Last Wednesday saw Newcastle 1s play host to Nottingham Trent 1s in the quarter final of the BUCS Netball trophy. Newcastle found themselves playing against a team who are on form at the minute, having not lost a game in all competitions since early November 2018, when they were narrowly defeated by Nottingham 1s 38-39. Trent play in the Midlands 1A and are currently second in the league after eight wins and one loss this season. Furthermore, the opposition have cruised through the Trophy, beating Edge Hill 1s 68-16 and Sheffield Hallam 1s 74-43.
Although Trent presented a difficult challenge, Newcastle have also had a decent season. They’re currently third in the Northern 1A league, with five wins and four losses under their belts. Additionally, they’ve had a great cup run, beating Strathclyde 30-72 away and Nottingham 2s 50-39.
The first quarter got underway, with Newcastle drawing first blood. The opening period saw a lively bit of play from Newcastle's attack, with the wing attack, goal attack and goal scorer finding space well to build up play. However, Nottingham were retaliating well, scoring instantly after Newcastle. The clock was stopped early in this quarter due to a scoreboard mix-up. At this point Nottingham were 4-2 up. The Nottingham defence were deploying dirty tactics to prevent Newcastle getting much needed goals by fouling the Newcastle attack and using their height to block any attempted penalty shots. Newcastle were playing well though, using bounce passes to their advantage against taller players and building up good bits of play. At one point, Newcastle's goal scorer was unmarked, letting the home side take a 11-7 lead. Although the Newcastle defence were pretty solid, Nottingham weren't deterred and persisted and took the score at the end of the first quarter to 11-9. An ideal opening quarter for Newcastle though, who presented a challenge to a strong team.
Nottingham must have had a stern pep-talk at the end of the first quarter as they entered the second quarter looking incredibly sharp. In areas, Newcastle looked sluggish and tired compared to the midlands side. Nottingham kept persevering with quick attacks which fazed Newcastle slightly. Newcastle woke up though, and started to build up their attacks more after falling behind in the opening part of this quarter. The clock was stopped in this period as the Nottingham centre was injured and limped off. This spurred the away side on, as they kept hitting the target constantly. Newcastle failed to capitalise on their chances in this quarter, missing a series of shots. Nottingham had been injected with a lot more confidence and the score kept racking up. The clock was stopped again at 12-19 to the away side when there was confusion from the officials about simultaneous offside. After this, Newcastle were suddenly revived and were able to hit the target. A thoroughly entertaining end to the second quarter saw the home side regain a lot more confidence, with their defence seeming unbreakable. After a dominating Nottingham quarter, Newcastle bounced back finish the period 17-21.
The third quarter was a close affair, with all to play for. The Nottingham defence were still proving to be tricky for the home side, with their goal defence in particular giving away countless obstructions. However, Newcastle still persisted and performed a beautiful range of passes to keep adding to their tally. The scoring was rapid in this quarter, with Nottingham scoring one after the other, but Newcastle held their own well. Newcastle were building up play very well, but Nottingham were the stronger side and disrupted a lot of plays. Towards the end of the quarter, Newcastle were finding space well again and dealt well with the pressure from Nottingham, finishing the quarter 28-36.
The penultimate quarter of this trophy clash was truly heart in the mouth action. Newcastle's attacks were rapid in the opening minutes, with the roar of home supporters carrying them through. Nottingham were failing to capitalise on the chances given to them, missing penalties and not being able to find the net. Newcastle's centre had a cracking final quarter, intercepting the ball well and passing well to set up and build plays. Newcastle's communication was also spot on, evident through the amount of goals they were scoring.
Nottingham were becoming sloppy, conceding daft fouls and losing the ball cheaply, although credit must go to their goal defence, who took the full force of the ball on the chin- literally. The home side were on fire, and clearly gaining more confidence as the quarter progressed- the comeback was on. Nottingham's coach piped up when things were all square at 38-38, questioning the official's decisions, to which she was sharply told to pipe back down. Unfortunately for the home team, Nottingham woke back up and surged forward. They were scoring goals for fun. Newcastle's quick movements were overpowered by a strong Nottingham team, and the game finished 39-45.
Retrospectively, the score was an unfair reflection on the game which saw two incredibly evenly-matched teams go head to head. Newcastle 1s were excellent, providing an absolutely thrilling match and displaying a wide variety of talent from all the team. The side should not be disheartened from their performance and should take a lot of positives into their next game against Sheffield Hallam 1s