The latest from the Prem
Round 14 – 9 February 2020
With second in the table New Cambell facing third placed Academy, Oldham travelled to the North East to play fourth placed Grangetown knowing anything other than a win would cut their lead at the top. The league leaders are always on point when it comes to big matches such as this and they started off at blistering pace, by quarter time they had already amassed 24 points to the hosts 9 with Amy Clinton in outstanding form, as she would be throughout her time on court. Grangetown started the second quarter well with three goals in a row before the period evened out more as Oldham not only maintained their lead but added to it, 37-15 at half time. Another sparkling quarter from the visitors saw them go into the final period leading 59-22. Grangetown gave game time to three teenagers making their Premier League debut, Lucy Whiting, Tamsin Canham and Maria Chambers, the latter two making their appearances in the final quarter. The hosts dug deep and played well to win the final quarter and in doing so claim the “over 50%” point by 16-11 but Oldham took the game with a resounding 70-38 score line. Richard Kirby’s excellent full match report can be viewed here – https://www.richardkirby.org/grangetown-reports/grangetown-vs-oldham8644901
It was a double plus for Oldham. Not only did they win but their two closest competitors slipped further behind them when hosts New Cambell drew an exciting end to end game with Academy meaning it’s as you were for second and third but the Oldham lead is looking more ominous now. Fifth placed Hucclecote who has suffered a close defeat at home to Grangetown last time out travelled to face bottom club Cumberland who were badly in need of the points. Hucclecote were down to the minimum seven players in their match day squad but produced an excellent first quarter which set them up for the rest of the game. Despite an 89% shooting accuracy from Cumberland’s Sophie Croft the hosts just could not find their way back into the match with Hucclecote running out 69-48 winners.
Tameside sitting in sixth place welcomed Weston Park Blades who were seventh but only three points off the foot of the table. The gap between them and their hosts was nine points and Tameside who had won two of their last three continued their good form with a 58-44 win, POM going to Beccy Hoult. That result for Blades and the loss for Cumberland meant extra significance for the final game of the round as 9th placed Turnford hosted 8th placed Leeds Athletic. It was a tight start with Turnford taking the first quarter 14-12. The game continued to be close but Leeds slipped behind somewhat in the third period of the game and although they fought back well in the final fifteen minutes it was Turnford who emerged with the much cherished five points as they won by five, 52-47. It’s a win that lifts them into 7th spot but with only five points separating the bottom four the battle to avoid relegation still has some race to run.
Top of the table and undefeated YWCA Bury travelled south to Birmingham to face second place Linden in the match of the day in League 2. Bury could once again include Jade Clark in their ranks but there is a lot of youth in the side that has stormed their way through the Premier League so far. Linden were missing a couple of regulars so a difficult task became just that bit harder as the visitors took the first quarter 15-8. They nabbed the second period too, by one point, 13-12 to put them eight points up at half time. A superb 21-9 third quarter from Bury saw them all but take the match and although Linden kept battling to take the final quarter 13-10 this 59-42 victory assures YWCA Bury promotion to League 1 with four matches left to play. It would come as a shock if they didn’t go through the whole season unbeaten in what has been a fantastic rise through Regional and Premier Leagues to make this three promotions in three years. Linden for their part look as if they will take that second spot, although an interesting game away to third placed Ryland next week could give food for thought.
As first played second so third played fourth, Ryland travelling to Oaksway in the North East. This was another close game between two well matched sides but it was the visitors, by one point, 45-44, that came away with the spoils to cling onto that hope of overtaking Linden who they host in the next round. A mid table clash in the West Country as Team Bath Toucans rolled out the welcome mat for Worcester Reds. The hosts took a first quarter lead 14-11 and almost repeated that in the second with a 14-9 win to lead at half time 28-20. Reds battled well in the all important third period and the teams could not be separated, a 15-15 tie meant Toucans maintained an eight point lead going into the last fifteen. Worcester worked extremely hard to cut the deficit in the final quarter which they took 16-14, leaving Toucans as the match winners 57-51. That defeat leaves Reds looking a little over their shoulders but one more victory should see them safe in this year of transition.
Telstars home match with Premier Romans was the remarkably the only victim of the storm which battered the UK which left the bottom two facing each other as a strong looking The Downs made the short trip to face Sussex Thunder. The visitors were able to call upon their two home-grown Super League stars Katie Harris and Hannah Knights who helped their club to a very important 61-35 victory that sees the sides swap league positions and puts The Downs just one point behind Romans who have that game in hand, the two face each other next week in another crunch game.
Charnwood travelled to ninth place TFC Leicester Netball Club for a local derby with both sides needing the points for very different reasons. The first period was a close one, Charnwood edging it 14-13 before they pulled away somewhat in the second quarter, at half time their lead was six, 30-24. The visitors continued their second quarter form as they took the third period to lead 47-36 and although the final quarter was an exciting close one it was Charnwood who came out winning it 15-13 to take the match 62-49 to keep them well on course for League 2.
Second placed Thoroughbreds welcomed bottom side Essex Open. The visitors have a young side who will learn from this season and hopefully it will help them face the test to battle back to Premier League netball as soon as possible. The match went with form as Thoroughbreds ran out 66-39 winners to maintain second place. Hot on their heels are Eclipse who faced a tricky looking away fixture at BSV Billericay. Unfortunately the hosts have fallen off the promotion race a little of late but a win could put them back in the hunt. It didn’t pan out that way however as Eclipse recorded another impressive win, 59-42 to stay third. Next week Eclipse host Thoroughbreds…….
One point behind Eclipse were Exeter in fourth who have had a tremendous run of form. They made the long trip East to face Norfolk United who knew a win would put them right back in contention whilst a defeat could damage them beyond repair for this season. A close game went the way of the hosts as they won by three points, 59-56, to put them just a point behind Exeter. With second playing third next round both these sides will be looking for wins that will keep them in the hunt until the season end.
Leyton hosted Clan in the final match in League 3. Both teams are realistically out of the promotion push and both looking to finish clear of that last playoff spot that could cost them their place in the Premier League. A close exciting match went the way of the visitors, Clan taking the win by the narrowest of margins, 57-56, that moves them up to sixth in the table.
Games in all three Leagues are taking on huge significance as we enter the last four rounds…….