R3: Rhinos Vs Bath
Rhinos Netball finally hosted their first-ever home game in front of their fans when they hosted last year’s finalists Team Bath at the EIS in Sheffield.
Team Bath called up three training partners into the squad and a training associate after their squad was hit by injuries and illness, which meant Betsy Creak, Hannah Passmore, Rachel Shaw and Serena Guthrie were all missing. They were still able to call on the experienced Layla Guscoth, Kim Borger, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, and captain Imogen Allison into the starting lineup. Jo Vann also had to step in as an emergency replacement to coach following a wave of Covid in the Bath camp.
Drakeford-Lewis opened the scoring for Team Bath and Borger added two more to give her team a strong start. Amy Clinton, on her second appearance for the Rhinos landed her first goal to make it 3-1, but Bath kept up the pressure and Borger looked unstoppable every time she got the ball – scoring 15 of her team’s 19 goals. Bath were dominant and made life difficult for their hosts and making them pay for errors and lost balls. Defensively Bath were impressive too, forcing the Rhinos out wide and unable to create much from their centre passes. Brie Grierson and Clinton scored five goals apiece in the opening 15 minutes to make it 19-10 to Bath at the end of the first quarter.
Robinson brought Rhea Dixon on at the start of the second quarter for Amelia Hall, moving Grierson to wing attack. Borger took the early first goal, but Clinton added back-to-back goals to nudge her side closer. Dixon showed plenty of fight to get her team back in the game and scored five goals in the quarter and created more for her shooting partner Clinton as the team picked up momentum toward the end of the half. Bath though were clinical, Borger scoring from nine of her nine attempts and Drakeford-Lewis six from seven to give the visitors a 12 goal advantage at the break at 34-22.
Bath remained in control in the third quarter, but the Rhinos matched their opponents almost goal for goal with 13 to Bath’s 15. Leeds looked like they were settling into the game and gaining some rhythm, but they came up against a tough Bath defence, led by Guscoth who was a thorn in the side of the Leeds attack. At the opposite end Bath were clinical with just three attempts at goal not on target.
In the final quarter Sienna Rushton came on for her first appearance of the season and once again teamed up well with her attacking partners to score nine goals from her eleven attempts. Rhinos enjoyed some of their best play of the game in the final stages of the game, spurred on by the home support but Bath were relentless and were able to land a further 18 goals to seal the 67-47 win.
Rebekah Airey said: “It was disappointing and there are definitely things to work on, so we will go back and do some work on that and then move on. The main things we need to work on are the connections and keeping our heads. Credit to Bath because they ran with it but next time we need to be on to them a little bit more.”
Gilbert player of the match went to Team Bath captain Imogen Allison.
Could not be prouder of our @TeamBathNetball squad!
They put in an absolute shift this week; players and staff; on and off the court!!💙💛
Can’t wait for us to be home and in front of our @TeamBathNetball fans 💙💛 https://t.co/1UA4vtadWA
— Anna Mayes (@ENCoach_Mayes) February 15, 2022
Match report provided by Leeds Rhinos