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Courtside Comments – Prem Round 13

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Courtside Comments brings us the latest on all things Prem

Premier League Netball – for many, certainly me, it’s the semi hidden jewel in the crown of England Netball. Super League is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, and that’s what attracts the crowds to the game aside of the international teams of course. But Premier League is THE top competition for Netball Clubs up and down the country. The best thirty at any given season ply their trade across three Leagues over a six month season which culminates in the crowning of Champions (usually Oldham), instant promotion and relegation and of course the tense, nervous excitement of play-off weekend whereby teams go head to head with those hoping to replace them in a higher league.  It’s the place where International and Super League players line up alongside and against the cream of club players to create a wonderful competition with superb Netball played throughout all three Leagues.

For those of you not overly familiar with the Premier League competition first of all may I say you are missing a treat. Get along and support your local club. If you aren’t playing on a Sunday there is no better Netballing way of spending a Sunday morning. For those of you well versed in the Premier League I hope this regular round up column will become your one stop shop for all the ups and downs, round by round, of the season. Let’s begin……

Round 13 – League 1

Round 12 (27th January) produced its share of shocks, none more so than 7th placed Turnford pulling off the result of the season so far with a resounding 79-48 win over the undefeated Champions Oldham. That would have given hope to New Cambell and Viper 10 Blades who occupied 2nd and 3rd places. Blades would therefore have been kicking themselves upon seeing the Oldham result after a surprising loss away to 8th placed Leeds Athletic. The Yorkshire side will give anyone a hard game but a flying Blades would have fancied their chances. It was not to be. New Cambell did make the most of it with an excellent 53-39 away win at Tameside to go toe to toe with Oldham at the top.

Going into Round 13 the standout match was 2nd place New Cambell who entertained Viper 10 Blades. It resulted in a fantastic away win for the south coast club, 52-40. Not what New Cambell would have wanted in their effort to run Oldham close. The Champions at the same time played host to Leeds Athletic and put them to the sword with a mighty 82-36 victory. Back to winning ways as the Oldham twitter proclaimed. Yeah, you could say that.

4th place Grangetown, who have had a superb first season back in League 1 continued their fine form with a 55-40 win against Tameside whilst Academy saw off Turnford to remain above them in 5th with a 68-46 victory. Worcester reds, currently sat in 9th travelled to the South West to face bottom club Premier Romans. In what sounded like a fantastic match the sides shared the spoils with a draw, 54-54, a result which does neither side much good in their efforts to avoid relegation or the play offs.

League 1’s big match next week sees top v second as Oldham play hosts to New Cambell

League 2

Hucclecote went into Round 13 with a 100% record, played 12, and won 12. They visited 2nd place Cumberland for what promised to be a titanic battle as the hosts looked to cut their visitors lead. Hucclecote took a 17-11 lead into the second quarter and they doubled their advantage to 12 points at half time. Work to do for Cumberland but Hucclecote were in no mood to surrender their advantage as they opened up a 49-34 lead going into the final quarter. The visitors kept the pressure on, Cumberland were unable to make inroads as Hucclecote emerged with their 100% record intact and a win 61-45. A thirteen point lead at this stage of the season means it will take a major collapse for Hucclecote to not gain promotion back to League 1. Linden in 3rd kept the pressure up on Cumberland with a solid 58-35 win over 7th place Essex Open. 4th place Team Bath Toucans travelled to 9th place Clan and in another great sounding match emerged with a one point victory 45-44. Tough on Clan who would have seen their League status improve with a draw or win by closing the gap on those above them. Ryland in 5th hosted Telstars in 6th. The two sides have very little between them, both recording six wins for the season. They finished the match on those six wins each as they played out another draw in this week’s competition, 41-41, the second draw Ryland have had this season, the previous one being against Clan on 13 January.  The Downs visit to bottom club Oaksway fell victim of the weather so what could be a pivotal game will be re-arranged.

League 3

The only other team besides Hucclecote with a 100% record going into Round 13 was Sussex Thunder and they travelled to 8th place Billericay. Thunder have been pretty dominant this season as their record tells you and they emerged with that 100% intact following a convincing 65-33 win. Second placed YWCA Bury have also been enjoying themselves in this, their first season in Premier League 3 having come up through the play-off route from Regional’s. It helps when your region is the always strong North West but Bury have acquitted themselves superbly well. They faced a trip across the water to the Channel Islands to play Jersey’s Team Jets who are unfortunately struggling in 9th place. The match went with the form book as YWCA Bury emerged 63-34 winners to keep Sussex Thunder in sight but also to strengthen their place in 2nd. Charnwood in third welcomed 4th place Norfolk and a superb match which was nip and tuck, especially in the final quarter ended with a one point victory for the home side, 50-49. The battle for 3rd in League 3 is tight as Leyton and TFC are also firmly in the mix. Leyton faced an away match at 7th place Hertford Hornets and came away with a very impressive 58-21 win. TFC were also on their travels, they were off to Kent and came away with a 59-40 victory against bottom side Kent County. It looks for all the world as if Kent County and Team Jets are battling each other to avoid that bottom spot. They play each other, in Jersey, at the beginning of March.

So another fascinating and exciting week of Premier League Netball ends. Onto Round 14………

Lee – Courtside Comments

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