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UoN begin Varsity week 2 in style with a commanding 55-27 win in the Netball

The University of Nottingham (UoN) Netball Team saw out a commanding 55-27 win in the first event of the second half of Varsity 2017. The win pulled UoN two points clear of their rivals from Nottingham Trent University, and looks to have set the tempo for what should be an imposing end to the series for the Green and Gold.

As the teams set about their warmups at the Lee Westwood Sports Centre, you could tell there was a lot of anticipation for Varsity to get going again after the Easter Break. Attendances had certainly improved since the last time UoN and NTU had met on Clifton Campus, and the venue had the extra noise and crowd excitement to boot.

The atmosphere was by no means a disappointment in the earlier events such as Volleyball, but the fans packed out the seats and gantry for Netball. Trent were certainly out in force to try and help build on their success in the Ice Hockey, but the UoN players were not fazed an inch.

UoN got off to a decent start straight from Centre Pass, but the game evened itself out as the clock ticked down for the first quarter. The lead exchanged hands multiple times as the Green and Gold began to find their feet. After going into the Second 12-9 up, there were certainly early inklings that it would be the away side’s day, but few could have foreseen how professionally UoN would set about systematically sussing Trent out in the remaining quarters.

“UoN’s pivoting and passing proved too slick for Trent, and UoN cantered towards half time with a nine-goal lead”

Indeed, things started to go from bad to worse for the Pink Army, with UoN’s accuracy in their feeds to the Goal Shooters was pinpoint, and mistakes at a premium. They were clearly the fresher, sharper team after the Easter break.

The Dodging tactics were well drilled and executed emphatically, with the Green and Gold mastering the art of moving from side to side in order to confuse their opponents, before sprinting off and catching the ball.

Trent focused more on their defensive play to avoid letting any more goals slip away ahead of half time, despite clearly needing to get back in the game before the halfway point. UoN’s pivoting and passing proved too slick for them, however, and UoN cantered towards half time with a nine-goal lead.

The third quarter was to prove one of the most interesting, if not for its Netball per se, but the drama that began to unfold between Trent players and the on-court Officials. Trent’s Wing-Defence was becoming increasingly agitated with some of the decision making, and much to her dismay her Varsity rivals pulled further ahead, making it 21-39 at the end of the Third. The NTU crowd made their thoughts quite clear with a succession of boos, as the decisions went UoN’s way.

“Tactics perfected, players sharp and mentally ready to implement a game plan”

After the final break, it was to be more of the same. With UoN leading by such a wide margin already, you question whether Trent had resorted to saving face and preventing any further damage. Regardless of what tactic they chose to employ, it didn’t work. UoN began dictating the play more, using their Wing Defence and Goal Defence to slow the tempo down and suffocate a Trent fightback. This approach also produced more goals, ones that started to look rather routine and easy for UoN.

Before long the contest was all but over, with UoN already well out of sight, but could properly relax once they hit the 50 goals mark. There was no better way to sum up the performance and what turned out to be such a one-sided final three quarters, than for UoN to tally up more than double their opponent’s score.

As the clock ran down both teams kept giving it their all, much to their credit, when it would have been easy to tone it down with both teams surely knowing that the contest was decided. A flurry of four more goals to Trent’s name and an extra five in the Green and Gold account made the final moments of the match as exciting as they could be, given that the scores was so far apart.

All in all, it was a gratifying day to be from the Green and Gold side of Nottingham. Tactics perfected, players sharp and mentally ready to implement a game plan, and an opposition that couldn’t match the quality and resilience of their Varsity opponents. The day was drawn to a close at the Lee Westwood Centre with smiles on the faces of both teams after a hard fought and high-scoring contest, with UoN pulling off one of the most impressive wins of the series so far.

Tom Monks

Images: IMPACT Images

Follow the rest of the action from the second week of the Nottingham Varsity Series 2017 at @ImpactVarsity17

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