Fylde possession coupled with relentless accuracy in attack. The margin continued to ever increasingly run away from a hapless James College, as the York girls appeared resigned to the fact that they would not be contributing to their university’s Roses points tally. As the final whistle blew, a jubilant crowd joined the tired but ecstatic Fylde netballers in celebration. Emerging as 35-17 winners, the score-line perfectly captured the essence of a team at the height of their form, evidencing that the Fylde girls were certainly able to rise to the occasion, play their part for Lancaster and step up to the plate on the main stage.