From the outset we knew that Stan Calvert would be a challenge for netball as Northumbria’s corresponding teams were literally a league ahead of our 1s and 2s.
After a fantastic win by our 3s, and a tough loss for our 2s, there was a huge turnout of support for the finale and the tension was palpable. It was clear from the start of the match that Northumbria 1s meant business, turning over the first centre pass.
Newcastle were not going to go down without a fight however, with McHattie and Hasan working hard in the defensive circle to tip balls away. Grant, having come back from surgery, was a dominant force throughout court, forcing Northumbria to make errors.
Unfortunately Newcastle could just not convert these turnovers, and Northumbria managed to pull ahead 8-4. Some consistent play and fantastic feeds by both Joyce and Robinson enabled Newcastle to keep the goal difference similar, going into the 2nd quarter down 14-9.
"Northumbria had all of the momentum, and capitalised every time Newcastle made a mistake"
A quick change of Bolle-Jones coming on at GK, and several chants from the Newcastle supporters meant that there was a clear determination coming back on court. Unfortunately several passes got away from them, with some fantastic interceptions made by the Northumbria players, increasing the score-line to 21-11.
Joyce and Wormleighton were consistently working hard against some very tough opposition, with some fantastic movement. Hill, at WD had a phenomenal game, tipping several balls and feeding some fantastic balls into both shooters. By not converting all of our chances, and enabling Northumbria to turn the ball over, they capitalised on this by drawing further ahead.
Bolle-Jones managed to gain her own rebounds off Northumbria’s post, with Robinson bringing the ball down court extremely well. Supporters’ hearts were in their mouths at the rate of interceptions and fantastic play, with Wormleighton providing a great interception just after committing footwork. Going into half time, the score was 31-19 to Northumbria.
After half time, Lickorish replaced Grant as WA, and McHattie rejoined the court as GD. Tension was just starting to rise and in the first minute, Hill ended up rolling into the defensive circle after a collision with her player. Northumbria had all of the momentum, and capitalised every time Newcastle made a mistake, quickly going ahead 37-21.
Despite trailing, Newcastle were however showing some classy play, with Wormleighton making some fantastic dodges in the circle and Lickorish providing some great feeds. Robinson and Joyce also had some brilliant 1-2s, working towards the shooting post. It was clear that Newcastle’s heads continued to be in the game despite the difference in score, with every player chasing down loose balls, and Hill, Robinson and Bolle-Jones all gaining interceptions within the last few minutes of the quarter.
"Both teams were making mistakes, but Northumbria’s feeds into their GS were unstoppable, making it difficult to turn over the ball."
The score going into the final quarter was 46-29 which considering the league difference between the two teams is understandable, yet credit to Newcastle, they were still battling towards the bitter end. A new team combination was tried, with Dewar coming on at C and both Joyce and Wormleighton swapping positions in the shooting circle.
Lickorish was knocked over several times throughout the quarter, yet persevered, turning over a ball which Hill picked up and moved down court. Both teams were making mistakes, but Northumbria’s feeds into their GS were unstoppable, making it difficult to turn over the ball. Dewar was making some fantastic drives onto the circle edge, however we just couldn’t convert our opportunities.
Despite a stunning goal in the last few seconds by Wormleighton, Northumbria finished the game with a win, 59-36. It must however be said that it was a fantastic game to watch and Newcastle’s determination was evident throughout.