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Netball seconds overcome Red Rose opponents

Fortune favoured a brave netball seconds as they beat Lancaster 43-34, ending a term of successful and dedicated netball (Thumbnail credit Image: Philippa Grafton)

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Fortune favoured a brave netball seconds as they beat Lancaster 43-34, ending a term of successful and dedicated netball.

As the teams took to the court it was clear from the outset that York were going to start as they meant to finish. Lisa Griffiths took the first goal, and throughout the first quarter Griffiths ensured that strong attacking play from Shadyn Nikzad at Centre and Ellie McAlpine at Wing Attack was utilized to maximum potential. The game was being played at pace and with strong passes being thrown Lancaster struggled to find their feet, with the quarter ending 10-7.

However, within the second 15 minutes Lancaster inevitably staged a revival, giving the ever-increasing crowd something to shout about. With Netball being the only sport played within the tent on Sunday, both teams had support from the sidelines, which seemed to fuel the fire within the Lancaster WA-GA combination. The two began to look more dangerous as the court space was fully utilized, with quick passing from Lancaster into York's Defensive D. Captain Goal Keeper Jo Brayshaw was stretched defensively, ably supported by Nina Pullman, who played consistently and ensured that any rebounds from the Lancastrian hoop were quickly snatched and disposed of. Despite this, the gap was narrowed to 18-17 to York.

The third quarter looked to be testing, with Lancaster bringing on substitutes to inject some freshness into their game. The middle court play became slightly scrappier which saw Nikzad and WD Rosie Mughal fighting for every ball and the referees being tested, however again Griffiths played with confidence and skill- ably taking every pass and using India Perry to full effect. Despite Lancastrian defence working hard, high passes going into the D combined with accurate shooting meant that York lead 31-26 going into the final stages of the game.

Despite Lancaster still showing resilience defensively, York clearly had no intention of letting their lead slip. All of the team used their fitness levels to keep going until the last minute and due to Nikzad controlling the game throughout the length of the court Griffiths and Perry had constant opportunity to score. Pullman and Brayshaw, at the opposite end of the court, combined deadly accuracy and constant observation to distance to ensure any efforts from Lancaster were quelled.

Overall, the game was fair, tactical, and showed York's ability to remain calm under pressure. Whilst Lancaster displayed moments of strength in the second quarter particularly, a season of crucial fitness training meant York were ultimately triumphant. Coach Mel Duncan displayed visible pride on the sidelines and gave testament to the team's ''discipline and excellent attitude.'' Captain Brayshaw added, ''I'm glad it was a competitive match which made the win even more satisfying. A margin of 9 goals was a credit to our team."

GK- Jo Brayshaw
GD- Nina Pullman
WD- Rosie Mughal
C- Shadyn Nikzad
WA- Ellie McAlpine (Lauren Furniss)
GA- Lisa Griffiths
GS- India Perry

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