A couple of weeks on from a UoN Varsity victory, the netball game still remains one of the most exciting fixtures. Having lost by 50 goals the previous year, the Green and Gold came onto the court to prove themselves in this year’s series. A solid lead in the first quarter was, however, not enough to keep NTU from ultimately taking a 47-40 win. Impact’s Anna Boyne brings us all the action.
Walking into the hall, the crowds were clearly separated between a sea of pink on the right and green and gold on the left. Tensions were high and, from the whistle, cheers and even boos were deafening. It looked as though most of the UoN netball club had headed to Clifton campus to show their support.
A three-goal lead is anything but a guaranteed game, especially in netball
Two quick interceptions from UoN facilitated the first goal shot by Goal Attack (GA) Chloe Swann. Shortly after, Centre (C) Kitty Luscombe intercepted a risky pass from Trent while their defenders were up court. This meant the Green and Gold could quickly pass the ball towards their goal, with little defensive pressure, to take an easy shot. UoN were awarded a free pass when their Goal Keeper (GK) Marlene Lange found herself sandwiched between two Trent players, enabling the final goal of the first quarter to go our way.
UoN ended the first 15 minutes 14-11 up, much to the surprise of many in the crowd after the team’s performance last year. They were right to be apprehensive. A three-goal lead is anything but a guaranteed game, especially in netball when the score line can flip so quickly.
Returning to the court, NTU looked hungry to turn the game in their favour. They made fewer errors, and were ruthless in executing shots. UoN struggled to contain the pink who scored six goals in succession and took the lead. Green and Gold struggled to dominate again.
Trent’s dominance in the second quarter would be a setback UoN struggled to recover from
In an attempt to perhaps change up the dynamic, or slow Trent’s momentum, Wing Attack (WA) Eliana Boateng was subbed off for Annabelle Hall. With fresh legs, Hall worked hard on the centre passes to get free.
Worryingly for UoN, Goal Defence (GD) Louisa Maynard was issued a caution from the umpire. This functions as a kind of green card. If the umpire then gave Maynard a warning she would be sent off and prohibited from playing the rest of the game. As a brick wall defender, the Green and Gold would suffer without Maynard on the pitch. Throughout the rest of the game, she played with more caution, holding back slightly trying to avoid a warning.
UoN’s GA was able to secure the final shot of the half, yet the team had been overtaken. Trent had executed an impressive come-back of 25-22. Despite only a three-goal lead, Trent’s dominance in the second quarter would be a setback UoN struggled to recover from.
In the third quarter, UoN’s GK Lange stepped up to deny as many Trent shots as possible. She made a series of impressive interceptions, giving much-needed possession back to the Green and Gold.
First year Zoe Allanson was subbed into WA, making her debut for the first team.
a score line which doesn’t fully represent the tightness of the game throughout
On the other end of the court, Goal Shooter (GS) Brontë Goddard-Lock was having a stunner of a quarter. By working hard to get herself in front of goal to maximise shot accuracy, the GS helped keep UoN in the game. Yet, the Green and Gold couldn’t quite close the goal-difference gap. A final Trent goal meant UoN ended the third quarter 37-33 down.
Entering the fourth quarter, it was make or break. The game became scrappier and grittier, with Trent working hard to pull away from their rivals and UoN fiercely chasing the game
At one moment, GD Maynard knocked the ball down, chased after it and bounced it back before it could go off court. Yet the call went against UoN, and Maynard would later be issued a warning.
With time running out and Trent pushing the goal difference, UoN changed Sophia Winfield into GA. But this final change did little to sway the game in the Green and Gold’s favour. Trent secured a win of 47-40 – a score line which doesn’t fully represent the tightness of the game throughout.
Overall, Trent’s stellar second quarter proved fatal for UoN. From the six successive pink goals, they were always chasing the game. But it was such an exciting game and a huge improvement on the previous year’s performance. With a newly appointed coach, who knows what next year will bring for UoN netball?
Featured image courtesy of Anna Boyne. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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