The latest Courtside Comments blog from Lee
Round 13 – 2 February 2020
The one outstanding game in the leaguer took place on 19 January when Academy overcame Leeds Athletic 53-36 to cement third place, an eleven point gap down to fourth and just one point behind second place New Cambell.
Table toppers Oldham were looking to maintain or increase their six point lead over New Cambell as they welcomed seventh placed Weston Park Blades to the North West. The hosts got off to a flyer with Kathryn Turner and Amy Clinton on fire to lead after the first quarter 20-4. Oldham introduced another of their upcoming young players in the second period with Stacey Tankoua making her Premier League debut at WD. She was immediately in the action with some timely tips away and as half time dawned Oldham had maintained their lead in a much better quarter for Blades by 32-15. The third quarter couldn’t separate the sides, a 13-13 draw but Oldham put their foot down in the final period taking it 16-8 to win the match convincingly 61-36.
Second place New Cambell, minus Captain Michelle Drayne who was away on London Pulse duty travelled to Turnford who, lying in ninth place, were desperate for a win to ease relegation fears. A fantastic sounding 72-70 score line went the way of form with New Cambell taking the points to keep the pressure on Oldham. Third placed Academy maintained their fine season with another close run game at home to Tameside who battled until the end but couldn’t prevent the home side taking the points by 50-47.
Fourth placed Hucclecote who have had some up and down results of late, the latest one an excellent home draw against Oldham, faced Grangetown who were lying in sixth. It was a long long trip to the West Country for the girls from the North East who, once they settled into the match, they were trailing at the end of the first quarter 20-13, started to show a killer instinct in attack and by half time they were leading by seven points, 35-28. The third quarter was a close affair but the visitors managed to extend their lead by two to go into the final fifteen minutes with a 49=40 lead. It would take a big effort from Hucclecote to turn things round but it wasn’t to be as Grangetown held on despite a spirited fight back which saw the deficit cut to just four points with the visitors winning 60-56, a result which moves them up to fourth.
Leeds Athletic in eighth place were looking at their home tie against bottom club Cumberland to put some daylight between them and the relegation places. In a tight first fifteen minutes Cumberland held a two point advantage, 14-12. By half time they had extended that to eight, leading 26-18. This was not going how the hosts would have hoped and expected as a pretty even third quarter saw Cumberland finish it with a nine point lead, 42-33. It was a tough and physical game for Leeds with two debuts in their ranks but Cumberland having gotten themselves in a winning position weren’t prepared to let this go and they won the fourth quarter 17-10 to take the match 59-43, a win which more importantly moves puts them level with ninth place Turnford and within striking distance of that safe eighth place. In fact only three points separate seventh (Weston Park Blades) to tenth. The big game at the bottom in the next round sees Turnford host Leeds…….
League leaders and still undefeated YWCA were looking to take another huge step towards Premier League 1 Netball next season with a home match against third placed Ryland. The hosts included England legend Jade Clark in their squad and whilst all eleven players had court time with nobody playing the full match they took each quarter, 15-11, 16-10, 15-9 and 18-10 to run out 64-40 winners against tough opposition. With Ryland staying third and 19 points behind YWCA Bury the leaders are in effect one win away from promotion.
Second placed Linden were another team looking to edge closer to promotion as they travelled south to face bottom side The Downs. It was a closer game than they may have wished for but they emerged with the points and a 49-40 victory which also leaves them on the brink of that second promotion spot. Next week Linden host Bury…..
Fourth played host to fifth as Oaksway welcomed Worcester Reds for what promised to be a tight match. The first quarter started in that fashion with the hosts leading 12-10 at the whistle. The second period was end to end as the teams could not be separated, 15-15 to give Oaksway a two point half time lead, 27-25. The hosts had the better of the all important third quarter and going into the final fifteen minutes they led by seven, 38-31. The fourth quarter went a similar way to the third as Oaksway took it 15-11 to take the match 53-42.
Fifth placed Team Bath Toucans made the short trip for their local derby with Premier Romans and as it should be with local derbies this was everything you could hope for and probably more. A high scoring and exciting sounding game went the way of Romans, eventually, as they took the contest 61-59, a win that sees them 5 points clear of the drop in eighth place.
Ninth placed Sussex Thunder, buoyed by that superb away win at Bath last time out, welcomed Telstars to Brighton for a game where they would be looking to back that up with another five points. Telstars were just hovering below the danger area but a close, fairly low scoring game went their way 45-39, a win that moves them safely into sixth spot whilst Thunder will view this as a missed opportunity. Next week they play host to bottom club The Downs, a must win for both.
Leaders Charnwood suffered a rare home defeat last time out courtesy of form team Exeter. They had another home match in this round as they welcomed mid table Norfolk United. Although fifth United were only three points behind the second placed team Thoroughbreds so it would be no easy ride for the hosts. A fantastic first quarter ended 19-19 but Norfolk were unable to maintain that form against a team determined to right the wrong from the previous round. It looked a more comfortable result on paper than it was but Charnwood emerged with a deserved 76-50 win.
Second placed Thoroughbreds made the trip to face seventh placed Clan who lie some way off the promotion places and they held on to their second spot with a 57-41 win.
Eclipse were third, one point behind second, as they took to the road to face Essex Open who were bottom after a season where nothing had gone their way. The match went the way you would expect with Eclipse recording a 53-36 win against a battling Essex side who will already be looking to build strongly next season for a push back to Premier League Netball.
One further place and point back, in fourth, were Exeter who welcomed sixth place BSV Billericay to the West Country. The visitors would put themselves right into the promotion mix with a victory but Exeter are on a fabulous run; with the exception of YWCA Bury in League 2 it’s a run that beats every other Premier League team. Six wins from their last seven, and that was a draw, has put them right in the middle of this promotion race and they continued that form with a battling, impressive looking 56-36 win. All this means Thoroughbreds in 2nd have 50 points, Eclipse, also like Exeter in their first season in Prem 3 are 3rd with 49 points with Exeter 4th on 48 points. A small gap of five points has now opened to 5th where Norfolk United sit on 43 points.
Leyton, lying 8th, played host to TFC Leicester who were ninth, with both sides needing the win in an effort to edge away from those bottom places. It was a close game but the home side just edged out their visitors with a 53-48 victory that puts them eight points ahead of TFC and only three behind Clan in 7th. The next few weeks promise to be fascinating…….