Netball Headliner: Brilliant UoN Breeze Past Gloucester

The UoN Netball 1s' team photo ahead of the game
Anna Boyne

The University of Nottingham’s netball first team took on the University of Gloucester in the last 16 of the Championship Cup on Wednesday 15th February. Much to the delight of a home crowd, UoN secured a comfortable win of 73-31 and will advance to the quarterfinals. Following on from the men’s and women’s hockey double wins against Bath in November, netball have helped make it three out of three Headliner wins for the Green and Gold this academic year. Impact’s Anna Boyne reports.

From the first whistle, UoN established dominance on the court. Fast ball movement and patience meant the team scored in quick succession. Overhead feeds of pinpoint accuracy to Goal Scorer (GS) Chloe Wildsmith were unstoppable, buoyed by a natural height advantage and impressive shooting conversion. In true netball style, there was a moment of confrontation between the GS and blue Goal Keeper (GK) who was getting visibly frustrated with the game. Nonetheless, UoN consolidated a convincing lead, ending the first quarter up 21-8. 

Most impressive in the second quarter was UoN’s WD Alexia Saunders

Although Gloucester came back fighting, the Green and Gold continued to push the goal difference. Gloucester really couldn’t afford to waste opportunities, yet UoN ruthlessly punished any poor passing and decision making. Most impressive in the second quarter was UoN’s Wing Defence (WD) Alexia Saunders, who made a series of impressive interceptions and wreaked havoc in the centre court. Turning over possessions during blue centre passes proved detrimental for Gloucester, who continued to chase the game. 

Interestingly, chasing the game, Gloucester opted to change their GK for a smaller player, but she remained no match for Wildsmith. At one point, the GS shot mid-air, landed off court and jumped back on in time to catch the rebound, take another shot and score. With the backing of the whole netball club in the stands, this move was certainly a crowd pleaser.  

Entering the third quarter with a 39-16 lead, a Gloucester come-back seemed near impossible

While the teams took a much-needed water break and team talk, the fans were kept entertained with by a Nottingham Knights cheerleading performance with some snappy dance moves and clean stunts. Entering the third quarter with a 39-16 lead, a Gloucester come-back seemed near impossible. The Green and Gold Goal Defence (GD) Marlene Lange stepped up and made some fierce interceptions that denied even the little opportunities to narrow the goal difference.  

On a few occasions, UoN made some sloppy passes as they were getting visibly more tired. However, they continued to work the ball well around the D, looking for the best passes into the GS and Goal Attack (GA), occasionally working it backwards into the centre court.  

With less than one minute left of the quarter, Wildsmith was substituted off. Jess Sanford took up the GS position, but the whistle came before she had an opportunity to shoot. The quarter ended with the Green and Gold leading with a comfortable 30-point difference.  

Entering the final quarter, there was no doubt in the stadium that UoN would take the win. Both teams continued to play quality and classy netball. UoN Sports Scholar Darcy Griffin took to the court as Wing Attack (WA) for the first time that match, sporting a rather scary looking taped-up knee, but nonetheless making an impact by consistently getting free for the centre passes.  

UoN rounded off the game with a 73-31 win and a great watch for the sell-out crowd. The team will next face the Premier South Runners-Up Exeter in their next bid for Big BUCS Wednesday.  

Anna Boyne

Featured image courtesy of Ritchie Sumpter, University of Nottingham Sport. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 1 courtesy of Ritchie Sumpter, University of Nottingham Sport. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

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