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1st Team Match
From the very beginning Lancaster had this game down as a win. If Lancaster’s amazing promotional video hadn’t fully convinced you yet, the first minute of the match made it undeniable that the win was in the bag. York took the first centre, and a fantastic turnover by Lancaster defence gained them the first goal… and the second… and the third. By the end of the first quarter Lancaster led 12-3, and it only got worse for York from then on.
In order for York to keep any control of the ball at all in the second quarter, they took their time, finding solace in short passes. Every pass used as much as the three-second time limit as possible, with their players struggling to find space. Even York’s Nouse Sport twitter admitted that once the scoreboard reach 18-5 it made “increasingly grim reading if you’re of a York persuasion.” Although, these short passes weren’t enough, with Lancaster GK Samantha Longson intercepting any missed shots, and the defence picking up any balls that were not absolutely perfect throws. At half time the scoreboard read 23-6 to Lancaster.
The third quarter saw York increase their score to 10, but it wasn’t even close to Lancaster’s 38 goals. Lancaster GA Sally Shacklady perfected shot after shot showing, as Shacklady states, “hard work pays off”. You would have expected Lancaster to ease off a bit once at such a high lead but the most admirable quality of the Lancaster Netball 1st was their continuation to put every last ounce of energy into each minute of the game. Lancaster GS Lauren Whittaker scored goal number 50, and a last second obstruction from York GD meant that Shacklady could place goal number 51 in the net – a perfect end to their perfect game.
With a crowd rivalling those of an England Netball game, the excitement from the Sports Hall was incredible. It’s fair to say that York didn’t really get a look in as Lancaster dominated the game from start to finish, ending 51-16, a performance they should be truly proud of!
Shacklady, LUNC Captain and Player of the Match, commented on the team’s staggering success: ‘An incredible performance from us today, we really went out there and smashed it. Hard work pays off and we got the win in spectacular fashion. I’m so proud of the girls for really putting on a show. Thanks to everyone who came down, you acted as our eighth player on that court and you really pushed us to victory. For me, this is one of biggest matches I’ve ever been apart of and I’ll never forget it. Thanks again, we’re now all off for a pint…’
2nd Team Match
The Netball 2nd team match began in a fashion reminiscent of the 3rd team who played before them. A strong opening for both teams resulted in Lancaster finishing the first quarter slightly ahead of York with the score 10-9 respectively. Both teams executed swift passes and found the space needed to move ball efficiently down the court. The first quarter was extremely close, and had the match continued this way it would have been extremely tense to watch!
The second quarter saw York increase their energy, driving as hard as they could on to the ball. York C Georgia Dixon seemed to have sprouted springs from her trainers during the break between quarters, and the height she achieved was simply too much for Lancaster to intercept. Lancaster were taken by surprise with Yorks sudden burst, however held their ground with the score a respectable 22-17 to York.
Lancaster struggled in the third quarter as the York defence combination of GK Lauren Kiy and GD Becki Leach forced Lancaster’s centre court players to pass the ball around the circle rather than straight to the shooters. Even though they managed to score 8 goals, a series of missed shots damaged Lancaster’s score, and York increased their lead to 32-25.
Despite the goal difference, Lancaster regained their focus from the first quarter and made some excellent interceptions. The change in Lancaster’s game put York on edge, and a fair few fouls through contact gave Lancaster more opportunities to score. The game ended 39-33 to York, showing just how much Lancaster improved in the final quarter. Lancasters strong performance in the first and last quarters showed that had it been any other day then maybe Lancaster could have secured this one as a win. The Player of the Match was WA Dara Hughes.
LUNC Captain Sally Shacklady commented: “A tough game for us and one that I’m really gutted about. We started off incredibly strong in the first quarter, but York really showed true grit and pulled through in the end. A combination of missed shots from us and some silly errors meant it really wasn’t our day. I’m truly gutted for the team.”
3rd Team Match
As the first game to follow the 1st team match, York’s devastating 51-16 loss to Lancaster the night before must have been playing on the 3rd teams’ minds. York took the first centre and a silly mistake gave Lancaster the ball. However, Lancaster failed to make the most of this opportunity as the ball returned to York gaining them the first goal. Both teams fought hard throughout the fifteen minutes, meaning the score remained tight with 6-4 to Lancaster at the end of the first quarter.
York then began to show their determination to not replicate their 1st team’s defeat as they came back to the second quarter with the drive to bring the score level. Injury struck for Lancaster as GD Chloe Ranson hit her head on the floor hard after one of the most impressive leaps in Netball history, and the medics were called in. The injury clearly (and understandably) shook Lancaster, as club Captain Sally Shacklady noted “our momentum slowed from this point”. Despite this setback, Lancaster managed to keep the score level heading into half time.
The third quarter began with each team taking the lead, only for the other to level it again. You could feel the tension in the crowd and the amazing side-line support from the rest of Lancaster and York netball teams really motivated the players. The crucial moment came when York took advantage of two wasted Lancaster centre passes due to breaking from the players, and pushed the score to 20-17 in their favour. Lancaster seemed disheartened by this and York sunk two more goals before the quarter was out.
Up until the last quarter it really had been close, either team were able to win. But unfortunately the pressure got the better of the Lancaster 3rd team as their passes were sent to empty spaces and York accelerated their lead. A series of successful shots from York GA Amy Ross pushed their score higher, winning 31-22 by the final whistle. A valiant effort from Lancaster but York maintained their focus and determination until the final whistle, staying calm when the score was close. We wish Chloe Ranson the very best and hope that she recovers quickly from her injury. The Player of the Match was awarded to GK Sam Vidler.
Captain Shacklady expressed her disappointment at the result: “Well this was anyone’s game right until the final quarter. A great start from us with a 6-4 lead but we quickly let this slip. A hard hitting injury for the team with key player Chloe Ranson going down in the second quarter with a head injury was tough to take and our momentum slowed from this point. York capitalized and we couldn’t pull it out the bag this time. A real shame. On to next year…”