The latest from Prem
Round 16 – 1 March 2020
With only two rounds of the season left after this week teams are reaching the point of no return in many cases. This was certainly true for Academy and New Cambell who both knew they needed a win, and/or a Cumberland victory to keep Oldham within striking distance, especially with New Cambell travelling to Oldham in the next round.
Oldham travelled south to face Cumberland and included Clinton, Malcolm and Abby Tyrrell in their starting line-up. Tyrrell was playing despite performing near heroics for Celtic Dragons the evening before where she was the lone goal defender for 16 minutes of Super League action after the Dragons GK was sent off. She started this match in the same fashion making some timely interceptions as Oldham didn’t have things all their own way in the first quarter. Despite opening an early three goal lead the visitors made errors and Cumberland, battling for their League 1 lives pulled the score back to 14-14 before a goal for goal exchange meant the first quarter was tied 16-16. The second period started with Oldham building up a five point lead but Cumberland were up for the fight, not only levelling the score but taking the lead 30-29 before Oldham regain control to lead at half time 34-31. The third quarter was vintage Oldham as they put their opponents under severe pressure, free scoring and limiting the chances Cumberland had. Going into the final quarter the match had gone for the hosts as Oldham led 58-37. The final period was much of the same but credit to Cumberland who kept battling away. As the whistle blew for time Oldham had chalked up a fabulous 81-48 win with Emily Whitehead who, such is the strength in depth at Oldham, had been missing from the line up of late, getting POTM form Cumberland for a strong performance at Centre and Wing Attack on her return to the side.
New Cambell faced Tameside at home knowing they had to keep winning to take Oldham to the wire. Things didn’t pan out like that though as Tameside’s shooters were on top of their game and came away with a fantastic 60-56 win, Ally Thomas and Grace Mills taking the plaudits with POTM awards. That result means New Cambell cannot catch Oldham and stay third whilst Tameside cement their place in sixth. All that meant Academy who were second needed to beat fourth place Hucclecote to take the title race into Round 17. It was another close game, something Hucclecote seem to specialise in this season but Academy just about held their nerve to take the win, 48-46. They sit seven points behind Oldham; a win for the defending Champions next week will be enough to retain their title.
It’s not quite so cut and dried at the bottom of the table however. Turnford, sitting in eighth, just above Leeds Athletic, welcomed Grangetown who had won three of their last four matches. A win for the hosts would go a long way to easing their nerves and it started well, very well for them as at the end of the first quarter they held a three goal advantage, 15-12. A close second quarter saw Turnford hold the advantage despite losing the quarter by one point, at half time they led 30-28. So far so good but a great third period for the visitors turned the game on its head and going into the last fifteen minutes Turnford had work to do, trailing by six, 47-41. Grangetown were in no mood to let this slip having got themselves in front and another strong quarter was won, 16-10, to take the match 63-51. That win means Grangetown and Hucclecote once again swap around in fourth and fifth places. Next round sees Turnford visit bottom side Cumberland……
Leeds Athletic played host to Weston Park Blades in a match that would either see Blades pulled back into the relegation fight or give Leeds some momentum going into their final two matches. It was a very strong first quarter for the visitors with Blades opening up a handy 14-6 lead. Leeds fought back well and the second period was tied 13-13 giving Weston Park Blades a half time advantage 27-19. A big quarter was needed by the hosts in the second half and they tied the third period, again 13-13 but that strong quarter just didn’t come, Blades taking the last 19-15 to win the match 59-47. That win puts Weston Park Blades ten points above the dreaded ninth place, safe from the drop given that Turnford v Cumberland match.
After last week’s postponement YWCA Bury were back in action with a trip to the West Country to face Premier Romans who sat in eighth place. Romans started well, taking an early 5-4 lead before Bury came storming back to take the quarter 17-8. A close, tight fifteen minutes was edged by the visitors 16-15 to lead at half time 33-23. A similar story in the third period with Bury once again taking it by a point to lead 47-36. Romans needed a strong comeback but it was Bury who emerged the stronger as they took control of the final fifteen minutes to take the match 66-48. 100% record maintained whilst Romans must look to a tricky away game at Ryland next week to pick up some much needed points. Their need would be made greater if The Downs picked up a good result at home to mid table Worcester Reds. A very strong first half of the match saw The Downs take a controlling 35-17 half time lead. Worcester battled back well in the second half but that damage in the first thirty minutes was just too much to claw back and The Downs took the win 52-40, a result that moves them up to seventh and on the edge of safety.
Telstars had only won one of their last five matches which had seen them, points wise, if not positionally, slip closer to the danger zone. A home match against Team Bath Toucans who have had an inconsistent time of late was a hard game to predict. As it was Bath bought their A game to Dartford taking the win by six, 52-46. That defeat leaves Telstars in eighth place, four points ahead of Premier Romans who they have to play in a re-arranged match on 15 March.
Bottom side Sussex Thunder welcomed a Ryland team to the South Coast who were still in with a chance of nabbing the second promotion spot after an important win over second placed Linden last time out. Despite a strong effort from Thunder who never made it easy for their opponents it was Ryland who came away with a 57-46 win. That meant Linden needed to pick up a victory at home to fourth placed Oaksway to stop their end of season turning into a nervy one. They bounced back well from last week’s defeat however to secure a 53-44 victory that puts them right back on track. A win in the next round at home to Sussex Thunder will see them promoted regardless of other results. At the other end of the table it looks to be two from three with Thunder, Romans and Telstars battling it out for that last safety spot.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before……I probably have……but League 3 is my favourite division. It is so tight and so well matched that even after this set of results there is so much to decide it’s pretty much a given this is going down to the last match, at both ends of the table.
Charnwood were the one team that knew a win at home to Essex Open would see them promoted to League 2. No matter what happened elsewhere it would not be possible to slip lower than second. They made no mistake as they recorded a dominant 62-23 win with two rounds left to play. So massive congratulations to Charnwood Rutland Warriors who will be playing League 2 Netball come September.
Thoroughbreds in second place looked the team most likely to join Charnwood going into this round although Eclipse, Exeter and Norfolk United were breathing down their necks and keeping the pressure on. They played host to seventh place BSV Billericay who were looking nervously over their shoulders at that eighth place that was a ticket to the dreaded play-offs in April. This game didn’t go to script however as Billericay pulled off a massive surprise and a great result to take the win 45-39. That result means Charnwood are promoted as Champions.
That win for Billericay opened the door for third placed Eclipse to jump into second spot as they made the short trip to face Leyton who had had a real mixed bag of results of late, so much so they had slipped precariously into that final play-off spot. It was a close game but the second surprise result of the day as Leyton held out to beat Eclipse 48-43 and in doing so improving their chances of survival. This meant that fourth placed Exeter could make ground up if they could get a result away to Clan. The hosts had started the day in sixth and would have been fairly confident of picking up enough points in their last three matches to ensure a worry free end to the season. The Billericay and Leyton results put a different complexion of things however as they did for Exeter. It was the Devon side that held their nerve as it transpired to come away with a 53-46 win that moves them into third, just two points behind Thoroughbreds. Clan slip to eighth.
TFC Leicester already knew they were making plans for play-off survival as they welcomed Norfolk United. They looked to be off the pace with an eight point gap between themselves and Thoroughbreds but of course other results have changed things and Norfolk did their bit with a resounding 79-50 away win that puts them fourth, one point behind Exeter and one point ahead of Eclipse. Four points separate second from fifth; it’s any one of those heading up with Charnwood. Thoroughbreds have Leyton and Charnwood left to play, Exeter have Essex Open and Eclipse, Eclipse have Charnwood and Exeter, Norfolk United have Clan and Essex Open.
At the bottom three teams can finish in the final play-off spot. Clan, who currently occupy it have to play Norfolk United and TFC, Leyton, two points above them play Thoroughbreds and Billericay whilst Billericay just one point ahead of Leyton face TFC before that all important Leyton clash. Never mind the Super League, somebody stream this run in!!
Until next time…..