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Prem Update (02nd Oct 2022)

The latest update with Courtside Comments.

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Round 2 – 02nd October 2022

League 1
Charnwood had been handed the hardest possible start to their first season in League 1, an away trip to Oldham who they described as being “on another level”. Their second match of the season saw them on more assured footing with a home game against the always consistent, tough opponent in Hucclecote who had won their opening encounter last week with a hard fought 50-45 victory over Turnford. Charnwood reverted to long standing combinations that had worked well for them in the past, Hymas and McGlynn were back together in defence whilst the attacking trio consisted of Robinson, Griffin and Gallacher. The first quarter was a close affair with the hosts edging it 10-9. They stretched that lead in the second period and by half time were 22-17 up. The second half proved particularly strong for Charnwood, they ended the third quarter with a 12 goal advantage, 40-28 and rounded the game off with a very impressive 19-6 winning final quarter to take the match 59-34. Jaz Brown was named POM. A great early season victory to settle any Charnwood nerves.

Turnford were looking to get their season underway at home as they played hosts to New Cambell who had come through last week with a close 41-38 victory over Tameside. The hosts got off to the best possible start taking their first quarter 20-14. A closer second period also went the way of the home team, 15-13 to leave them with an eight goal half time advantage, 35-27. Turnford were playing well and another impressive quarter went their way 18-10 before a final fifteen minutes that saw new Cambell try and eat into the Turnford lead, winning the period 13-11 but giving Turnford a hugely impressive 64-50 victory. Turnford’s POM for the second week running was Emily Gulvin, who as I mentioned last week is always consistent.

There was the first of what will be many North West derby games this season as Oldham, who had recorded that big win over Charnwood on the opening day, made the short visit to YWCA Bury who were themselves coming into the match on the back of a win, another close encounter in this league, an away win at newly promoted Leeds Athletic. Oldham, with Amy Clinton and Hannah Diamond shooting were out of the traps at break neck speed, racing into a 14-3 lead partway through the first quarter which they took 19-7. The visitors extended their lead in the second, much closer period to lead 33-16 at half time. Bury introduced young defender Naomi Hanson for her Premier League debut at half time as they strived for a point out of the match, The third quarter went the way of the previous two, Oldham taking it 17-10 before the match finished with a high scoring fifteen minutes of play, 20-16 to Oldham who ran out 70-42 winners. For Bury, Ellie Heyes was the star performer, in addition to her usual WA role she covered both Goal Attack and Centre and fully deserved the Coach’s POM award whilst sharing the Players award with Faye Roscoe. Captain Tyrene Karim took the honours from the Oldham bench. Bury’s Coach Eliza Morgan bemoaned her sides slow start but went on to say “We had some strong passages of play however inconsistency let us down. Lots learnt from it for such a young and developing group.”

Weston Park Blades headed off to the North West as they faced Tameside. Both teams were in search of their first win of the season. Blades had lost a closely contested match away to Academy whilst the hosts had lost that match away at New Cambell. A close first quarter just went the way of the hosts, 13-12, and they took the second as well, this time 13-8 to give them a 26-20 half time lead. Qtr 3 proved to be another close affair, Tameside just edging out Blades 15-13 with the final period following a similar pattern, 12-11 to the hosts giving Tameside a 53-44 first win of the season. POM awards for Tameside went to captain Ally Harrison (Opponents POM) her first POM under her married name (nee Thomas), and the always excellent Paige Kindred as Coach’s POM.

Like fellow promoted Charnwood, Leeds Athletic had faced a tough start to life in the Premier League with a 59-54 home defeat against the strong YWCA Bury. Their second match wouldn’t be any less difficult as they made the long trip south to face Academy at the Brunel University on the outskirts of London. This proved to be an incredibly tight game; goal for goal saw the home side lead 16-15 after fifteen minutes. By half time they had increased that slim advantage to just two goals, 29-27. There was no let up in the third quarter as both sides went toe to toe with Leeds pulling back the two goal deficit to head into the final quarter all square, 40-40. The match continued in the same vein but Academy just edged the final quarter, in the words of Leeds Coach Rachel Towell, “executing the basics well”. She was pleased with the way the group are developing and competing with some of the stronger teams in the league. Connections are still being formed and the team display moments of brilliance alongside moments of naivety against experienced and highly talented sides like Academy. The Leeds POM went to Amy Braithwaite whilst they awarded Academy’s Davia Murray the opponents POM award.

League 2

Cumberland played host to North East’s Grangetown with the sides having mixed fortunes on the opening day of the season. The hosts had recorded a fine win away to Team Bath Toucans whilst Grangetown had gone down at home against League 2 newbies Exeter. After enduring a miserable season last year and with a home defeat this time around Grangetown could be forgiven for being very low on confidence but if they were it didn’t show as they took the first quarter 13-11. The second period was another tight one but Grangetown held firm and extended their narrow leaf to four points, 27-23. The third quarter went the way of the home side as Cumberland set about reducing the Grangetown lead and they did so, at the break they were just one goal behind, setting up a final quarter with the scores poised at 37-36. It had been a long time since the visitors had recorded a victory and, having gotten their noses in front, they were in no mood to let that slip as they held firm and took the final quarter 13-11 to win the match 50-47 and ensure a much happier journey back home.

Worcester Reds had recorded a fine away victory last weekend at The Downs so this week was their turn to play hosts as Team Bath Toucans made the relatively short trip up the motorway, The home side were well supported on the day and they continued their fine start to the season with a convincing 66-42 victory that puts them joint top with two other sides at this very early stage of the season.

The Downs faced the long trip up to the North East to face Oaksway with both sides looking to register their first win of the season. The hosts had been on the wrong end of a 62-46 score line away to Telstars last weekend. This was another close game that eventually saw the hosts emerge with a slender 43-41 victory, POM going to Sally Smith.

The top two from last season’s Premier League 3 faced each other again early on in the season when Sussex Thunder made the trip along the South Coast to face Exeter. The Devon club had enjoyed their long but fruitful away day last weekend and were looking to get off to the perfect start with two wins from two. Both sides came out strongly for an intense first period as both teams settled into the match, Exeter holding a 12-5 advantage. A great second quarter from Thunder saw them pull things back slightly as the team gave their attack more scoring opportunities, taking the period 12-10 to leave the hosts holding a 5 goal lead by half time. Second half however saw Exeter press home that advantage with an intensity that unfortunately Sussex Thunder could not match as they headed into the final fifteen minutes having built up a 39-23 lead. A better final quarter from the visitors went the way of the home side 12-8 to run out winners by 51-31. It was a much improved performance by Thunder after a disappointing result last weekend. Sophie Marsland was POM whilst the Coach’s pick was Frankie Cadogan. For Exeter, the perfect start to their season.

Linden welcomed Telstars to Birmingham with both sides looking to maintain their winning starts to the season. Linden had produced a convincing away win at Sussex Thunder whilst the visitors had also enjoyed that big victory over Oaksway. Telstars got off to a flying start and at the end of the first period they led 19-11. The second quarter was a much closer affair but it too went the way of the visitors who extended their lead at half time to 31-20. Linden comeback strongly in the second half but ultimately it was the big first quarter score line that saw Telstars home, a brave fight back from Linden halved the deficit with Telstars holding firm for a 50-44 victory. Telstars POM was Lucy Appleby who stepped into the GA role due to squad absences. Clara Miles claimed the POM award for Linden.

League 3

After their tremendous start to Premier League Netball last weekend Eagles travelled to face Ryland in good spirits and high in confidence. The hosts meanwhile were facing their second newly promoted team in a row. Eagles were further boosted by giving a debut to Surrey Storm’s Leah Middleton. The game started well contested, goal for goal at either end with Eagles starting to pull away with a few turnovers in Ryland’s shooting circle which Eagles converted. The visitors continued to build and finished the quarter with a strong 14-5. Second quarter saw the introduction of Katie Fisher at GD with Middleton moving back to GK. Ryland’s defensive shakeup and Eagles complacency saw the game fall static and Ryland win the quarter by 1 goal so Eagles’ early lead was maintained. The second half saw the introduction of Summer Knight and a defensive restructure to combat Ryland’s speedy attack after their offensive changes caused problems for Eagles. The intensity picked up and Eagles pulled away to have a strong quarter with some amazing mid court intercepts from Sophia Shalabi, finishing 42-28. A confident start to the last quarter with the defence duo of Tori Fisher and Leah Middleton finding the ball left, right and centre. Eagles continued strongly and came away with a 57-36 win. Player of the match was Libby Burgess for her consistent shooting.

Norfolk United were also looking to maintain an unbeaten start as they travelled to the capital to face a Leyton side that had come up against a flying Eagles side last week. The visitors recorded a 62-44 home win against Premier Romans last time out and they did indeed manage to follow that up with another impressive display and a 49-36 score line which even had their opponents commenting that it was the smoothest Netball they had seen United play for a long time. For United, Kirstie George was named opponents POM while the Players POM was Maria Lutua Rusivakula who was superb at GK, shutting down the Leyton GA, even though she is usually deployed as a Goal Shooter. Leyton’s awards went to Mali Akinrinola and Lauren Drabwell in a much improved performance for the hosts who will get stronger as the weeks go on.

Trafford had started life in Premier League Netball with that fantastic 60-39 home win over Ryland. Their first away trip involved a 4am start for the five hour trip to Norfolk to face Thoroughbreds who were about to face their second promoted team in a row after a narrow 46-42 defeat away at Northants Storm last week. This proved to be a tremendous game with two well matched sides on the day going goal for goal pretty much throughout. The first quarter finished 12-12, as did the second, leaving a half time score of 24-24. With nothing to choose between them the third quarter followed the same pattern, this time however Trafford just managed to go into the final quarter with a one goal lead, 36-35. You might not be too surprised if I told you the final period also ended in a 12-12 tie, Trafford’s Rae Williams and Erin Scanlon both making crucial interceptions when it mattered to resist the force of Thoroughbreds and just nudge the visitors over the line for a 48-47 win. Williams duly picked up the opponents POM award while Anja Haworth was Coach’s POM for tireless work at both WA and Centre. For Trafford it meant two out of two, the perfect start whilst Thoroughbreds can consider themselves unfortunate not to have yet recorded a win which seems like it’s not far away.

TFC Leicester welcomed Northants Storm to Loughborough as they were looking to get their season underway after a disappointing defeat away to Billericay in Round 1. Northants, like their two fellow promoted teams had recorded a victory last time out with that win over Thoroughbreds. Storm came out the quicker of the two sides to take a 15-12 advantage into Qtr 2 but Leicester had settled and an impressive 16-9 return gave the hosts the lead at half time, 28-24. The third period was a close one, Leicester just edging it 14-13 to take a five point lead into the final quarter, Northants still very much in it. They gave it a good go as well, a tense and nervy final quarter saw the visitors reduce the deficit but TFC Leicester held on well for a 53-49 victory in a superbly contested match.

The first home game of the season for Premier Romans saw the West Country side play hosts to BSV Billericay from Essex. Romans had had a long, and as it turned out, fruitless journey to Norfolk in the last round and with them surely looking to bounce back to League 2 after a season that just fell short last year a home win was high on the agenda. They started well, a close quarter saw the hosts lead 13-10. They took the second period as well, 11-9 for a four point half time lead, 24-19. Romans had the bit between their teeth and another quarter victory, 13-9 put them in a strong position going into the last. It was a low scoring end to the match but Billericay turned the tables and ran out quarter winners 9-6, giving Premier Romans that first win 43-37.

The Premier League takes a break next week, Round 3 is 16th October, see you then!
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