Polo Princesses put down a real marker of intent in just the second week of fixtures in the late Saturday morning netball league by comfortably beating Medics in the Sports Centre.
With both teams going into the match winless, both were looking to get their seasons back on track. Though it’s an early point in the season, neither team would have fancied being winless after two games.
Polo Princesses could’ve thought themselves unlucky after History stole a draw in their curtain raiser by scoring 14 points each. Medics weren’t so close, losing 18-12 in the derby against the Toothfairies, when the Dentistry-Medicine rivalry is played out on the netball court.
With both teams having their pride dented in the opening round of fixtures, this clash looked all the more important, but only one of the teams on the court treated it that way. From the off, Polo Princesses acted like they were on a mission.
Hitting the ground running, it was Polo Princesses’ MVP that kicked off proceedings, as Goal Attack Jade Holden scored her first goal of the match. A quick turnover from Medics’ Kirsty Green’s centre pass gave Holden another chance, but she couldn’t convert.
Hitting the ground running it was Polo Princesses' MVP that kicked off proceedings, as Goal Attack Jade Holden scored her first goal of the match
From the backline Medics weren’t able to work the ball up the pitch, and Polo Princesses threatened again. Holden passed the ball onto Wing Attack Giorgia Bosworth, who then set up Goal Shooter Sarah Poyntz to score. Though her shot missed, the ball fell to Holden who made no mistake from 2 yards out.
Again from the restart, Princesses pressed forwards. Bosworth fed Polo’s Centre Helen Murray down the right-hand channel, before delivering an accurate pass into the D for Poyntz. Rather than shooting herself, she selflessly gave Holden another shot at goal, who made no mistake.
It was the same four who combined again for the fourth goal, as Holden dispatched a chance worked well by Murray, Bosworth and Poyntz. Holden made it 5-0 moments later after yet more good work by Murray in the middle third.
Rather than their heads dropping, Medics pressed on with that intra mural spirit that can’t be found anywhere else. From Green, Medics fashioned some good chances, with Wing Defence Zoszka Webb, Wing Attack Iona Tatham and Goal Attack Beth Burrus all growing into the game.
After an impressive interception by Princesses’ Goal Defence Ellie “Sowerbaby” Sowerby, Medics kept up the pressure. Goal Shooter Lisa King’s miss didn’t faze her, as Green found her again in the D, and she kept her nerve to convert.
Princesses hit back to reset the deficit as Poyntz scored her first of the game, and then a series of chances for both Poyntz and Holden weren’t capitalised upon. This caused gobby Princesses’ Wing Defence Megan Lord to pipe up and say ‘we might need some new shooters’. Such a statement couldn’t have been further from the truth, though it did get a few cheap laughs amongst those on the court.
After those chances had passed Princesses by, they were punished at the other end as King notched up another. Lord once again piped up, asking the Medics Shooter to swap sides, however Princesses’ shooting errors were finally put to bed after Holden scored from a neat Bosworth pass.
Lord herself was then in a physical battle out on the court, marshalling Medics’ Tatham away from the Princesses’ final third. From the resultant play, Sowerby moved the ball onto Murray, who played a one-two with Lord, before setting up Poyntz in the goal circle. Though the Shooter missed, Holden made no mistake.
Holden added two more, but Poyntz couldn’t match it, getting into a shooting rut of her own. She even saw the ball go through the hoop, only for the play to be brought back for her footwork, then saw her next effort blocked by Medic’s Keeper Daisy Thomas.
There was time for one more Holden goal before the half-time whistle, which then saw a number of positional changes for Princesses. Keeper Emily Budd swapped out for Charlotte Blyth, whilst Lord and Bosworth swapped positions, as did Holden and Poyntz, and Sowerby and Murray,
The changes seemed to unsettle Princesses, as Medics dominated the opening stages of the second half. King bagged two more, with only one Holden goal in response.
For the next few passages of play, Medics had Princesses backs against the wall. A block by Lord and an interception by Bosworth kept the blue-clad Medics at bay, and another interception by Sowerby sent Princesses down the other end. The counter attack led to yet another Holden goal.
Following a rare Holden miss, a neat one-two with Sowerby gave Poyntz enough space to score another, whilst Lord picked out Holden just inside the D to score from four yards out. Though Holden scored another five goals after, the goal of the game title was soon to be taken off her.
Further goals from Holden and Poyntz soon put that goal out of memory, and switched everyone's attention the slick Princesses play
Working ball from deep, Medics found King in the corner. With her feet just touching the goal circle, she lined up the shot and flicked the ball home. A round of applause from all of the players was well-deserved as the goal from six yards out stood out from the rest.
Further goals from Holden and Poyntz soon put that goal out of the memory, and switched everyone’s attention to the slick Princesses play. It was this play that was excellently demonstrated for the last goal of the game.
Princesses’ often spectating defence was switched onto a Medics attack, as Sowerby cut out a loose Thomas pass. With the ball fed into Lord, Holden made a run to the edge of the box. The run drew the Keeper out of position, giving Poyntz space in the D. Having received the ball, Poyntz fed it into Holden, who had continued her run. The diminutive Shooter then easily converted for her 18th goal of the match.
The sound of the final whistle brought Polo Princesses’ strengths into perspective. An emphatic 29-6 win is a massive statement to the rest of the league. They take on high-flying Toothfairies next week, which will give Princesses’ defence a much bigger test.